03 December 2008

A force of the mind?

Based on comments I've seen around the net during the election campaign, unaffected people whose friends have become Obama cultists often report that the converts seem to change in strange, disturbing ways. The new acolyte not only brims with unshakable faith and adulation for the Messiah -- strikingly different from the normal attitude of most Americans toward a politician -- but also sometimes becomes different in ways that seem unrelated (for example, tending to use profanity more than before), and vents disdain and vituperation for the unconverted to a degree that seems wholly out of character. It's no wonder that the bewildered friends of the possessed so frequently invoke the analogy of the film Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

To me, however, another analogy from the world of fiction keeps coming to mind.

A man with hardly any political experience -- hardly any record at all, in fact -- comes out of nowhere and somehow manages to win supporters and accumulate power with astonishing speed. He easily surmounts every successive obstacle to his rise. Every time the conventional wisdom says he should lose a political battle, he wins. The key to his power is the unshakable, fanatical, cultlike support he is able to inspire in an ever-growing number of people, support based on -- well, actually, based on nothing than anybody can really pin down. They simply embrace his cause with fervent faith, for no actual reason that the unconverted can discern. In a stunningly short time, the Messianic figure from nowhere rises to the position of leader of the most powerful state in existence.

Of course, this could only be the career of a fictional character: "The Mule" in Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy.

Yes, I know, I'm really being paranoid now. But the analogy is so obvious that I can't get it out of my head.

2 Comments:

Blogger Prash said...

A man with hardly any political experience -- hardly any record at all, in fact -- comes out of nowhere and somehow manages to win supporters and accumulate power with astonishing speed.

The reason I admire your country, because it is possible for you guys. In a country like India, you need to be a Gandhi or a son of a politician or an actor (if it is South India).

04 December, 2008 00:35  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

That's really a different issue. There's no logical reason to demand that a national leader should come from a political or famous family, but there's every reason to insist that he should have plenty of experience in government and preferably in private-sector business and/or the military as well. We've had quite a few Presidents who came from "ordinary" family backgrounds. We've never had a President who had so little relevant experience as Obama.

04 December, 2008 04:02  

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