Tuesday, October 25, 2016

It's not just hard-core Trump supporters that make me wonder whether America can still be saved

I'm a great admirer of Winston Churchill. I've thought a great deal of late about two quotes from the great man.

One is, "Democracy is the very worst form of government- except for all the others."

The second is, "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."

The average voter has never had either the time or the inclination to be as informed about the matters our system requirea him to pass upon as he ideally should be. His sources of information are limited. It's truly amazing that We, The People have done as good a job of governing ourselves as we have lo these past two and a half centuries, and the other Western democracies for some time less than that.

But we have. We've produced Jeffersons and Churchills and Roosevelts and Lincolns and Reagans. Even or worst presidents haven't been Mao or Joseph Stalin.

Except that some of us don't know that. The rise of Donald Trump and the emergence of ignorance-driven extremism as the dominant political force at both ends of the spectrum have  made me seriously question whether we're still capable governing ourselves adequately. And we shouldn't blame it all on Bernie Sanders and the psychopathic ignoramus who will (to the deafening silence of the media) be going to trial on Federal racketeering charges next month, Donald Trump. They are only symptoms. The real disease is pandemic ignorance.

A third of millennials think that George W. Bush killed more people than Joseph Stalin.

Whether it's Trump or gay activists or neo-atheists discussing the Bible and religion or an increasing number of people on either end  of the political spectrum discussing anything at all, a degree of ignorance amounting to a functional disconnect from reality is spreading faster than the bubonic plague, and has claimed at least as many victims. People can't reason logically. The don't- and in many cases literally can't= read. Their world is little bigger than their own lives and they are apt to not only believe anything they're told but even things the infer from what they've been told.

In an age when political discourse is so overheated and the political Center has essentially disappeared, our disconnect from the wisdom of the ages combined with a poverty of essential knowledge and the absence of either the tools or the inclination to acquire them do not paint a pretty picture of the future of Western society. I'm becoming increasingly grateful both for the fact that I have no children and that I probably don't have more than 20 years or so left living in this madhouse we call the Western world.

I don't even want to think about the future we're headed for.

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