I am an American journalist who lives in Europe.
The question is really this:
If, because of a long, "jobless recovery", a large number of America's 350,000,000 people would enjoy listening to a demagogue, then finding a very effective one among 350,000,000 people won't be all that difficult.
Is it Sarah?
Well, at the moment she is the most known and commented contender.
Is she "too dumb" to succeed?
Being a successful demagogue really doesn't take that much of a "brain", it takes a talent mostly.
Palin's convention speech showed that she had that talent.
Examining the "brain" thing in demagogues:
Remember that the most successful demagogue of all time, Adolph Hitler, was dumb enough to declare war on the USA, when he was already at war with the Soviet Union. They don't come any dumber than that.
However, so that there be no confusion, unlike many of history's demagogues Sarah Palin is certainly not an antisemite, in fact, she is a staunch friend of Israel.
This from the Washington Times:
Sarah Palin displays an Israeli flag in her governor's office in Juneau, even though she has never been to the country, and attends Protestant evangelical churches that consider the preservation of the state of Israel a biblical imperative.Her faith makes her a favorite with the staunchly pro-Israel neoconservative elements in the Republican Party.
1.) The people who follow demagogues aren't interested in thinking, they are interested in feeling: demagoguery is a form of political pornography: up and on, who cares about the "plot"?
2.) The rational people who use demagogues do plenty of thinking, in fact, they don't want anybody else to think very much at all.
That is the whole point of demagoguery, to eliminate rational thought.
That is the whole point of fascism for that matter, to replace objective, individual thought with mass emotion.
The question remains: is there a market right now or in the foreseeable future for someone like this?
That is the real problem, not, for the moment, a lady named Sarah Palin. DS
The difference between Palin and Hitler-Proportional representation in Germany. The Nazis took over by being the largest party with what? 30% of the vote? Palin or somebody like her could easily get 20 - 30% of the vote - but I doubt if she or anyone like her would ever get a majority.Also the institutionalization of the two party system - it is extremely difficult for a third party to break out nationally. And to get the nomination of either party means pandering first to Iowa farmers then New Hampshire suburbanites before you have the big state primaries.Still - 6,000,000 jobs lost, Citigroup bailed out, GM bankrupt - maybe this time is different. Did you know there has been no job growth in the US since 1999?
Getting a little fixated on Palin aren't ya? You should be scared though.Palin's not a demagogue. To be a demagogue you have to be making false claims and using popular prejudices to gain power. It's not a false claim that Keynesian economics have failed AGAIN. It's not a false claim that Obama is the most reckless president we've ever had, and it's only been 6 months. And the popular prejudice she exploits is not against black people, but against people like you. The "we" you talked about in that past post (that's pretty telling isnt it? "We"). I also dont see how Palin is anti-business or globalization. Hadnt heard that one before. I hear more prejudiced statements from Lefties about Palin and her supporters than I do from rednecks about the black people.I agree that the whole point of fascism is to replace rational, individual thought with mass emotion. Well, you would know since you and your kind are the fascists. Individual thought gets in the way of collective action, right? Hatred of corportate "fat cats" and fear of global warming is emotional, not rational. For proof of that, observe the enraged reaction you get when you ask people on the Left for evidence to back up what they think. You get emotion not a rational, informed argument."They" are scared because "they" have been screwing things up so badly that "they" know that Democrats are going to be in serious trouble. It's actually Democrats that are in danger of becoming a regional party. And just to top it off you have a charismatic figure whipping up the opposition's base in spite of everything the poobahs in that party do to try and stop it. If I was part of the political and journalistic establishment, I'd be worried too. But since I'm not I just sit back and watch Palin with a smile on my mean old racist conservative face. Palin is like Limbaugh or FoxNews, the more the Left demonizes her the stronger she gets.Adam
I take back part of what I said. Now that I think about it, your a communist and not a fascist. But the point is that both are opposed to individualism and free thought. So you and those who agree with you have no right to criticize someone else for being hostile to individual thought.Adam
Of course she is an anti-semite in the very classic sense. She's willing to use jews as cannonfodder for imperial designs and she hates muslims.It's the same anti-semitism that has been festering since the middle ages in 'western culture'.
Adam: now that I think about it, you're an impudent dogsbody with holes in his underwear.
wow. I'll have to remember that retort next time some crazy wingnut starts ranting again.pithy, effective, and probably true.
Niggle: There are about 307M Americans accord to the latest Census Bureau estimates.
Just a couple of technicalities, but...Prior to Hitler's appointment as Reich Chancellor, the best the Nazis could do was in the low 40's, in 1930. After that, they fell considerably. Hitler's appointment was a masterstroke of political manipulation (Hitler's forte) which had nothing to do with popular support.Also, Hitler did not voluntarily declare war on the U.S. After Pearl Harbor, Hitler knew that the U.S. was only days away from declaring war on Japan's ally Germany. He felt that it was better to be seen as the aggressor, and so he didn't wait to have war declared on him; he would have never done it, given the choice, even though he seriously underestimated the ability of the U.S. to alter the balance of power in Western Europe.
He who never hath had holes in his underwear let him cast the first stone.
Green Eagle - my understanding of the politics of 1940 - 41 was that there was a strong isolationist block in congress that was obstructing aid to Britain; Roosevelt was already well out in front of congressional support. Back in those days, wars were declared by Congress, not the president. Had Hitler not declared war on the US, it was not a sure thing that congress would have gone along with a declaration of war on Germany; or they may have declared war with restrictions, such as naval only. Germany had a defensive pact with Japan; it was not required to join in an aggressive war. Actually, I don't think it would have made any difference to Germany - Germany was defeated by Russia, not the US. It made a great deal of difference to Western Europe after the war.
forensic economist,I agree completely with what you said. Perhaps I was not clear enough. Contemporary German records show that Hitler believed an American declaration of war was imminent, and thus he acted.Although I suspect that, in the wake of the Japanese attack, Roosevelt would have gotten his way, I am sure that the largely Republican group of obstructionists and outright supporters of Germany might have put up a pretty good fight.
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