Democracy is the child of plenty.
Privation makes it an orphan, and it starves to death
Depending on where you live, and the regime you happen to live under, democracy has existed only for about the last century or so, and even then has held together somewhat tenuously.
The18th c industrial revolution ended the neo-feudal system of agricultural working, and created a different environment where workers were suddenly in short supply. Industry expanded exponentially and desperately needed workers, and they began to make demands.
Employers had no option but to capitulate, albeit grudgingly. (I’m skipping over the violent reactions to strikers only 100 years ago)
Workers rights grew into trade unions and fully representational democratic government.
We might see this as some kind of humanitarian progression. It isn’t, it has been the product of cheap surplus energy. As long as industry expanded and needed more workers, democratic demands had to be met.
We are now at the point where there is no more cheap surplus energy.
Without cheap surplus energy, there can be no real industrial growth. Without growth, living standards are starting to decline, and the unthinking masses demand to know why their promised future is evaporating.
It is from those demands the leader arises promising a return to the good life. (Sound familiar?)
He points the finger of blame at anyone and everything, and the masses cheer him on, desperate to believe. They do not recognise him as part of their growing privation.
Follow me and all will be as it used to be!
He is, in fact, offering to dispense with democracy and a return to autocratic rule, convincing his gullible flock that is the only way to regain prosperity and only he has the means to initiate it.
Adolf Hitler made the same promises in 1933. Check them out.
Those who point out that he is a charlatan and fraudster are suddenly labelled ‘enemies of the people’.
As the power of the new leader grows, so does fear. People just roll over. If the military becomes subverted into this madness, it’s game over for the democratic system. Soldiers of all ranks fall in behind whoever pays their wages, no matter how crazy the regime. (Look at Venezuela now).
After that, the body of government does as they are told, or face the alternative. There are plenty of examples of that.
They too need to live. There will not be many willing to sacrifice their lives for democratic principles.
I’ve expanded on this theme:
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