Hell is Empty, All the Devils are Here.

The passage that follows was not written about Donald Trump, rather it was about Napoleon. According to the Guardian’s Helena Rosenblatt the Swiss-French political activist and writer on politics and religion, Benjamin Constant (1767-1830), was looking for the word that would best describe Napoleon’s pseudo-democratic regime. New words had been proposed, including “democratic despotism,” “Bonapartism” and “Caesarism”.

Constant’s word for Napoleon’s arrival on the scene was “usurpation”. Usurpers are constantly compelled to justify their positions, so they use lies and propaganda to manufacture support. They form alliances with religious authorities to prop up their regimes. They take their countries into useless wars to distract people from their treachery. And worst of all, they corrupt their people by tricking them into participating in their lies.

Wow, I thought, Rosenblatt’s words (actually Constant’s words) perfectly describe our Donald!! There’s more, of course, that might be said, much more, but this will do for a beginning. Let me run over the list, pointing out that every item on the list may with no stretch of the imagination be applied to our president. (Hell is empty, and all the devils are here.  Shakespeare The Tempest → Act 1, Scene 2.)

  • The principals use lies and propaganda to manufacture support. (Obama was not born in the USA, “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before my victory.”)  

  • They form alliances with religious authorities to prop up their regimes. (No need at all to spell this one out! The Christian extremists, the Evangelicals in particular are a huge part of Trump’s base.)

  • They take their countries into useless wars to distract people from their treachery, (In Trump’s case it’s, so far anyway, they keep us in useless wars…)

  • They enhance their own power, line their own pockets and enrich their friends. (Trump’s friends being his close family, his cabinet appointees, some of them anyway, and a White House staff that is constantly changing as they vie among themselves for Trump’s attention and favors.)

  • Worst of all, they corrupt their people by tricking them into participating in their lies. (Here it’s enough to mention Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, her predecessor Sean Spicer, then advisors Stephen Miller and KellyAnne Conway, and finally any number of Republican legislators including Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell.)

 

Still to come, perhaps next, what are the values of our liberal democracy (which does need definition). What are the values that our president is putting at risk. In the meantime please go to: 

Liberal democracy is in crisis. But … do we know what it is?  by Helena Rosenblatt in the Guardian of May 27, 2018.

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