Why does Zakaria think the number of governments that can be categorized as illiberal democracies are increasing?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that Zakaria would suggest that nations are seeking to radically transform themselves into liberal democracies because the concept is seen as intrinsically good without questioning whether the conditions in a particular nation will lend themselves to it.  For Zakaria, when nations automatically adopt liberal democracy without sustaining and developing the conditions that lend legitimacy to it, they become "illiberal."  They become this because the nation can easily revert back to authoritarian strains without hesitation as democracy has not been able to take an authentic hold and root in that political setting.  Zakaria might suggest that the current situation in Syria is a reflection of this.  al- Assad is able to claim to represents the voice of the people with his 97% vote when he is elected.  It is safe to say now that he is about as far from democratic as one could get.  Similar to this, Zakaria might suggest that the liberal democratic government is increasing as the government "du jour" around the world because it is believed to be a unique good.  For Zakaria, the real test of the legitimacy of a democratic setting is whether the economic and social conditions have been established in order to lend it legitimacy.  In this, I think that he feels the number of governments claiming to be "democratic" might represent why illiberal democracies are increasing.


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