Quote of the week

Trump’s electoral fiction floats free of verifiable reality. It is defended not so much by facts as by claims that someone else has made some claims. The sensibility is that something must be wrong because I feel it to be wrong, and I know others feel the same way. When political leaders such as Ted Cruz or Jim Jordan spoke like this, what they meant was: You believe my lies, which compels me to repeat them. Social media provides an infinity of apparent evidence for any conviction, especially one seemingly held by a president.

Timothy Snyder
The New York Times
5 March 2020

On elites and democracy

From a realistic perspective, the role of elites and their policies in the process of regime transformation are not so simple. Once it is recognized that all “real-existing democracies” (REDs) depend crucially on the role of representatives who act as intermediaries between the citizens and their rulers – some of whom, either directly in presidential regimes or indirectly in parliamentary ones, become the rulers – then, the difference between autocracy and democracy is bound to be less dramatic. Instead of rule by a few vs. rule by all, we have “rule by some politicians” or “polito-cracy” as the outcome. These newly empowered representatives inevitably form an elite institutionally separate from the electorate that has chosen them competitively or the electorate that has chosen them for their reputation

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