Clever people seem doomed forever to misunderstand the fight they’re in. Clever people imagine that reason and facts matter. Demagogues, conversely, instinctively know that a huge number of citizens are intellectually incapable of reasoning and grasping real-world facts; thus simple-minded sound-bites and easy-to-remember memes are what delivers the votes. Our amazing technologies are merely amplifying standard human ignorance and folly, which is why we’re seeing populist blusterers gaining power around the world. Under such conditions it is utterly irrelevant what any particular Constitution happens to say, or any particular social norm happens to be. All that matters is the easy manipulation of people so intellectually constrained that they believe stupid self-harm is “patriotic” and a “stable genius” thing to do.

The future belongs to those who cynically exploit the weaknesses of our species. It does not lie with those who imagine reason and facts to have any relevance whatsoever in the world of human affairs.

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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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