We remarked that the Persians grew worse and worse. And we affirm the reason of this to have been, that they too much diminished the freedom of the people, and introduced too much of despotism, and so destroyed friendship and community of feeling. And when there is an end of these, no longer do the governors govern on behalf of their subjects or of the people, but on behalf of themselves; and if they think that they can gain ever so small an advantage for themselves, they devastate cities, and send fire and desolation among friendly races. And as they hate ruthlessly and horribly, so are they hated; and when they want the people to fight for them, they find no community of feeling or willingness to risk their lives on their behalf[.]As this faction pursues further restriction on our ancient liberties, now on guns as earlier on freedom of speech, religious liberty, freedom of association, and politically-incorrect expression, they find there is no trust left among the people. Why can we not discuss 'common sense gun regulations'? Because no one can trust that such regulations are not a back door to confiscation. We are unable to reason together because of decades of bad faith.
Who will enforce these new laws in any case? Will the people they want to fight for them comply? Will the police, whom they have hated upon ruthlessly and horribly for more than a year? Will the military, which is drawn in plurality from the part of the country they hate most ruthlessly and horribly of all?
As for the right, or what passes for it among common Americans today, the situation is a wave of support for... a reality-TV judge.
[A]s time went on, the poets themselves introduced the reign of vulgar and lawless innovation.... And by composing such licentious works, and adding to them words as licentious, they have inspired the multitude with lawlessness and boldness, and made them fancy that they can judge for themselves about melody and song. And in this way the theatres from being mute have become vocal, as though they had understanding of good and bad in music and poetry; and instead of an aristocracy, an evil sort of theatrocracy has grown up. For if the democracy which judged had only consisted of educated persons, no fatal harm would have been done; but in music there first arose the universal conceit of omniscience and general lawlessness;-freedom came following afterwards, and men, fancying that they knew what they did not know, had no longer any fear, and the absence of fear begets shamelessness.Donald Trump is a theatrocrat if ever there was one. His judgments are judgments of the sort Plato fixes his gaze upon here, and he has like the theatrocrat of old swayed the audience into believing that they can judge as well. Watching these shows, and rendering judgments as if they knew what they were talking about, is now the pastime of millions. I have seen only enough of these shows to know that everyone in the audience is boldly stating their opinion about which chef did best in the competition -- though they have never studied cooking, and never tasted the food.
They love Trump because he is bold in just this way: loudly, fearlessly, and in ignorance. This is the last power they sometimes feel they have, to judge as he does. They want to believe in it.
There is a real danger that he will win. There is a very powerful wind at his back. There is a despair eating the heart of middle aged Americans without college. When we see a demographic collapse brought on by suicide, alcohol and drugs, unheard of except among Russian men after the fall of the Soviet Union, we know we are talking about something much more powerful than a passing fancy. It is the pain of a people who have come to believe that their lives are worse than wasted, who are ashamed to live without work or on government aid, who are in pain from finding themselves useless and without a place or a point. They are not only hurt, but righteously angry.
This has been brought on by the pressures against this class of our fellow Americans brought by those who support massive immigration and globalization, either because they hoped to fundamentally change the nature of America, or because they sought campaign donations from corporations that benefit from cheaper labor. It is the fault of those who have ensured that all new jobs since the start of the recession have gone to immigrants. They have called down this whirlwind.
I do not distrust my fellow Americans, especially not the poor and downtrodden members of this class, who have suffered so much at the hands of those who dare to think themselves their betters. I feel a great loyalty to them, and am angry at how they have been betrayed by the government -- of both parties -- which owed them fellowship and loyalty. It is only that it is hard to think clearly in pain and anger, as I know too well myself.