January 6, 2017 § 2 Comments
“Democracy is like a tambourine — not everybody can be trusted with it.” — John Oliver
“[America] is where the experiment is unfolding. This is really where the races confront one another, where the classes, where the genders, where even the sexual orientations confront one another. This is the real laboratory of democracy.” — Leonard Cohen
“Fascism is a more natural governmental condition than democracy. Democracy is a grace. It’s something essentially splendid because it’s not all routine or automatic. Fascism goes back to our infancy and childhood, where we were always told how to live.” — Norman Mailer
We Americans have only known democracy and so we push on into the unknown, ever experimenting. We were born into the faith. Europeans have a different history. They are converts to democracy, having known to well the “Caesarist political leader, basing his power on his personal competence and charismatic appeal……” They are beginning to look East, for a familiar example set by the Great Bear. The fledgling democracies in the Far East feel the pressure of yet another strong man. We could easily find ourselves alone once again. Democracy is an anomaly. History favors the dictator.
Pertinent perhaps to the above, a post that’s going around about how life under an authoritarian regime is more normal, and thus more possible, than many folks seem to think it is.
The reality is that everyday life under the kinds of authoritarianism that exist today is very familiar to most Americans. You go to work, you eat your lunch, you go home to your family.* There are schools and businesses, and some people “make it” through hard work and luck. Most people worry about making sure their kids get into good schools. The military is in the barracks, and the police mostly investigate crimes and solve cases. There is political dissent, if rarely open protest, but in general people are free to complain to one another. There are even elections. This is Malaysia, and many countries like it.