There was a time not long ago when the world’s most
democratic nations seemed to be trending to the left,
including the United States with the election of Barack
Obama as president in 2008.
The ideological phenomena of left and right are generally
cyclical, as elections bring in liberals and social democrats
to replace conservatives and right centrists, and vice versa,
every few years or so.
But the recent trend was decidedly to the left, with the
election of Mr. Obama; Francois Hollande in France;
leftists winning in Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua,
Argentina, nations of Africa and Asia; a Labour politician
led Austrialia, not to mention the usual left-leaning
politicians who have so long dominated the countries of
A few centrists and conservatives remained, but UK Tory
leader David Cameron had to share power with the more
liberal Nick Clegg and his party. Conservative Prime
Minister and later President Vaclav Klaus of Czechoslovakia
retired from politics, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy
had to resign (for non-economic reasons), Chancellor Angela
Merkel won a personal electoral victory, but still had to form
So the latest political news from Norway, Sweden, The
Netherlands, Australia and other nations across the globe,
signals good tidings for global conservatives and democratic
capitalists. Once again, socialist, neo-Marxist, and social
welfare ideologies have failed cross the world. The shock of
the collapse of the Soviet Marxist empire is still reverberating
almost 25 years later as high tax, highly regulatory,
redistributionist governments routinely fail to turn their
economies around and produce prosperity.
The paragons of the welfare state used to be Scandinavia,
Germany and The Netherlands, but those nations have been
adopting, and continue to embrace, more free market solutions
to their unemployment, welfare, and otherwise paternalistic
Only President Obama and his advisors (and socialist
French President Hollande) seem today to believe in the
assumptions and methods of the social welfare model, even
as their economies linger in the doldrums and fail to recover.
Latest news from Venezuela and Argentina, which once
again adopted long-discredited populist rhetoric and practices,
is that they have runaway inflation and rapid currency
devaluation, ominous signs of imminent economic collapse.
Of course, not all problems in the world are purely economic.
Religious strife and aggression, nationalism, ethnic conflict,
natural disasters and totalitarianism complicate the global
But where genuine democratic processes exist, electorates
are turning more and more to the center right, at least for now.
The world does not just need more “free elections” as proof
of growing democratic societies, nor does it just need more
conservative figures to lead them. What the world needs most
today are economic and political conditions that promote
entrepreneurship, personal savings, access to education and
technological training, and a much greater level of
bureaucratic transparency. Until conservatives make these
goals their front-and-center working program, the chronic
back-and-forth of left-right ideologies alternating in power
will go on and on, unfulfilling to those who need prosperity
and freedom most.
Copyright (c) 2014 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.