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He's probably more optimistic about democracy as a force for good, because the Western European governments he's familiar with have attained a closer approach to democracy than most of the rest of the world. In the US for example, the two-party system, most media being controlled by a few corporations, and general corruption make 99% essentially powerless to change anything.

The internet itself is a counterexample to his thesis, but does not disprove it in general. This technology took off before government could seize control, and it has taken 20 years for the forces of suppression to get a grip. And even today, secure communications are still (barely) possible despite the state efforts to surveil everything, because of technical workarounds of state/corporate power.

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