Ethan Yang reports for the American Institute of Economic Research about the latest edition to the ongoing, comprehensive study of world democracies by the V-Dem [Varieties of Democracy] Institute at the University of Gothenburg. The report finds that democracy was damaged by Covid-19 lockdowns:

The most shocking findings of the report were the extent of the abuse of power that transpired under the guise of fighting Covid-19. In Western liberal democracies, the restrictions were quite severe with prohibitions on travel, discriminatory behavior, executive overreach, attacks against free expression, and a lack of time limits on emergency powers being common themes. However, what has transpired in more autocratic regimes under lockdowns would make even the most tyrannical American governors blush. Ultimately, the report concludes that liberal democracy during the lockdowns took a hit, but the damage can be minimized if restrictions are lifted and emergency powers are reformed.

Read the whole thing. but this part is critical — especially for North Carolina, where we are somehow one of the minority of U.S. states still under a “State of Emergency”:

The greatest takeaway from the report in regards to pandemics and democracy is the need to enact emergency power reforms. …

However, the report makes it very clear that all countries should set time limits on emergency powers that allow them to execute lockdowns. Worryingly, as of December 2020, 43 countries had emergency orders with no such limits; 24 were democracies, 19 were autocracies. It goes without saying that absent the aforementioned reforms, the former risks transitioning into the latter.

My colleague Jon Guze and I have written extensively about the urgent need to reform North Carolina’s Emergency Management Act, especially putting a time limit on emergency powers, in order to put an end to the abuse of emergency powers by Gov. Roy Cooper and any future governor. Read Guze’s four-part series here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

Read this for the hour-by-hour history of the day Cooper chose to rule unilaterally in blatant violation of the Emergency Management Act.