What Putin Has Showed Us

Being an autocrat makes you ignorant and being ignorant can make you stupid. Whether intelligent or otherwise, you cannot make effective decisions without accurate and reasonably unbiased information. But who is willing to tell a strongman, who might literally shoot the messenger, what he doesn’t wish to hear? This is the age-old problem of kings and dictators. In whom should you trust and to whom should you listen?

There is mounting evidence that Putin has that problem in spades. It becoming more and more clear that Putin’s Ministry of Defense has been hesitant to give him the real truth about their failures/successes in Ukraine (U.S. intelligence suggests that Putin’s advisers misinformed him on Ukraine).

Democracy is messy, but is ultimately superior to oligarchies and autocracies. Governing well is a complex and cooperative exercise. The Right’s infatuation with strongmen, and its refusal to work with the opposition despite the cost to America — is just another manifestation of its preference for fantasy over reality — very much like a kid at a pickup baseball game, who goes home with the only ball because he doesn’t get to be the pitcher.

I think that it might have been Winston Churchill who said that “Democracy is the worst form of government — except for all the others that have been tried.” We really need to try to make it work better, not abandon it to violence and insurrection.

Thank you.

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