This is an updated version after Donald Trump’s departure of a post on the Swedish edition of the Bordertraveller blog from 2018.
Listen to the story:
Demagogues mean agitators or people seducers; their business model is aimed at personal gains in terms of power and wealth by building physical and psychological walls for ordinary people. Walls that divide and act as graffiti walls for all sorts of prejudices. At the same time, these demagogues are spreading a sense of safety in some people, a “security” whose consequences echo from history and turn out to be completely false. For demagogue have another synonym and that is jester.
This phenomenon is increasingly prevalent in our transition period with jesters and demagogues such as Trump, Farage, Åkesson, Le Pen, Salvini, and many others. Today, two maybe three of these have disappeared from the political scene, but the damage they have all caused and causes take a long time to heal. This is also something that the author Karl Kullberg describes in detail in both his book about his European journey and his reflection of a year of famine in Småland, which is published by B-InteraQtive Publishing. This is how Karl Kullberg describes a business model that was used in his time to enrich both power position and economy with the help of religion:
“He was a leader in the parish and the farmer’s son from one of the villages here in the neighborhood. His youth is said to have been rather stormy, and one tells about him rather ambiguous stories from his student years. He has, according to what is claimed to have been using a religious sect’s scriptures as the mean of livelihood. It is true that from time to time some ray falls out of his saint’s halo when threatened with a lawsuit for reluctance that he does not financially make up for his misdemeanors against the sixth commandment. When the sect’s children complain of strange representations on the part of the teacher, but according to the sect’s statutes is for the pure everything pure, and thus everybody overlooks his filth, forgives them, and continues to admire his fanfare in the convention and on the pulpit.”
Is the description recognized from the demagogues mentioned above? How those with rhetorical talent build walls against what is relevant to instead direct all eyes on themselves and the demagogue’s own doomsday sermon.
The historian and entrepreneur, Tobias Stone, describes this in an essay about a threatening worldview with a focus on that it has strong historical cyclical connections. Read the full essay here.
“My point is that this is a cycle. It happens again and again, but as most people only have a 50– 100-year historical perspective they don’t see that it’s happening again. As the events that led to the First World War unfolded, there were a few brilliant minds who started to warn that something big was wrong, that the web of treaties across Europe could lead to a war, but they were dismissed as hysterical, mad, or fools, as is always the way, and as people who are worried about Putin, Brexit, and Trump are now.”
Those Tobias Stone at the end of the quote describes as “the hysterical, mads or fools” they are the opponents of demagogues, they are bordertravellers. If you like to learn more about them, please read the short story collection with the title Bordertraveller stories. It is currently available as an ebook (English and Swedish) and in printed version (in Swedish) and will shortly be available as an interactive ebook, audiobook, and in printed hardcover format in both languages.
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