How Democracies Perish

The West seems intent on following the tyrannical path of Communist China:

Back in 1983 French philosopher Jean-Francois Revel wrote a very crucial book called How Democracies Perish. It was written during the height of the Cold War and was a prophetic call to the West to wake up to the threat of Communism from without and self-doubt and apathy from within. The very first line of the book is worth repeating: “Democracy may, after all, turn out to have been a historical accident, a brief parenthesis that is closing before our eyes.”

Today we also need to speak about such matters. Democracies are certainly not eternal structures, but have feet of clay. They can come to an end, be it by external attack or internal decay. And when we look at how the ‘free West’ is faring today, we all should be very much concerned.

I have written before about the totalitarian social credit system in Communist China. And I have written before about how the West is quickly moving in that exact same direction, primarily because of its over-the-top responses to Covid. Let me speak more to what is happening in China, and look at how this is being played out in the West.

A very important article has just appeared on all this by Ashley Sadler called “How ‘vaccine passports’ would turn America into a Communist China-style surveillance state”. She begins:

In 2007 researchers with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began to look into using China’s cutting edge technology, mass surveillance capabilities, and top-down government power to control the behavior of Chinese citizens down to the most minute measure.


The scheme would analyze, track, and score every aspect of Chinese citizens’ lives including their spending habits, their care or recklessness in driving, their social media posts, how politely they stood and waited for a train, and how hard they worked.


People could bump up their scores for good behavior, but would lose points for acting in an “untrustworthy” manner as determined by the CCP. High scores could get participants discounts, rewards, and other perks. Low scores would lead to losses of freedom and privileges.


Now, more than halfway through 2021, China’s social credit system is not isolated to East Asia. Amid a worldwide totalitarian response to a not-so-very lethal virus that originated in Wuhan, China, the communist social credit system has spread like a communicable disease, infecting some of the freest, most democratic western nations in the world.


Those with their finger on the cultural pulse have begun to warn that so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports open the door to a China-style social credit system in an America that is rapidly deteriorating into a technocratic surveillance state.

She offers more details about the Chinese system of total control and then says this:

In a June 2014 statement, Chinese State Council said the system is designed to “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.” “You could see China’s so-called trust plan as Orwell’s 1984 meets Pavlov’s dogs,” wrote Rachel Botsman in a 2017 article for Wired UK. “Act like a good citizen, be rewarded and be made to think you’re having fun.”

The frightening situation in the US is then discussed:

The 2020 election and the COVID-19 pandemic showed Americans where the true power lies. A handful of unelected billionaires in Silicon Valley showed themselves capable of deplatforming the President of the United States and choking a politically damning story about Joe Biden’s son, while deleting, censoring, and banning qualified voices who spoke out against the prevailing COVID-19 narrative which advocated universal masking, lockdowns, and experimental inoculations as the only way to deal with the pandemic.


Meanwhile the ill-advised riot at the Capitol on January 6 spurred a political witch-hunt which demonized half of the country as potential domestic extremists. Over the past year a series of actions by Big Tech working seemingly in concert with the liberal establishment have signaled that a centralized system of social credit and top-down dictatorship has made its way to the Land of the Free.

She continues:

For decades, our data has been spread over a network of carriers, providers, companies, and institutions, none of which communicate with one another unless we allow them to. [China expert] Reggie Littlejohn warns that vaccine passports would change all of that.


Universal digital documentation for vaccine status would provide a centralized platform with which to collect and curate all of our personal data, from spending habits and driving records to political opinions. The data could then be used to determine whether or not we can enjoy freedoms in society. Citing tech experts, Littlejohn said “the digital platform used by Vaccine Passports can provide the same totalitarian functionality as used by the Chinese ‘Social Credit System.’”


“While it may begin with only carrying digital information regarding whether an individual is vaccinated, the rest of the functionality of the Chinese Social Credit System can be integrated into the ‘Vaccine Passport’ system in a matter of minutes or hours,” she said. Politicians have begun to signal that the same measures undertaken to “slow the spread” of COVID-19 might be employed to tackle the so-called “climate crisis.”…


Inherent, God-given rights cannot be stripped away by any temporal government. At least, that’s what Americans have always firmly believed. But the CCP, with its authoritarian governance and its liberty-crushing social credit system, does not agree. Nor, increasingly, do our own American leaders. According to Littlejohn, “the arrogant and officially atheistic CCP” believes rights come from the government, and are anything but “unalienable.”


“Under Communism,” Littlejohn explained, “you only have a right if the government grants it.” Under such a system, forced experimental inoculation is acceptable because “our bodies are in the domain of the State, and we only have the rights the government gives us, and only if we are compliant.”…


Last year Americans became righteously angered when they learned that “contact tracers” would order them to quarantine if they came close to a person who had tested positive for COVID-19. After massive backlash, the contact tracing scheme all but withered away.


Will a global vaccine passport scheme go extinct before it robs millions of their civil liberties? Much of it depends upon us. While it may seem as though the obstacles presented by a massive overarching scheme to subject citizens to a regime in which their every move is tracked, monitored, and judged by an atheistic superstate, it’s important to see signs of victory across the world, and become emboldened to resist, to refuse, and to speak out.


