Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the last decade is the fact that certain politicians have correctly identified a major path to success inherent in all representative democracies and have chosen cynically to exploit this route at the expense of the nations they claim to love.

Ignorant simple-minded people find themselves at or very near the bottom of society. This is an extremely uncomfortable position to occupy and the classic response is to look for a group one can position as even lower down than one's own group. We call this the "pecking order" and it exists in all group species and the biochemical/neurological implications are well understood.

Cynical politicians have realized they can exploit this bloc of voters. These people are highly susceptible to simple sound-bites designed to play on their fears ("foreigners are stealing your job, taking away your culture, forcing you to eat their foods"). Mainstream politicians then imagine they can benefit by parroting some of these themes, which serves to legitimize them and thus intensify the demands for policies that "save" people from "those foreigners." As this particular bloc of voters lack the intellectual capacity and domain knowledge necessary to adequately assess proposed policies ("if we leave the EU we'll be able to spend 350 million UK Pounds per week on the NHS! We'll have Brit jobs for Brit workers!" "The EU won't control us any more and we'll be free!") they will reliably vote for absurdly infantile self-harming notions.

Hence Trump, Brexit, Bolsonaro, Modi, et al.

The fact is, Brexit is merely the first phase of the end of our present system of governance. The EU is likely to be temporarily strengthened by the sight of the UK collapsing into being the world's gloomiest banana republic, but over the long term the fundamental trends towards ever-greater reliance on the uneducated and simple-minded for reliable votes means that the Western model is ultimately doomed.

And believe me, I fervently hope I'm wrong about this. But so far this model has enabled me to predict Brexit, Trump, et al while all the other commentators were eagerly explaining why these events would never occur.

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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