The term “liberal democracy” has been used to justify a creeping illiberal totalitarianism, and Covid may be the coup de grace. From Tho Bishop at mises.org:
In recent decades, any challenges to the reigning hegemony of American leadership, NATO allies, and a network of neoliberal NGOs, financial institutions, and corporations has often been depicted as threats to “liberal democracy.” This charge has been aimed at a variety of dissidents, from state actors, such as Russia or China, to populist politicians, such as Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro, and Matteo Salvini, to secessionist movements, such as Brexit, to respect for basic individual rights, such as free speech and the right to bear arms.
The degree to which the powers that be seriously view any of the above as a threat is open to conversation, given the degree to which hyperbole is a default setting of political discourse. The phrase “liberal democracy” itself had little literal meaning, given the general consolidation of power in the West away from federalist frameworks, coupled with a managerial framework that has sought to increasingly heighten the power of bureaucrats and alleged public policy “experts” at the expense of individual rights.
Nothing has highlighted how meaningless both the term “liberal democracy” and the performative concern about its well-being are than the policy response to covid this past year. To the surprise of no one that had been following their actions carefully, the enlightened technocrats from neoliberal institutions have proven to be the greatest cheerleaders of rising authoritarianism in the West.