Wednesday, November 08, 2006

By the Imitators, For the Imitators

Rule by the people is a phantom, because most human beings imitate. Doing what everybody else is doing is the safest and least exhausting way to perceive yourself well and, in the evolutionary model, to get your genetic material reproduced. In modern history rule by the people has come to mean rule by the representations of the people. These representations, which include not so much elected officials as centralized education and the popular media, do not mimic our behavior; they direct it. Almost all people, although unwilling to admit it, depend utterly upon others to tell them what to think and how to act. The citizens of this society of ours, including the elected officials themselves, could not possibly put themselves into motion without the stimulus of their scholars, their journalists, and their entertainers.

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