Will Humankind’s Primitive Ego Rise Up To Destroy The American Experiment In Democracy?

Growing out of the French enlightenment period America’s founding fathers, the nation’s intellectuals for the most part, gathered together to try a radical experiment in governance. They undertook to devise a system of civic authority built upon the rational intellect rather than one fabricated upon traditional systems of humanity’s emotionally driven primitive ego, whose chief component is the tribal impulse.

The great difficulty with this democratic system of governance is that it is very much dependent on a highly educated, well-read electorate, one immune to the vagaries of the emotionally charged ego.

In recent years the specialty media has been supercharging the emotional ego of America’s citizenry and belittling its intellect. No one has cashed in more so on this trend than the reptilian brained Donald John Trump. Like Trump himself, his followers are for the most part neither highly educated, soundly informed nor are they particularly well read, unless one includes such rags as the National Inquirer or the ego pandering of Fox News and right wing talk radio.

This ego pandering and assaulting of the nation’s collective intellect has taken it toll with such nonsensical notions as — global warming is a hoax, the mainstream media is fake news and of course intellectuals think they are better than workingmen and women — to nearly fatally wound democratic values of goodness and fair play. These values are especially critical for a nation of great diversity, a body of people that must constantly battle against the tribal impulse to rally around like kind and hate and fear the “other.”

It is humankind’s intellect that has only in relatively recent times overcome a myriad of mystical superstitions, allowing the great explosion of technical advancements, particularly of the last few hundred years in Europe and America. Now, however, it appears that all over the world humanity is falling back into dictatorial tribalism, topped off here in America with masses of folks flocking to the absurd certainties of President Trump (“believe me folks I can do it all”).

Indeed, as knowledge continues to expand exponentially there is this ferocious anti-intellectual counter trend, a backlash craving to return to a simpler world ruled by blind ego sureness. And thus from Afghanistan to Syria and Egypt to Venezuela and most of the African continent to Russia and America to wherever, we see nations violently moving away from democracy and toward old fashioned tribalism. Moreover, in this reversal process, far more potent weapons of modern vintage are being employed to no good end. In other words our base primitive ego is fighting back hard against the rise of human intellect and democracy is caught in the crossfire.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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