New Threats to Freedom: Democracy’s “Doubles”

Issue Date April 2006
Volume 17
Issue 2
Page Numbers 52-62
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A potent threat to freedom is posed by the rise of democracy's "doubles"—regimes that claim to be democratic and may look like democracies, but which rule like autocracies. Liberal democracy today is challenged on one side by Hugo Chávez's revolutionary Venezuela and on the other by Vladimir Putin's antirevolutionary Russia. The rise of Chávez's "direct democracy" and Russia's "directed democracy" poses a clear challenge to the political pluralism that is central to liberal democracy. The populist leader and the political technologist are the twin embodiments of the major threat to liberal democracy today.