People are No Longer Able to Govern Themselves
I continue in my attempt to understand the people of my time and place – Americans in the 21st Century.
Democracy assumes that people are able to govern themselves – and no one else can do this better than they can – since they understand themselves better than anyone else. But recent history is showing us that in our time (a very strange time, to be sure) – this is no longer the case.
Everyone can see this – but, at the same time, they cannot see this. Because they do not want to. The very principles their society was built on – no longer apply.
These were: that the world is governed by laws, such as those discovered by Newton. And similar laws apply to political behavior – people behave rationally, and in their own best interest.
But it is abundantly clear, that in some situations, people are not rational at all – and are perfectly capable of destructive behavior. They are governed by their passions – not by their minds.
And these passions are easily manipulated by dictators, assisted by the Media.
I will use an example from my own family – Mormonism. Which amounted to people following (without question) Joseph Smith – and after he was killed by an angry mob – his son Joseph Smith III.
Back then, in the 1820s, the Media was the Printing Press – and when Smith published his Book of Mormon – people could see he was a Prophet of God. A role that he adopted easily.
Since then the Media has been greatly amplified – by Radio, then Television, then the Computer.
People can see they are no longer in control – something else is, and they are willing (indeed, eager) to be governed by it. Whatever it is.
Trump has stepped into this vacuum, and proclaimed himself, as its embodiment. Not all Americans believe him – but enough do to keep him in power.