To understand American democracy one need first to understand human nature, because what the founding fathers in their experiment in democracy were trying to do was no less than confront human nature head on. Laid bare, human egocentricity, or what is commonly referred to as human nature, says that what benefits me and my kind is fair and wonderful and what benefits you and your kind is unfair and corrupt. That is the centerpiece of every banana republic no matter how they try to explain themselves. In other words there is no power but the power of raw might. Think of the current rules of Russia and China and the dreams of our own current president.
Of course the architects of American democracy didn’t say it in so many words, but it was this crude impulse of human egocentrism that they saw as corroding governance and that which they wished to rise above. Instead of a government that benefited the ruler and his most loyal supporters at the expense of everyone else, there was an idealistic streak within our founding elites that said lets attempt a style of governance that allows for the most good for the most people, a truly radical notion compared to the normal game of thrones march to power.
It was a simple concept at heart — put the power of decision in the hands of the many rather than the few. Of course the founders could hardly have found a worst place to attempt their little experiment in this sort government, a nation whose society and economic system rested in significant part uneasily upon the institution of slavery, hardly an idealistic foundation for building their new and better government. But it was the hand they had been dealt, and they intended to make the most of it.
So here we are today, after a war of independence, an extremely bloody civil war over slavery, a civil rights campaign to end the unfairness of Jim Crow law and some huge international wars against brutal tyrants that threaten freedom around the world. Moreover, here we are fighting off the endeavors of our own domestic tyrant in waiting, a leader hell bent on putting an end to America’s experiment in democracy.
Indeed, after nearly 250 years some 40% of the nation’s citizens still have little or no interest in democracy and the institutions that support and defend it. To them and their cult leader they deride it all as the deep state. They remain wedded to nature’s notion of an old fashion ruler, one whom they see as their guy, not the other’s guy.
It is hard to beat nature, in this case human egocentrism. And when the Donald’s followers say they like him because, ironically enough, he is honest, I understand exactly what they mean. Idealism, because it is not a natural thing, seems dishonest to them. Yes, strangely, though he is a pathological liar, by acting in an old fashion ruthless way, he comes off to the less sophisticated among us as being honest in the way nature intended. This is a facet of humankind that has always been an allure of tyrants.
You see tyrants and their supporters see all mankind as being utterly corrupt and dishonest, just like themselves, and they can’t be otherwise convinced. So for them it means get all you can, any way you can, using anyone you can. Currently, for many of the gullible and the hopelessly hopeless of Americans they see the Donald as their life’s savior. To hell with America democracy, they say — that’s nonsense, a sham.