Politicians’ Likeability/Masses’ Loyalty Amorous Dyad Instead of Discussion of Issues in American Politics Today

What is the difference between a politician’s democratic care about people (for example, the proposal to finance jobs or education for children) and his/her populist appeal? While people with love for humanistic education (mainly, the Middle class) can “tolerate” democratic (analytical) speech, the ordinary people (mainly, the poor and the rich) need emotional contact with politicians; they need to be nurtured by the emotions that communicate similarity between the speaker and receiver. Democratic discourse is cognitively based while populist speech is based on emotional rapport, when the audience is emotionally glued to the speaker instead of being analytically connected with facts and issues. To tolerate democratic speech you have to tolerate the absence of emotional symbiosis with the speaker. But ordinary people are prone to feel abandoned, not cared for, “betrayed” when they hear the speech of a politician-democrat. That’s why they are attracted to the right wing politicians who make uninterrupted positive emotional flow between themselves and the masses as the very essence of political discourse.

Identification between the right wing politicians and a population in need of feeling emotionally similar with them is the essence of the success of authoritarian-populist politics. Identification between politicians and the masses by the principle of similarity (a smooth stream of similarity/identity between the two sides) characterizes a totalitarian mode of communication instead of mutual dedication to discuss facts and issues that is characteristic of democratic communication. The pleasure of identification with the people in leadership positions is so important for the masses that it overrates cool concentration on issues (the only thing that can provide real mastery over the situation).

It is a question of loyalty instead of rational choice. Identification with people in leadership positions is established and supports itself through emotion of loyalty instead of choosing a leader by analyzing his/her position on issues through rational (a-symbiotic) assessment. It is much more pleasant to identify with a more influential person by agreeing with his/her position than to assess and analyze his/her views (it is like for a child to start to assess what the mother is saying and doing instead of enjoying the warmth of feeling a blissful unity with her). Ordinary people (without systematic humanistic education and ego-development that make people distant from their primordial emotional reservoir connecting us with others through symbiotic mutual identification) cannot think rationally about their life not because they are stupid but because they are moved by their inferiority complex making them vulnerable to the leaders who think and feel like them (instead of helping them to educate themselves). The poor are doomed to admire the rich and strong. They need identification with the socially successful figures to get the feeling that they also can be recognized as power. Instead of relying on their own independent judgment they rely on the opinions of those who “made it”.

Behind the examples of strong loyalty to leaders and to wealthy we see the human history of social inequality, powerlessness and helplessness. How many generations were completely smashed (when self-expression was allowed only through identification with the powerful and wealthy)? Systematic learning over centuries has taught and trained us to act through authority. By observing today the servility of human beings in front of money we can feel how tormenting the human historical past must have been. Behind the unconditional belief in the wealthy leaders (the absence of critical ability and skepticism) there is a history of violent exploitation and subduing the human potential for freedom and independence. What is conformism today was violent repression in the past, what is proclivity to believe financial super-stars today (inability to check logically their pronouncements) was fear of power in the past. By the very existence of religious and political beliefs operating against people’s interests we see violent repression in the past of our very ability to think for ourselves. In this sense the ability to believe is a result of repression of the very ability to think and to reason.

Political populism is a new, “democratic” form of anti-humanism of the social elite when rich and powerful try to handle poor simple people not through direct commands but through flattering masses by propaganda appeal. In democracy the strong people pretend that they are like the poor, but the point here is that they are as culturally illiterate as the poor are. By being different from the poor only by their wealth, rich are similar with the poor on the level of their psychological (under)development and the condition of human soul. Democracy is fused with totalitarianism.

What is then the destiny of the intellectual/existential elite (cultural, not money elite)? It is not needed anymore. It is superfluous. Let the poor, tricked and co-opted into agreeing with the power of the rich, suffer for not being as wealthy but just be happy for being allowed to identify with their masters of the earth. The alliance between rich slave owners and the (poor) slaves grateful for being fed to work makes the cultural elite irrelevant, superfluous, doomed and non-existent. It looks that we come to the epoch of symbiotic unity between the exploiters and the exploited. The very concept of exploitation is in a process of becoming outdated.