Alternative facts, fake news and ‘so-called judges’ are terms that have entered into the crazy new order of Western politics. The truth has become the first casualty of populism.
Comparisons have been made with arch propagandists from the totalitarian school of hoodwinking the people. But this is a new breed determined to sweep away the career politicians with their slight bending of the truth. Truth has no currency with the populists unless it fits their agenda.
Fantasy politics is taking off in the USA. The executive can dispute facts, disseminate untruths, vilify refugees and attack the judiciary, and its supporters seem to think that’s what it was elected to do. If they continue to imprison journalists for reporting on protests, they will be the envy of despots worldwide.
Meanwhile Putin is displaying the same kind of executive despotism. The latest lunacy is a move to decriminalise acts of domestic violence. If no bones are broken, perpetrators may avoid a prison sentence. Those who inflict cuts and bruises will be punished by fines instead.
Fear is a powerful force in the hands of despots. It is a great inhibitor preventing people from carrying out actions in their own interests and bending to the will of the oppressor.
Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot took the fear of violence and death to extremes. Those who understand that real power is fuelled by money are more subtle in their terror propaganda.
The trick to persuading a workforce that their labour should be priced at a fraction of the rewards stashed by tycoons is to create a climate of fear. Fear that losing paid employment would ruin lives, break up families and destroy individual self worth. Fear that doing anything else is too risky.
To accomplish compliance in a fearful workforce the tycoon has to be perceived as the rightful holder of power. The acquisition of wealth the true measure of greatness. Economic arguments can be reduced to simplistic psychological assertions. Who would work if their labours were not preferentially rewarded? Effort must carry a premium, otherwise why bother?
Setting aside the obvious examples of vocational employment such as nurses, GPs and teachers, those who dedicate their efforts to create something artistic are rarely driven by economic gains. Propping up or economically supporting activities that do not make a profit is seen as optional. Jobs in the public sector become the easy target of budget slashers. Art subjects are under attack in academe and science hailed as the great research funding generator.
What new models of economic activity can be touted now that Soviet communism is dead? The mixed economy is under attack and it looks as if the triumphalism of Trump in a rising US economy will persuade people to ditch the safeguards that Obama tried to promote.
In the wild wild west guns get you everywhere. Circle the wagons it’s gonna be a dodgy trail.