All over the world incompetent liars are being elected to power. By us. This is because we’re easily gulled by blustering incompetents who promise us fantasies we’re too foolish to discount as impossible nonsense. So it’s not just the USA that is collapsing.

There are times in history (remember the 1920s and 1930s?) when the march of folly is simply too great for individuals to counter. In theory it is possible to change the dynamic and re-route the way things are heading but that requires three things. Firstly an accurate analysis of the fundamental causes. Secondly the ability to deploy sufficient assets to attempt to induce a change of course. Thirdly the willingness to deploy those assets.

Let’s take a look at Germany in the 1930s. Several astute commentators realized what was going to happen even while most people remained intellectually dormant, drifting along and telling themselves everything was for the best and everything would be OK. But what could those commentators achieve in the face of mass indifference and torpor?

A few counter-factual histories may illustrate the problem. Let’s imagine that back in Russia in 1917 a handful of clever people had realized what Lenin’s Bolshevik Party really was. Horrified, and far preferring the more rational and humane policies of the Menshevik Party, our hypothetical heroes amassed sufficient assets and determination to kill Lenin and the vast majority of those enabling him. The Menshevik Party would have gone on to form Russia’s government and the 20th century would have been utterly different (for a start, Stalin wouldn’t have been able to kill 60+ million of his own citizens in various purges and the Holomodor). Imagine if a few determined people had likewise killed Hitler and his gang of thugs before he could become Chancellor and lead Germany down a very dark path indeed. World War II and the Holocaust would never have occurred.

But ordinary decent people don’t think that way and don’t do things like that. Ordinary decent people abhor violence and certainly don’t know how to organize such things. In the USA one would have to kill at least 2,000 senior Republicans to stand even a small chance of deflecting the current path into tyranny and chaos — and who’s going to do that?

So that is why no one does anything meaningful. We are evolved to play follow-the-leader even when that leader is utterly incompetent and venal and is leading us all over the cliff edge. It’s simply too difficult to oppose creatures like Trump because by the time we’ve realized how lethal they are, they have all the resources of the State behind them. There isn’t a single government drone able to ask themselves, “should I really be doing this job now that it’s just contributing to the destruction of the nation I claim to love?” Government drones carry out whatever orders they are given because they are merely drones, unthinking and obedient to the end. Whether they are ICE or the Secret Service actively protecting the person who’s doing the most to harm the USA, they will carry on in blind obedience to the very end, just as the German military and the German police and the German bureaucracy all carried on carrying out their orders until the very end. That’s just what people do, and that’s why creatures like Trump can destroy entire nations. And it’s why no matter how outraged we may be as individuals, none of us will do what would be required in order to make a difference.

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Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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