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Niklas Ekdal: the Questions that need to be faced with an ominous 2019

the Year 2019 started strongly. Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated his friend Jair Bolsonaro, the newly appointed president of Brazil. Vladimir Putin sent a warm greeting to Donald Trump.

Authoritarian leaders have a tailwind. Even if a third of the population of the earth goes to the polls the coming year, including jätteländer such as India, Indonesia and Nigeria – it is clear that democracy is on the retreat.

the New technology seems to favor chaos and control. The crucial question is whether majorities voluntarily voting for reduced freedom.

the world's sharpest minds to analyze why maniacs like Hitler come to power, and how similar disasters could be prevented in the future. Diplomats sought solutions in an international legal system, politicians in democratic welfare states. Psychologists rooted in people's heads.

One of the results was the brick, ”The authoritarian personality” that came in 1950, the symbolic mid-point of the bloodiest century. How to identify a fascist? The researchers established the scientific scales, and sought explanations in the individual's childhood. Authoritarian personalities were characterised by contempt for weakness and sexual deviation, attraction to conspiracy theories and the strong men. If there was something in common in their background was the dominant fathers.

Oh well. The analysis said as much about the academics as förläst on Freud and Marx, for example, the philosopher Theodor w. Adorno – on the problem itself. The potential for fascism in this sense, there is enough for everyone, much like the potential for mental ill-health.

anyone can get caught up in a backward ältande = depression, or a forward ältande = anxiety. It varies from man to man is our breaking point, the stress level where the mechanisms for survival turns into disease. Maybe you can see the draw to the obviously unsuitable leaders in the same way. The safest way to thwart them is to eliminate their material conditions. Trump-joke on Twitter will not help.

After the second world war was the political reaction of fascist madness, far more important than the intellectual. ”No Experime”, promised the German chancellor, Konrad Adenauer. ”You've never had it so good”, stated the british prime minister, Harold Macmillan.

This was the right-wingers, conservatives, in so far as the safeguarding of the democracy, the welfare state and internationalism forced from the left. Forward-thinking government leaders – Franklin Roosevelt in the united states, Per Albin Hansson in Sweden – had already in the 1930s took to the road to political stability goes through the distribution and inclusion.

2019 is this the west's strategic dilemma. It is possible to ignite the hope for a new, smarter redistribution policies – A New New Deal, or will minusräntor and robotics inevitably increase the already exploding inequalities, with worse polarization and paralysis as a result?

right-wing populists do not need immigration in order to thrive, look at Viktor Orbán who are intimidated by muslim refugees, even though Hungary does not receive any. Vänsterpopulister need neither the financial crisis or climate change to reject capitalism – not the system delivers the security and confidence to ordinary, working people.

”the Hostility against the elites is a result of their own economic greed and incompetence.”

The one who writes this is neither a fascist or a communist, but seniorkolumnisten Martin Wolf in the Financial Times.

there is a problem, it is not certain that there is a solution. Perhaps the struggle of humanity with the forces – technical and psychological – that we never learn how to handle. Ultimately it will be the same with democracy as with the climate issue, where the forces are purely geological:

A half-hearted attempt is better than no attempt at all. A mediocre treatment is better than to deny the disease. And it is never too late to ask themselves the existential question: What kind of world we want to leave for Keith Richards?

Read more columns by Niklas Ekdal here

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