(…as a highly infectious form of political botulism)

Whenever there’s a massive surge of collective discontent with the status quo in any society, that discontent is often expressed in several ways. Unfortunately those ways rarely produce the hoped for changes those expressions of discontent are looking for.

With those societies which have been held by the hard grip of authoritarian or dictatorial rule of one kind or another for too long, that discontent is usually expressed with explosive violence, just as we saw in what was labeled – The Arab Spring – culminating with the disaster that we see in Syria today.

In the relatively free societies of the Western World, however, such surges of massive discontent are more usually expressed by a rising tide of populism instead, which can best be described as a highly infectious form of political…botulism….perhaps less explosively violent, but just as disruptive, if not deadly, to any form of what we call…democracy.

It is thus insidious because it creates the false impression that it is pure democracy at work, when in fact, it’s only extreme emotional and knee-jerk reactions to whatever problems plague the society involved; which the demagogues understand so well and use to egg it on so as to ride that wave of discontent right into power. Thus wherever such demagogues appear they should be viewed as the proverbial – false prophets – of a better tomorrow.

The irony of it all is that both these ways of expressing massive discontent end up with authoritarian if not dictatorial rule using Orwellian style “double speak” to justify its hold on governance and power.

What we’re seeing here in America, and in Europe as well, is a perfect example of that process. One which we may yet end up calling –The Western Winter – a counterpart to what we once called – The Arab Spring -.