democracy and civil rights

another question on democracy from the world values survey, 2005-2008:

“Many things may be desirable, but not all of them are essential characteristics of democracy. Please tell me for each of the following things how essential you think it is as a characteristic of democracy. Use this scale where 1 means *not at all an essential characteristic of democracy* and 10 means it definitely is *an essential characteristic of democracy*: Civil rights protect people’s liberty against oppression.

here are the percentages from each country for the people who responded 10 — that civil rights protect people’s liberty against oppression is an essential characteristic of democracy:

the germanics do pretty well here: sweden, germany and switzerland all scoring well above the average. the dutch and the norwegians are below average, though. the anglo scores are pretty abysmal, imho: the u.s. just squeaks in above average, while australia, canada and great britain (almost dropping off the table) are well below average. as are the french. the thais are in last place again. not sure what they think democracy is.

here’s a breakdown of the u.s. according to ethnicity, i.e. races + hispanics (click on image for LARGER view, should open in new tab/window):

whites = 45.6%
blacks = 42.5%
hispanics = 37.6%

the spread between whites and blacks/hispanics widens if we consider everybody who responded above 5 (i.e. 6-10):

whites = 83.4%
blacks = 73.7%
hispanics = 70.3%

previously: dēmos kratos and libyans on democracy: meh

update 03/08 – see comment below (click on images for LARGER view):

(note: comments do not require an email. why democracy.)


  1. This looks more like a case of perceived need, especially in Russia. In Great Britain they take them for granted.


  2. @luke – “This looks more like a case of perceived need, especially in Russia.”

    yes, i was wondering that, too — if the anglos have just become complacent (dangerous!).

    so are we to think that the swedes and germans are just better at paying attention, or do they feel they don’t have enough civil rights?


  3. I’d be interested in the dates of enactment and actual enforcement of rights. For example my homeland Australia doesn’t have a national bill of rights.


  4. Luke lea, what? the UK doesn’t have any guaranteed civil rights. neither does Australia as another commenter said… actually they do have civil rights but they’re all Bizarro-world cultural Marxist version–ie. you don’t have a right to free speech but you do have a right to of protection from “hate speech” (that is, if you’re white and offend a minority with words, you go to jail). that’s another thing to bear in mind when you consider how people responded to these questions.


  5. “In Great Britain they take them for granted.”

    I think these days they take anarcho-tyranny for granted in the UK. Still better than Russia where the cops are apparently assumed to be dangerous and untrustworthy criminals.Which would make Russia a lot like Mexico.


  6. @bleach – “the UK doesn’t have any guaranteed civil rights.”

    yeah, but it’s not like there’s no tradition of civil rights/liberties in the u.k. they practically invented them, for goodness’ sake!: magna carta, habeas corpus, all that good stuff. our founding fathers just had the (admittedly very clever) idea of writing them down — not that that’s doing the country much good nowadays anyway. =/


  7. How did you get the data by ethnic group? I went to WVS and to this same question but I don’t see it on the pull down menu.


  8. @zarzal – “How did you get the data by ethnic group? I went to WVS and to this same question but I don’t see it on the pull down menu.”

    i know. the wvs interface is not a very user-friendly one. i only discovered the other day that it’s possible to sort the data by ethnic group or, in fact, any of the other questions/categories.

    after you’ve selected what country/countries you’re interested in, and after you’ve selected which question you want to look at, you get to a screen like the first screenshot i added to the post above (look up there ↑). click on the “cross tabs” tab (circled in red) and then you’ll get to a screen like the second screenshot. to the right of “cross variable 2” there’s a “browse all variables” button (circled n red). click on that and you’ll get a selection of all the survey questions. “ethnic group” is toward the bottom along with things like gender and marital status.


  9. Bleach and formerly-no-name are IMHO correct. I am English and I live in the UK. The EU imposed some sort of impossible Cultural Marxist Human Rights legislation on the member states, including the UK, and nowadays, how Joe Public gets to hear about human rights, is how human rights legislation has been used yet again by slimy lawyers to keep Angolan/Congolese/Whatever rapists/murderers in the UK rather than deport them back to wherever they came from.

    You can read these sorts of stories almost on a daily basis in the Daily Mail. I am not in the slightest bit surprised by your interesting chart.

    Blame EU Human Rights Legislation, or maybe blame the Daily Mail?


  10. @the colonel – “Blame EU Human Rights Legislation….”

    i look forward to the day when the e.u. FAILs. what an evil, evil creation.


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