Part 2—Stampede to avow true belief: Sacred Plato wrote about a wide array of polities. According to a handful of experts, it's possible that he may have overthought the subject a bit.
At any rate, he claimed that "a state made up of different kinds of souls will, overall, decline from an aristocracy (rule by the best) to a timocracy (rule by the honorable), then to an oligarchy (rule by the few), then to a democracy (rule by the people), and finally to tyranny (rule by one person, rule by a tyrant)," at least according to the leading authority on his thinking.
(Other scholars have reached similar conclusions. See, for example, Lee, Translator's Introduction.)
Plato may have been right about some or much of what's presented above. Experts say he may have been wrong about the shadows on the wall of the cave, which hasn't yet been discovered.
Most strikingly, he never wrote about idiocracy (rule by elites once exposed to lead), the form of government in which we may now be trapped.
Are we moderns living in an idiocracy, as Judge has suggested? According to international experts, the signs are all around us.
Yesterday, we cited one trivial but unmistakable sign from Saturday's New York Times. This afternoon, we'll puzzle about the puzzling presentation the newspaper built around David Leonhardt's newest column.
These, of course, are minor signs. They're the daily markers of idiocracy which no subscribers seem to notice, especially once they've swallowed the floundering newspaper's daily list of that day's "Noteworthy Facts."
These are all minor signs of widespread mental calamity. In the wake of Stephanie Clifford's Sunday appearance on Anderson [Cooper]'s Playpen, we're met by a more definitive marker of idiocracy:
We're met by a stampede to assert total belief in claims which may be false.
What does a full-blown idiocracy look like? In part, it looks like the second of these CNN survey questions, on which "cable news" fed last night:
Q23. As you may have heard, two women are currently pursuing lawsuits seeking to nullify agreements they made which prevent them from talking about any relationships they may have had with Donald [J.] Trump. Both women received monetary compensation as part of the agreement. Do you think those women should be free to talk about any relationships with Donald Trump, or do you think the agreements should remain in place?"In general," 62 percent of respondents said they believe the women; a smaller number, 21 percent, said they believe Trump.
Q24. In reports before the agreements were put into place, both women have said that they had relationships with Donald [J.] Trump which were sexual and occurred during Trump’s marriage to Melania Trump. Donald Trump has denied any sexual relationship with these two women. In general, do you believe the women, or do you believe Trump?
Sixteen percent said they had no opinion, at least no opinion in general.
The survey was taken before Stephanie Cliffotrd alleged that she was physically threatened in a parking lot in 2011, an allegation she hadn't made in the past. Respondents weren't asked if they believed that new pleasing claim in particular.
According to various experts, in nations which aren't yet idiocracies, 100 percent of respondents would respond to that possible question 1) by saying they have no freaking idea if she was threatened, and 2) by asking why you'd ask them such a dumb question.
In an idiocracy, these same experts say, an elite stampede will occur. More specifically, journalistic elites will attempt to top each other in their avowals of total belief in everything that's ever been said by the new favored personage. According to these academics, such perfervid avowals of belief may soon look something like this.
(Page one headline: "Daniels' Interview Makes It Easy To Believe Everything She Said About Trump." Precisely, one expert said.)
Needless to say, the fact that international experts adopt this position doesn't necessarily mean that their expert assessment is accurate. Troublingly, though, this type of stampede has plainly taken place in the wake of Clifford's Playpen appearance.
(Anderson's Playpen is a licensed, "evening hours" successor to the earlier Pee-wee's Playhouse.)
Children from the very best schools have stampeded to assert their belief in the new preferred personage. In one comical but troubling highlight, new liberal hero Jennifer Rubin seemed happy to tell Lawrence this on last evening's Last Word TV program:
LAWRENCE (3/26/18): Let's get Jennifer in here for a second.Click here, move to 8:45. Trigger warning: appearance by Avenatti, complete with remarks about chess!
Jennifer, I want to get your reaction to what you saw on 60 Minutes last night, and are you in the 62 percent who believe Stormy Daniels perhaps? And where do you think we are in this story now?
RUBIN: Yeah, I'm definitely in the 62 percent!
RUBIN: Listen, I admire her as a woman who made her life in film, but I don't think she's that good an actress.
I think it's very hard to come across as she did, with the inflection, with the body language.
You know when someone is telling you something that's true, and I think that was evident to most everyone who was watching, with the exception of the real Kool-Aid drinkers of Donald Trump.
According to an array of experts, all the signs of idiocracy were present in last night's exchange.
We start with the participants' failure to draw distinctions between various claims by Clifford. In an idiocracy, elites believe everything a preferred party says. No attempt will be made to distinguish between different statements.
According to our international consortium, the chuckling sense that this is an entertainment is another troubling sign.
That said, the experts focused on Rubin's confident assertion that "you know when someone is telling you [the truth]." That assertion makes idiocracy hard to deny, leading scholars morosely said.
The experts mentioned other worrisome factors. The insistence that everyone else is a Kool-Aid drinker is said to be an obvious sign of idiocracy. Then too, the experts cited some troubling aspects of Rubin's very identity.
Here's what the experts said:
Not long ago, Rubin was regarded by liberals as one of the craziest Others. She was a stone-cold conservative crank, until Donald Trump came along.
Now, Rubin is one of the many conservative figures behind whom the liberal world marches, huddles and cowers. According to these leading authorities, these conservative figures provide the intellectual leadership the liberal world knows it can't produce from within.
"These are all clear signs of idiocracy," one full professor assured us. "Plato never used the term, but without any question, he should have."
We found this analysis sobering. That said, a stampede of avowed belief was taking place all over the pundit corps last night. And we're so old that we can remember other times when our elites staged such ardent stampedes.
Have their brains been destroyed by exposure to lead, as Kevin Drum has been saying in private? Or is the explanation for their behavior perhaps a bit simpler?
Could it be that the limited human brain just wasn't designed for an era like this? Tomorrow, we'll continue our exploration, looking at additional samples of the current idiocratic stampede.
Tomorrow: Inevitably, some facts which have been disappeared
Thursday: A previous pathetic stampede