NY Mag: Democracies end when they become too democratic

From Andrew Sullivan at New York Magazine,

And so, as I chitchatted over cocktails at a Washington office Christmas party in December, and saw, looming above our heads, the pulsating, angry televised face of Donald Trump on Fox News, I couldn’t help but feel a little nausea permeate my stomach. And as I watched frenzied Trump rallies on C-SPAN in the spring, and saw him lay waste to far more qualified political peers in the debates by simply calling them names, the nausea turned to dread. And when he seemed to condone physical violence as a response to political disagreement, alarm bells started to ring in my head. Plato had planted a gnawing worry in my mind a few decades ago about the intrinsic danger of late-democratic life. It was increasingly hard not to see in Plato’s vision a murky reflection of our own hyperdemocratic times and in Trump a demagogic, tyrannical character plucked directly out of one of the first books about politics ever written.

Could it be that the Donald has emerged from the populist circuses of pro wrestling and New York City tabloids, via reality television and Twitter, to prove not just Plato but also James Madison right, that democracies “have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention … and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths”? Is he testing democracy’s singular weakness — its susceptibility to the demagogue — by blasting through the firewalls we once had in place to prevent such a person from seizing power? Or am I overreacting? More.

Reality check: Take a nap, Andy. If Trump won, he would only buy time for a few more people who “get” what is happening (globalism levels North Americans’ civil rights and prosperity, enabling some really big thugs) to find some shelter. He can’t change those events. Eventually, worn down, most of our neighbours will vote for welfare and the Big Shuddup, and maybe we will too. But there’s still hope.

One thing that will certainly happen following a Clinton victory (which I expect) is that traditional mainstream media in the United States will vastly moderate their taste for the First Amendment. If they are already PR for her government (because they are dying and have no other choice), they do not need the FA, and the indies who do need it are, at best, their enemies, and at worst, scum to be rubbed out.

See also: Canadian mainstream media free fall continues Unforced errors are a significant part of the problem.