It's a mistake to see the populist fantasy as a US phenomenon. It's global. It's why we have Brexit, Bolsonaro, Duterte, PiS, AfD, Le Pen, Salvini, Modi, and so many other blustering incompetent charlatans. When you combine normal human ignorance and folly with a 7/24 media that is in constant need of sensation in order to grab eyeballs to maintain ad revenues, the more insane a story the more widely it will be promoted. As ordinary people never dream of fact-checking anything - especially people who believe in invisible magical pixies - these insane tales become common currency and common belief. The currency of power in a democracy is the simplest meme, the most infantile soundbite - because these will appeal to the most voters. Plato pointed out, more than 2,500 years ago, that democracy must always end in tyranny for precisely the reasons we're seeing today. Only today, the madness is promulgated on our screens rather than being shouted from a rock.

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.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store