Despite huge coercive mass vaccination efforts and mandates, nearly a third of American adults have refused to take a single dose of the COVID-19 shots. In Texas and Florida, governors have banned vaccine passports outright, with even private businesses in those states forbidden to ask patrons for their vaccination status.


Earlier this week California Democrats dropped their plan to impose a statewide vaccine passport scheme throughout the Golden State, with Assemblyman Jim Patterson saying the decision “is a testament to the thousands of calls and emails made in the last couple of days.”


Unpopular laws are doomed to fail, if only the people draw a line in the sand. As Kentucky Senator and physician Rand Paul said in a stirring video last month, “It’s time for us to resist. They can’t arrest all of us.” “We are at a moment of truth and a crossroads,” Paul said. “Will we allow these people to use fear and propaganda to do further harm to our society, economy, and children? Or will we stand together and say, absolutely not. Not this time. I choose freedom.”


Now is the time. We must choose freedom.

I have documented plenty of cases of this rising tyranny here in Australia, along with all the hysteria, fear-mongering and panic porn that our leaders and media are shamelessly pushing all the time. And often it takes an outsider to sound the alarm about all this.

Consider this overseas report about what is happening in South Australia:

The government of South Australia, one of the country’s six states, has implemented a new policy requiring Australians to use an app with facial recognition software and geolocation to prove that they are abiding by a 14-day quarantine for travel within the country….


“I think it is accurate to describe it as Orwellian, but one has to understand the context,” Robert Carling, an economics senior fellow at The Centre for Independent Studies, told Fox News. “It is home quarantine Australian style, and the alternative is hotel quarantine Australian style, under police guard, which people hate.” Carling explained that South Australia is launching a trial home quarantine as a replacement for hotel quarantine, a nationwide policy, “and Australians would be happy to take any form of home quarantine instead of hotel quarantine.”


“Hotel quarantine is much more oppressive than home quarantine, even if the latter comes with Orwellian surveillance features,” the CIS scholar explained. Australians have to pay for hotel quarantine themselves, which costs about $2,500 Australian ($1,850 U.S.D.), he estimated.


“Since March 2020 Australians have been banned even from leaving the country unless they can get a special permit to do so,” Carling explained. He called this exit ban a “totalitarian, North Korea-style measure. Many other countries have had compulsory quarantine of some kind but they haven’t had exit bans.”

Some good news

Not everyone is bowing down to the Totalist State and accepting this encroaching tyranny. Some are fighting back. The American state of Florida is one case in point, and this recent news item about the state offers some good news:

The Florida Department of Health has issued a notice indicating it will start issuing $5,000 fines to businesses, schools, and government agencies that require Floridians to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.


The health department rule, which goes into effect on Sept. 16, details the penalties that businesses and other entities, including nonprofits, face for violating section 381.00316 of the 2021 Florida Statutes, which prohibits them from requiring customers or patrons to provide any documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination or postinfection recovery in order to gain access to their premises or services.

Democracies seldom become totalitarian police states overnight. But they can and do become them incrementally – especially when the populace is unaware or unconcerned about the downward slippery slope they are on.

[1722 words]

15 Replies to “How Democracies Perish”

  1. ““Since March 2020 Australians have been banned even from leaving the country unless they can get a special permit to do so,” Carling explained. He called this exit ban a “totalitarian, North Korea-style measure. Many other countries have had compulsory quarantine of some kind but they haven’t had exit bans.””

    US President Ronald Reagan’s famous Berlin Wall speech, West Berlin, 12 June 1987: “Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

    Prime Minister Mr Morrison, I didn’t know until today that we too now have a Wall to keep us in, at your hand it would seem. Can you tear it down, please?

  2. In a poll on 66% of respondents are in favour of businesses being allowed to ban unvaccinated customers from their premises.

    Ban a homosexual, an Aboriginal, or a Greens voter from your premises and you’ll face legal action. Deny someone equal treatment on the basis of medical differences however and you may have the support of both the law and the public.

    To parrot the WaPo’s slogan, ‘Democracy dies in darkness’. So many people are now eagerly embracing that darkness. Scary times ahead!

  3. Thank you, Bill, for introducing your readers to the French philosopher Jean-Francois Revel (1924-2006), author of How Democracies Perish and many other great works. He was known as the George Orwell of France, and has always been one of my heroes.

  4. Many thanks John. Yes I thought of it immediately as I started writing this article. I had to grab a chair, get up high, search a few book cases, but I finally found it. I pulled it off the shelves, blew off the dust, and happily revisited this very important volume.

    And just now I pulled out my 1990 book, Modern Conservative Thought, and double checked: Yes, sure enough, at the end where I list my ten top conservative titles (out of 714 featured in my annotated bibliography), I did see that I had Revel’s book included there!

