People everywhere are down on democracy, especially the youth. So rampant is democratic indifference and disengagement among millennials that a shocking share of them are open to trying something new – like a military coup.
Harvard University researcher Yascha Mounk and a political scientist at the University of Melbourne will publish a study in the Journal of Democracy in January that analyzes historical data on attitudes toward government spanning various generations in North America, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand. They found that across the board, citizens of stable liberal democracies have grown jaded about their government – and worse.
“They have also become more cynical about the value of democracy as a political system, less hopeful that anything they do might influence public policy,” they say. They are “more willing to express support for authoritarian alternatives.”
Millennials are especially vulnerable to this “crisis of democratic legitimacy.” Young people today are more into political radicalism and exhibit less support for freedom of speech than previous generations.”
Here are some details.
1. Many new millennials in Europe and America object to military coups than their elder citizens.
2. Only around one third of U.S. and European (slightly more) millennials see civil rights as “absolutely essential” in a democracy, while 41% – 45% of their older peers see them as essential. It is important to note that even among older groups, there is less than half that view rights as essential as well.
3. More than 25% of U.S. millennials dismiss the importance of free elections to a democracy (In Europe the percentage is higher).
In 1995, only 16% of American youth in their late teens and early twenties thought democracy was a “bad” political system for their nation. But by 2011 nearly 25% of millennials view democracy as bad.
Traditional political systems have become so fraught with strife and scandal, while the rule of law has been under so much attack in western countries, that many people have turned their backs democratic institutions. While the United States was founded as a republic, it has largely been replaced by the ideas of majoritarianism, which is a democratic concept. This is one step from the rule of the mob, which is one step from the rule of a dictator. Now we are seeing more people willing to live under a dictator to resolve societies problems.
The principles of western constitutions have been decimated by democratic societies in the name of fighting terrorism. Thus the U.S. Constitution, as well as other western constitutions, is in the process of repudiating their very provisions. The rising generations will eventually live in oppressive environments that will not protect the rights of anyone. See Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, and page 451.