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Has western concept of democracy succeeded in controlling the coronavirus pandemic?

Listed by the WHO as a pandemic, the Coronavirus has put over 3 million lives in danger. Questioning the principles of the liberal democracy of the west, prior to two months, the lockdown was named a draconian rule.

A couple of months back, a complete lockdown imposed by the Authoritative Chinese government in the wake of coronavirus made the whole world think its people were jolted into harsh conditions without their consent, scrubbing off their rights from them to stop the deadly pandemic. Now after two months, the liberal democratic countries such as the USA have over 9 thousand cases a day, whereas China has succeeded in controlling the pandemic that resulted in life going back to being normal there. Had the west, not labeled social distancing as the draconian rule, the situation we see today could perhaps have been far different, and much controlled.

When the number of cases of Coronavirus increased in the USA, President Donald Trump tweeted, “Nothing is shut down. Life & the economy goes on,” reflecting the incompetence of the Leader of the free world to notice the severity of the situation by letting the cases skyrocket without appropriate measures. Instead of focusing on healthcare solutions, President Trump went on to make the situation even worse by tweeting further, “risk is low to the average American.”

Italy and England also struggled with the situation of imposing strict measures after the number of cases exploded. It took a month to impose aggressive measures, even then complete lockdowns were not as severe as that of China. Perhaps the western democracies are aware their liberal citizens might not tolerate serious restraints altogether, or those who agree to it, for now, need a clear timeline as to when it all ends.

For now, physical distancing and cities under lockdown have been the only solution towards controlling the number of cases; however, this has put the leadership of western democracy under question ever since normal life has been put to a halt.

Weakened western democracy could turn into a Hobbesian mess

Most of the Western countries are under a complete shutdown where citizens of the Western democracies have begun to question the governance of the country. With a continued lockdown and repeated isolation, some citizens have shunned the idea of social distancing unwilling to forfeit their liberties.

As the fear of losing freedom grows, the liberal ideas of western democracy have begun to come apart. Violating the mandatory social distancing orders, the Italian society has been preparing to protest against Prime minister Giuseppe Conte. With the fear of general unrest and rioting, the police task force has been deployed to control the situation before it gets out of hand.

The citizens of the United States have also protested against the lockdowns with the agenda of granting the freedom to live even if this exposes them to the virus.

A recent event where the armed far-right protests stormed the Michigan’s capitol protested the state’s orders to be incompetent as if the governor of Michigan was following an agenda that could risk their freedom to live. They criticized the distancing guidelines and demanded the lockdown be lifted immediately.

Noticing the situation, President Trump sided with the armed protestors and tweeted, “The governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire. These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal.” Protests against lockdowns have increased ever since conspiracy theories threatening the freedom of the people have been left unanswered. Michigan, Kentucky, and North Carolina have demonstrated against the lockdown and it is likely that such armed protests by the far-right voices will increase in the near future.

Leaving the far-right with their conspiracy theories unanswered with no clear deadline as to when the Coronavirus crisis ends, the pandemic could bolster the fueling people to protest against the liberal democracy. Given these pressures, if western democracy does not come up with better policies, societies are most likely to end up in a Hobbesian mess.

Weakened democracy amid the crises has spurred conspiracy theories

Taking advantage of the tension built in the West, a multitude of conspiracies have risen against the liberal western democracy from China and the different democratic parties from within the countries.

In retaliation to the conspiracies made by China, the US Senator Tom Cotton stated the USA “will emerge stronger from this challenge, we will hold accountable those who inflicted it on the world, and we will prosper in the new day.” The statement does state that the USA will prosper one day; however, the retaliation made still seems unsatisfactory as protests within the country have risen.

Conspiracists within the US state that the “plannedemic” is the new wave of western democracy to hold its people hostage under an authoritative government, or perhaps impose a martial law. People are afraid that the liberty to live with freedom will soon be taken away as the government is conspiring to hold them hostages within their own homes.

Some right-wing voices believe that it is the democracy’s way to control its people by taking away their freedom by installing a digital tattoo which will restrict their movements within the country. Others question whether it is a new plan by the government to impose population control through COVID-19 preventive vaccines. The conspiracy theories are a threat to the liberal ways of democracy and have questioned whether the western leadership will be able to contain the Coronavirus.

Western democracy needs a safe exit strategy

The pressured western democracy needs better solutions for a safe exit strategy from the Coronavirus crises. It cannot be denied imposing lockdowns has helped contain the virus, but it is not a long term solution.

Lockdowns are only a temporary solution as Sweden’s chief epidemiologist clearly stated “I suppose they can be useful, if you are unprepared and need more intensive care facilities, for example. But you are really just pushing the problem ahead of you.”

Adhering to effective liberal strategies implemented by successful States can help build more effective strategies. For example, applying to a transparent mapping of coronavirus cases by South Korea or aggressive monitoring and tracing of cases in Singapore provides successful examples of long term solutions.

All these systematic strategies need to be put into account by eliminating the flaws and covering the gaps to prevent any possible failure in the future and for the liberal Western democracy to succeed if it were to survive.

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Published by
Nafeesa Tariq

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