The Benefits Of Populism
Since 2015 we’ve seen a tsunami of mindless populism sweep the globe. While shambling soggy citizens of the UK see Brexit as the road to achieving a comforting mass delusion of damp pseudo-independence and more than seventy million US voters think a compulsively lying moron and his tribe of craven enablers represents “patriotism” the fact is, when we lift our heads from our parochial concerns and look to see what’s happening elsewhere, we see the same thing: we’ve forgotten what populism/nationalism always yields.
Some people think it’s a great shame that the UK will destroy millions of jobs and stunt the future of millions of its best and brightest young people simply because the old and the ignorant and the simple-minded voted for lies and enormous self-harm. Some people think it’s rather unfortunate that India is heading inexorably toward Rwandan-style genocide on an incomparably larger scale as Modi whips up Hindu extremists and ensures nothing will restrain them when they turn on their Muslim neighbors. News organizations are salivating over the sensationalist coverage they will be able to generate when millions of brain-dead Trump supporters start using their AR-15s to slaughter democrats in order to “restore law and order” while right-wing police forces stand by and watch with smiles on their faces.
Some people think all this carnage is a bad thing. Some very foolish and misguided people think mindless populism has no benefits to offer. This is a very short-sighted perspective that focuses only on the enormous catastrophic consequences and fails entirely to consider the benefits.
So let’s look at the positive side of things. Thanks to Brexit, the UK will inevitably fragment. Scotland, regardless of Boris Bunter’s reluctance, will break away in the hope of being allowed to rejoin the EU over Spanish opposition. This, along with the wanton destruction of the Good Friday Agreement by a criminally negligent and entirely English Conservative Party, will trigger the unification of Ireland, permitting Northern Ireland instantly to regain the many benefits of being part of the EU. It’s even conceivable that Scotland will petition to join Ireland in order to achieve the same result. England, and gloomy wet Wales, will then limp along as a delusional third-rank power, unable to sustain its military capabilities and crippled by perpetual high unemployment and endless racist-driven civil strife. No one will have to protest UK involvement in foreign wars, because there won’t be any capability to project force beyond three miles on either side of the Thames. This is a total win!
Thanks to Trumpism, the USA will grow ever more bitterly divided between people who have a few functioning neurons and more than seventy million who show no sign of any brain function whatsoever. As the brainless waddling Trumpies are heavily armed and possess nearly all of the four hundred million registered firearms in circulation, it’s obvious what happens next. Back in 2017 as I criss-crossed the USA I became accustomed to hand-written signs on billboards declaiming Kill All Demo-rats! and Its A Republic Not A Democratsy and of course the inevitable Shoot Dems Before They Steel Our Guns!!! In Rwanda the Hutus only had machetes and knives, yet this was sufficient to ensure nearly a million Tutsis were slaughtered in a matter of days, encouraged by hourly broadcasts across the state radio network. In the USA the repulsive cretin Trump will certainly shriek his exhortations to his supporters, urging them on to ever-more-violent acts which they will carry out in their dull-eyed drooling mindless fashion, imagining themselves to be “patriots” who are “saving” their nation.
In a matter of weeks and at the negligible cost of a few million lives, endless civil discord will be brought to an end as non-Trumpies see the fatal error of their ways and bow en mass to the inevitable. No more squabbling about who has the best political Party. Another major win for peace and civilization!
Thanks to Modi, India will see mass slaughter on a scale even the USA will find difficult to match, as across the vast subcontinent Hindus stab, slash, stone, cudgel, bludgeon, burn, and lynch their Muslim neighbors, all with the police actively participating in and enabling the killings and rapes. The outcome: finally, an end to the religious divisions that have plagued India since partition. Unambiguously a huge upside for the nation and the world at large.
Politicians everywhere have seen that success is practically guaranteed by appealing to humanity’s worst instincts. Lying to the simple-minded has always been a good strategy; today, telling blatant infantile lies to utterly ignorant and brain-dead voters is the guaranteed road to power. In every country, despite the astonishing potential of our communications technologies to spread truth and facts, we see the precise opposite: technologies are used to amplify our inherent stupidity, gullibility, and venality.
