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Demagogue-in-Chief

Linked by Paul Ciano on December 23, 2016

Chris Hedges:

Trump is the sick expression of a dysfunctional political system and mass culture that celebrate the most depraved aspects of human nature—greed, a lust for power, a thirst for adulation and celebrity, a penchant for the manipulation of others, dishonesty, a lack of remorse and a frightening pathology in which reality is ignored. He is the product of our escapist world of constant entertainment. He embodies the mutation of values in American society that has culminated in an enormous cult of the self and the abandonment of the common good.

Ridicule especially antagonizes the demagogue. It deflates the pretentious and the powerful. It reduces to human size those puffed up by their self-importance. It exposes them for who they are. It affirms the self-respect and dignity of the oppressed. Demagogues, lacking the capacity for self-transcendence, cannot see the ludicrousness and absurdity of their pretensions. They cannot distinguish between their inner fantasies and reality. They can belittle and ridicule others, as Trump does, with great cruelty, but they see nothing humorous about similar treatment directed at the self-created edifice of their own glory.

Demagogues foster the psychosis of permanent war, which often leads to actual war. The psychosis of permanent war becomes a tool to abolish civil liberties and condemn dissent as treason. Huge expenditures go into the military, which demagogues see as an extension of their personal power, while the rest of the country decays. There is nothing a demagogue loves more than a big military parade.

The story of demagogues is as old as civilization. They have risen and fallen like the tides, always leaving in their wake misery, destruction and death. They exploit the frustrations and anger generated by a decayed society. They make fantastic promises they never keep. They demonize the vulnerable as scapegoats. They preach hatred and violence. They demand godlike worship. They consume those they rule.

Paul Ciano

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