  5. The two leading parties in Australia cannot be trusted. We are told to examine the policies of the parties before you vote for them but the problem is that the parties lie. Even the so called religious freedoms bill has become nothing but a word with no protections for Christians to live according to their faith, to serve according to their faith and to have employment without discrimination based on their faith.
    I have known people who lie. They are unstable, untrustworthy and you can never ever know if they are telling you the truth or just another lie. This is what an election campaign has become, nothing more than a platform to lie. Even on non religious issues the parties are not living up to their election promises.

    The only thing that the parties understand is votes. If you cannot trust their election promises then you have to measure their actual performance. If that performance, based on previous election promises, was a failure then simply don’t vote for them. It would not matter what they promised because you have to assume it is a lie. Dig your heals in and don’t vote for them.
    When will Christians wake up and see that these political parties are just manipulating us. It is sad for a person to be deceived but it is foolish if they are deceived by the same person more than once.

    We are beyond fighting for Christian values in our country. Most of the laws, where we have held up a standard against, have been passed by the governments. The governments are now fighting against our God so I have gone to the court of heaven and I continue to ask for justice against the governments. I ask that God holds these leaders to full account for the laws that they have passed. I ask that God does whatever it takes to bring this nation back to Him because to me bringing the people into the kingdom of heaven is all that matters. My life does not matter but salvation and eternal life in God’s kingdom is all that matters. If blessing does not bring salvation then I pray and will leave it up to God to do what needs to be done. That is, I regularly pray that God does whatever it takes to turn this nation. I cannot pray blessing because our nation, nor I, deserve blessing because our nation has turned against God on my watch and our nation does not honor God. It is clear that the people are yet to cry out to God. They are currently crying out to the government to save them and this will not succeed.

    We see our democracy being ripped apart by leaders who think that their role is savior. I suspect that our democracy may have to fall before we will see people turn to the true Savior.

    When democracies cease to exist the people live in fear because they are always afraid that they will be punished by the dictator. Dictators live in fear because they are worried that the people will turn against them or they are overthrown. I hope we remain a democracy but our leaders seem intent our having dictatorial control. It seems only a matter of time before someone cancels elections.

  6. Great article as usual, Bill and some very good comments to follow up. As someone who has taken a great interest in trips to Europe in the past decade to memorials to Big Government overreach such as Dachau and the wall between East and West Germany, I struggle to come to terms with the evaluation that humanity has learned almost nothing from those lessons that cost so much misery and so many lives. It grieves me deeply.

  7. As to politicians lying, they do so because not only do we tolerate it we expect it from them! If we allow them to lie and commit other acts without consequence why should we be so surprised they do. When you ignore little sins it emboldens people to commit bigger ones. We let politics become dirty and said nothing so it got dirtier. I think people often want to be told comforting lie than hard truths because they don’t require us to do anything. Comfort and easy living is what modern man wants. It’s what the Romans wanted before the barbarians invaded and destroyed the Empire. In democracies or republics we have the leaders we are willing to put up with. If w have liars, cheats, and thieves in office it is because we put them there. We don’t investigate a politician more when they are running so it is our fault for electing bad people.

    Sometimes it is even worse “yes he’s a liar but he is OUR liar”! As if that somehow makes it acceptable to be a liar if you are telling the “right” lies or lying for the “right” reason. As Christians maybe we should rewrite that to be “yes he is a sinner but he is OUR sinner”. Now maybe it is a bit clearer as to the absurd nature of the statement. You can’t commit the “right” sins or be sinning for the “right” reasons. If we don’t hold them accountable they certainly won’t hold themselves accountable. If you set a low bar for people rest assured no-one will raise it.

    It is important to fight against this but we must know HOW we got here so we know HOW to fix it otherwise we are just treating the obvious symptoms of a larger disease. There is strength in numbers but the real question is do we have the numbers??? For some it is easy to be brave typing on a keyboard quite another in a crowd of people who are about to be beaten up for daring to resist. There are quite a lot who can talk the talk on the net but can’t walk the walk in the real world. Like the guy who yells at the bully from behind a door or person or corner but when the bully walks over and says “what did you say” they get weak kneed and say “nothing” before slinking away. Plenty of swords and shields turn to cardboard cutouts when the real fight begins. Revolutions aren’t often won by NUMBERS but by STRATEGY!

  8. Hi Bill,

    I would quibble with Sadler on one point: I would not call the “ill-advised riot at the Capitol on January 6th” but a rally that was re-engineered to become a riot by opponents of Trump.

  9. Thank you for your article, Bill.
    I believe we are living in a free country, but it’s not a democracy. By that I mean we are free to do what the government allows like getting tested, vaccinated, only travelling within our own little area, but not what we want to do.

  10. Thanks Susan. Yes quite right. The state, the media, and sadly too many of the “conservatives” on Sky News in Australia all trying to tell us things like the vaccine is not or will not be mandatory, but that is pure baloney. When most governments and businesses conspire to prevent people from travelling, going to school, getting basic goods and services, and so on unless they are vaccinated, then our “choices” have been stripped away from us. We ARE being coerced into getting the jab – either that or we will be forced to live as cave dwellers with basically zero human rights and civil liberties. That is NOT freedom of choice. That is manipulation and coercion pure and simple – something all the modern human rights declarations and medical ethics statements strongly condemn.

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