Part lament, part provocative call-to-action, Democracy in Decline charts how democracy is being diluted and restricted in five of the world’s oldest democracies – the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. James Allan targets four main, interconnected causes of decline – judicial activism, the transformation and growth of international law, the development of supranational organizations, and the presence of undemocratic elites. He presents a convincing argument that the same trends are occurring whether the country has a constitutional bill of rights (United States and Canada), a statutory bill of rights (the United Kingdom and New Zealand), or no bill of rights at all (Australia).
Identifying tactics used by lawyers, judges, and international bureaucrats to deny that any decline has occurred, Allan looks ahead to further deterioration caused by attacks on free speech, intolerant worldviews, internationalization through treaties and conventions, and illegal immigration. Social and political decisions, Allan argues, must be based on counting every adult in a nation state as equal. An essential book for anyone concerned with majority rule and fairness in numbers, Democracy in Decline presents a clear, well-stated account of trends that have been undermining democracy over three decades.