Historian Timothy Snyder on Oligarchy, Oligarchical Impotence, and Sadopopulism

These are policies that are deliberately designed to administer pain, to add to the total amount of pain in American society.

If you hurt people you create a resource of pain, of anxiety and fear which you then direct against others.

If, in the long run, the way that you govern is by hurting people who don’t mind being hurt because they think other people are hurting worse, what you will tend to do is take the vote away from people who expect more from government, what you will tend to do is try to suppress the vote and keep the vote down to the people who accept that government can do nothing except for administer pain. And then that moves you away slowly from democracy.

Source: Timothy Snyder Speaks, ep. 4: Sadopopulism – YouTube

Rule by the rich few doesn’t answer the question of what comes next.

It’s very hard for oligarchs to make markets because oligarchs can’t really accept the rule of law.

Markets will not work under oligarchy.

It’s very hard for oligarchs to redistribute.

Citizens United, in 2010, ignores exactly what’s happening in Russia.

The United States is tottering between democracy and oligarchy.

We cannot expect policy from a would-be oligarch, from a wannabe oligarch, that will benefit the population as a whole.

In conditions of oligarchical impotence, you shift the task of government from doing anything to affirming identity. Government is no longer about doing, government is about being.

What you end up doing as an oligarch is deliberately hurting your own followers and asking them to applaud you.

Source: Timothy Snyder Speaks, ep. 3: What is Oligarchy? – YouTube

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