Thursday, November 18, 2021

Vox Populi

Fidel Castro in Sierra Maestra (1956)

Politicians have constituencies. Followers are who elect them. Without the vox populi you have no ascension. Yes there are particularly charismatic individuals like Hitler, Churchill, Stalin, FDR, Huey Long, JFK, Fidel Castro, Mao Zedong and most recently Kim Jong-un. It may hard to believe that someone this vile who reputedly executed his uncle, Jang-song thaek with an anti-aircraft gun has his crew, but just take a look at crowds greeting the parade of missiles in Pyongyang. How do Hegel's "world-historical individuals" attain standing? Hitler is often talked about as a product of the Versailles treaty which created the kind of hardship that’s a breeding ground. However, deprivation=autocracy +1 is too simple an equation. The appeal of a Trump to a new generation of lumpenproletariat transcends simple economic and even racial formulas. If nothing else social media charts the existence of a collective unconscious—in this case one riddled with medieval conspiracy theories like Qanon. In order to understand the ascendency of Trump and the iron fist with which he holds the Republican party, you have to delve into the irrational. The implicit questions in the title of Steven Pinker’s
 Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters are significant. Why do the have nots support someone who has successfully despoiled the system for his own benefit? Why wouldn’t they want to tar and feather a latter day robber baron, who notoriously abuses labor and refuses to pay those who work for him? Not because of what he’s done, but rather as a result of the promise of a Second Coming, of a transcendent spirit capable of performing magic. Why believe in science which tells you to get vaccinated and wear a mask, when the promise of the unknown beckons?

Read "The Final Solution: Two Dark Horses" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "Walking on Broken Glass"(1992) by Annie Lennox

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