Covid-19 is a severe blow to liberal democracies: Silva-Herzog Márquez


The pandemic has been a severe blow to the life of the world, as stated by the journalist and political analyst, Jesús Silva-Herzog Márquez in his virtual conference ‘The political impact of the pandemic’.

Omar Quintana·February 18, 2021

Global democracy faces strong obstacles in a post-pandemic scenario

The reconfiguration of humanity has been forced in part by the history of pandemics and endemics that have plagued human beings through the centuries. From the black plague in the Middle Ages, to the Spanish flu at the dawn of the last century; however, Covid-19 occurs in a different context.

“Let’s take the example of the Spanish flu, there was no response, it was the total absence of governments to respond to it, and deaths were counted in the thousands. Now, there is no country in the world that does not have Covid-19 in its sights “

Jesús Silva-Herzog Márquez, academic

However, the fact that there is such attention to the new coronavirus does not mean that the political impact and the measures derived from this exercise influence the success or failure of the strategies. Another item is in this context of a global health contingency, where liberal democracies seem to suffer the most.

“The world has become a great laboratory, we have presidents like Trump or Boris Johnson, who have incorporated a warmongering rhetoric in the face of this health threat, and we have leaders like Angela Merkel, from Germany, who have gone the other way, and the results are palpable ”.

Jesús Silva-Herzog Márquez, academic

If something has exposed this health situation, it is the need to rethink the processes of democracy and move towards a model of greater citizen participation, as stated by the academic Carlos Illades in his article “Democracy on trial.”

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The conceptual erosion of democracy in the world may be accelerated by the ravages of the pandemic.

In a similar vein, Silva-Herzog Márquez quoted the philosopher Hannah Arendt to question the mechanisms of governments that have begun to drift towards greater authoritarianism.

“We must not forget that it is because of the autocratic government of China that time was lost in the world to prepare for the coronavirus, and that was possible because authoritarian governments can hide the information. Covid-19 is a severe blow to liberal democracies, because while they are in deliberative processes they generate suspicion and give rise to the idea of ​​simpler and more vertical discourses, when what we need is more democracy and horizontality ”.

Jesús Silva-Herzog Márquez, academic

Finally, the confinement produced by the global health emergency has turned into reality the nightmare of the criminal theorist Alexis de Tocqueville, one of the fathers in the criticism of the penal systems.

“We have entered that hermetic capsule that we had already been experimenting with with our cell phones, where we only speak or follow those who express their opinions or say what we want to hear, with isolation and confinement this is exacerbated and we are finding dissent in an enemy. Populist governments feed on this and we should modify it ”.

Jesús Silva-Herzog Márquez, academic


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