It is unlikely than mindless populism could have become a global phenomenon without the Internet. It’s as if we handed every small child a nuclear weapon on which an illuminated irresistible bright red button has been carefully placed. What child could resist? What harm could possibly come from pressing that delightful, beguiling, appealing, desirable button? Surely that’s precisely what it was made for!
For all those who’ve been claiming that new technologies would change us for ever, vindication! What better way to prove the benefits of the Internet than to see it used to destroy civilization? No chance now of small-minded people quibbling about its influence!
But there are still more enormous upsides to consider.
Dictators like Putin, Erdogan, and Xi will be able to point at the chaos and talk about how they alone have enabled bastions of stability amid the destruction. Tyrants around the world will seize power under the pretext of delivering safety and order, and so the world will come to resemble a patchwork of prison camps, each confining its citizens within its borders and subjecting them to a wide variety of horrors that will make the old USSR look appealing by comparison. This will create huge employment opportunities for those whose petty spiteful personalities have rendered them unfit for a modern service-oriented economy. Tomorrow’s jobs will entail spying on one’s neighbors and making false malicious reports against them, laboring in gloomy office buildings performing pointless bureaucratic tasks, and generally ensuring mass inefficiency and hopelessness. What better way to thin the ranks of the unemployable?
All over the developing world, cynical tyrants have used SARS-CoV2 as an excuse to eliminate opposition politicians and supporters, knowing that Western nations would be looking the other way and would in any case find it impossible to protest given their own authoritarian impositions under the same banner. As the West collapses entirely, it is inevitable that the rest of the world will embrace tyranny too. So now we don’t need to keep arguing over who has the best political system: tomorrow everyone will be living in their own local (and equally democratic!) version of North Korea!
As nations collapse, because tyrannies are incompetent and focused entirely on self-preservation by any means, they will obviously blame everyone but themselves for their self-inflicted harms, which will escalate already-extant tensions. India and Pakistan will inevitably progress to full-scale nuclear conflict, giving Putin the opportunity to use his arsenal of battlefield nuclear weapons to pre-emptively remove any vague possibility of slight resistance to his “liberation” of the old Warsaw Pact countries. These developments will be an excellent opportunity for scientists to measure the consequences of large-scale nuclear conflict on the health of those who survive, enabling us to learn far more than we were able to glean from the USA dropping nuclear bombs on unarmed Japanese civilians or from the Chernobyl meltdown. What’s a few hundred million deaths compared to the invaluable scientific knowledge that undoubtedly will be gained? Another huge upside!
Furthermore, as people starve and buildings collapse, all manner of diseases new and old will begin to wreak havoc, permitting epidemiologists a unique chance to study them in depth. Medical knowledge will thus expand (even though, admittedly, there won’t be the resources required to enable anyone to benefit from it). As we’re all in favor of greater knowledge, it’s impossible to deny the benefits accruing from large-scale nuclear conflict. Another win for populism!
Yet another upside will be the opportunity to rewrite history. Let’s face it: we humans are a hopelessly incompetent bunch of shambling apes. Real history is nothing less than an endless catalogue of unnecessary stupidity and self-harm. Re-writing everything in order to create a coherent and uplifting narrative is sure to make a great many people feel better about themselves and their daily struggle to survive. One more win to add to the list!
Which brings us to another great benefit: as economies collapse, food will become ever more scarce, thus eliminating our current epidemic of uncontrolled obesity. Why bother with piecemeal measures like a sugar tax when global starvation can put an end to the problem worldwide within a few short years? And of course this will in turn stimulate the publishing industry, as book with titles such as How To Feed Your Family On Grass and Ten Ways To Grill Your Neighbor top the best-seller lists. We can count this as a double-win!
Frankly, when we look at all the upsides, it’s a wonder we didn’t ask for mindless populism decades ago.