Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Donald Trump v. Tony Soprano

Click here for an article in The Atlantic by James Fallows, entitled "‘With Such a People You Can Then Do What You Please.’"

The difference between Tony Soprano and Donald Trump:
Doing what you can get away with is the governing ethic of the tribe, of the feudal lord, of today’s autocrats. It’s the ethic of Tony Soprano—although a difference between him and Donald Trump is that Tony showed more awareness of codes he was supposed to observe, and more inner conflict when he did not observe them.
The title of the article in The Atlantic is from a famous quotation by Hannah Arendt:
The moment we no longer have a free press, anything can happen. What makes it possible for a totalitarian or any other dictatorship to rule is that people are not informed; how can you have an opinion if you are not informed? If everybody always lies to you, the consequence is not that you believe the lies, but rather that nobody believes anything any longer. This is because lies, by their very nature, have to be changed, and a lying government has constantly to rewrite its own history. On the receiving end you get not only one lie—a lie which you could go on for the rest of your days—but you get a great number of lies, depending on how the political wind blows.

And a people that no longer can believe anything cannot make up its mind. It is deprived not only of its capacity to act but also of its capacity to think and to judge. And with such a people you can then do what you please.


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