As the nations of the world feel the burdens of a changing planet, as the global economy weakens, as citizens become insecure, authoritarianism seems to step in. The surge of Trump into the public arena is an excellent example of this global trend. His flamboyant, wealthy and argumentative characterization is a magnet that attracts a fearful populace. If a citizen is fearful, they seek security within the authoritative strength of a leader.
Below is an excerpt from Aeon Magazine written by biologist Lee Alan Dugatkin:
“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power … We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end … The object of power is power.
– from Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) by George Orwell
“Animals don’t relinquish power once they get it either. But for nonhumans, power is always a means to an end. Many ends, in fact, including food, mates and shelter. Attaining and then maintaining power – defined as the ability to direct, control, or influence the behaviour of other creatures or resources – lies at the heart of almost all animal societies. . .”
Are we super smart humans only fooling ourselves? Is money only about personal safety and control over others? Are assets comparable to the horns of other animals? Was the Age of Enlightenment just a verbal sudoku puzzle? It is true that humans are like a grafted branch on an apple tree – no matter our unique flavor, we still are apples? Looking back over the entire history of humans, we always have been a tribal (AKA herding) creature. Tribes need leadership, typically a human of stature and cunning. Is authoritarian leadership more human than socialist leadership?
Further, what is it about this time in history that everyone is becoming more fearful? Will our animal instincts provide the organization that best sees civilization through these times?
Mariner has left the reader with a handful of questions. Enjoy pondering!