Everyone with a functioning frontal cortex knows Trump is a sniveling whining infantile halfwit who has no idea what he’s doing from one constipated tweet to the next. So much, so obvious.
The real problem isn’t Trump, or Bolsonaro, or Babic, or Johnson, or Orban, or any of the other posturing blustering Mussolini-wannabes.
The real problem is the fact so many of us vote for them. We vote for them because we’re ignorant and foolish. We can’t be bothered to do even the tiniest amount of research to determine whether their lies and promises are based on reality (hint: they never are) and we’re so simple-minded we can’t grasp the complexities of the modern world so we eagerly embrace demagogues who tell us there are simple answers to these complex challenges.
In short, the problem is representative democracy. It’s the only system remaining where we don’t require people to demonstrate a minimum level of competence before granting the privilege of a vote. We do require folk to pass a driving test before being permitted to drive, we require dentists to pass stringent exams before being permitted to touch our teeth, we require pilots to qualify before being allowed to fly passengers, and on and on and on.
Yet for one of the most world-altering things we do, voting, we require only that you’ve managed to live to the age of majority. Hypocrites say we can’t impose qualification tests because many years ago fake tests were used to discriminate against minority groups. That’s like saying we can’t have tests for dentists or students or pilots. It’s hypocritical because the claim that “everyone’s equal” falls apart the moment we ourselves have a toothache or want to book a flight. We automatically seek out the qualified; few of us would ask our neighbor to perform root canal surgery on us or board an aircraft piloted by an incompetent halfwit who kept babbling on about being “the greatest, the best” pilot despite not actually knowing how an airplane works.
But when it comes to the life-changing matter of voting, hey, who cares? Let’s not worry, right?
That’s why we have the Trumps and all the rest: because so many of us voted for them. And it’s why we’ll continue to see the slide towards chaos and tyranny. The worse things get the more the demagogues can blame others and the more we’ll embrace them because we want their simple-minded “solutions” to complex problems far beyond our intellectual capacity to comprehend.
And it’s only going to get worse from here on out.