Tuesday, December 13, 2016

“Demagogues—insecure and crippled by an unbridled narcissism and seldom of high intelligence—play to the inverted values of a decayed society” Chris Hedges

“For Donald Trump, the presidency will be a vast stage for accommodating his megalomania and insatiable appetite for money. Those who mock, defy or anger him will feel the wrath of the state. Those who are not obsequious will be cast aside. He will invest most of his energy in his brand. Self-promotion is the only real talent he possesses. Corruption, already rife within the political system, will explode into a full-blown kleptocracy. Manufactured stories about Trump’s prowess, brilliance, sexual allure and goodness, as well as how America is becoming ‘great again,’ will be pumped out by the White House smoke machine. He will demand encomiums that will become ever more outrageous. All love, devotion and allegiance will be to Trump.

“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… 

“Demagogues—insecure and crippled by an unbridled narcissism and seldom of high intelligence—play to the inverted values of a decayed society. They attack all who do not kneel before the idol of ‘the great leader…’ Trump, as president, will use every tool in his arsenal, no matter how devious, to banish such public ridicule. He will seek to domesticate the press and critics first through the awarding of special privileges, flattery, gifts and access. Those who cannot be bought off will be destroyed. His petulant, childish taunts, given authority by the machinery of the security and surveillance state, will be dangerous…

“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 expend great energy marginalizing, censoring and silencing all critics, something the corporate state has already done to dissidents such as Noam Chomsky and Ralph Nader. They use the media, especially the airwaves, as a vast public relations department to amplify their lies and promote their personality cults. They destroy cultural and education institutions, replacing them with rote vocational training, nationalist kitsch and tawdry entertainment. They elevate members of their family, sect, tribe or clan to the inner circles of power. (Trump’s tribe, of course, is the billionaire class.) They put generals in key positions. Those in the military appeal to demagogues because they are not trained to think but to be obedient. The military also does not shrink from violence. 

“The demagogue and the inner circle grow fabulously rich by pillaging the state. They live in private inner sanctums of opulence and depravity that resemble Versailles or the Forbidden City. They banish anyone in the court who tells them unpleasant truths. They read into the most benign acts wild conspiracies. They often sexually assault girls and women. Hussein and Gadhafi were notorious rapists. Trump’s misogyny is well documented.

“Demagogues foolishly see the elaborately staged public events held for them as proof that a populace loves and respects them. And in the final, decrepit stages of their rule they became grotesque parodies of themselves. The sycophants around them, profiting from the orgy of corruption, feed their gargantuan self-delusion. The demagogues, believing they are divinely inspired geniuses and omnipotent, make decisions based on hallucinations. When a demagogue reaches that stage, society can be obliterated…

“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.” 

For the complete article, Demagogue-in-Chief, by Chris Hedges, click here.


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