A liberal democracy requires that it’s diverse groups be able to tolerate each other. In “The Neuroscience of Hate Speech” psychiatrist Richard Friedman describes how Trump’s hate and fear-mongering targeted at non-white males can goad deranged people to action. Stoking anger and fear turns on stress hormones like cortisol and norepinephrine, and engages the amygdala, the brain center for threat. Feeling defensive and threatened facilitates violence towards, and dehumanization of, those supposedly presenting the threat. “So when someone like President Trump dehumanizes his adversaries, he could be putting them beyond the reach of empathy, stripping them of moral protection and making it easier to harm them..”
Max Fisher notes a common theme among the liberal democracies trending towards authoritarian populism (Hungary, Brazil, and now Germany) even though popular backlash is against different issues (corruption and crime in Brazil, immigration and European union problems in Hungary and Germany).
Maybe Brazil’s election, along with the rest of the populist trend, represents something more disruptive than a single wave with a single point of origin. Research suggests it exemplifies weaknesses and tensions inherent to liberal democracy itself — and that, in times of stress, can pull it apart…When institutions fall short…voters can grow skeptical of the entire idea of accruing power to bureaucrats and elites…the trouble often starts when members of a particular social group believe their group is declining in status relative to others.
When that happens, voters tend to reject that system in all but name and follow their most basic human instincts toward older styles of government: majoritarian, strong-fisted, us-versus-them rule.
Human beings are tribal by nature. Our instincts are to put our group first and see ourselves as locked in competition with other groups. Liberal democracy, which promises that everyone gains when rights are protected for all, asks us to suppress those impulses.
But this is no easy ask. And tribal instincts tend to come to the fore in times of scarcity or insecurity, when our capacity for lofty ideals and long-term planning is weakest.
Good Morning DerickReplyDelete
When looking at populism, it is helpful to keep the numbers in mind.
In Brazil almost half of the population voted for an authoritarian party. Same in Hungaria where Oban was able to gain over 40% of votes. In Italy now we have approx 30% on the side of right populism and 29% on the side of somewhat left populism
In the US it is approx. 25% of the population going for Trump.
Germany has roughly 13% of right voters going for a populist party AfD and maybe another 2% that go for the extrem right.
I would suggest that this should qualify Germany to be among the most stable democracies we have left in Europe and although some inner political conflicts (which all are handled in a most democratic, transparent and gentle way – as far this is possible in politics) I sincerely hope that the country will keep its positive influence in European and international politics. As I also fear the effects of populistic politics, hate-speech and the effects of systematical application of „false-news-strategies“
Thanks for the numbers. The numbers I usually see indicate 36-44% of US population going for Trump.ReplyDelete
Thanks. I have read These figures too, but I thought they were related to "votes" or voters and not to the whole Population. The figures I had sent you, at least for Germany and Italy, are relating to Population.Delete