American Politics as a Confidence Game

Reading post-2012 election news reports can be hazardous to one's mental health, particularly for the sanity-challenged among us.  But perhaps the singularly most prescient comments come from long ago -- from the pen of America's most profound novelist, Herman Melville.  Melville's words in his powerful novel of deception and intrigue, The Confidence Man: His Masquerade, echo across the decades: "Any philosophy that, being in operation contradictory to the ways of the world, tends to produce a character at odds with it, such a philosophy must necessarily be but a cheat and a dream." Welcome to the 21st century, Herman, because little did you know that your observations of the 1850s actually define a new stage in the growth of American democracy.  Call it the "Era of the Confidence Game."  In terms of historical development, this stage fits between representative democracy and fascism, and it has more in common with the latter than the former. Why is this the...(Read Full Article)