From Thomas Sowell, Do Emotions Trump Facts?
However puzzling the fervent support for Donald Trump may be today, given how little basis there is for it, such blind faith is not unique in history. Other dire or desperate times have produced other charismatic leaders to whom desperate people have turned, with hopes of deliverance.
Trump is certainly different from establishment Republicans, but it that enough?
Things were appalling in 1917 Russia, when people turned to Lenin to try to get them out of a disastrous war abroad and a bitter economic situation at home.
The fact that Lenin was quite different from the czar who had led the country into catastrophe might have seemed promising to some people. He was also different from the ineffective Kerensky government that failed in its brief months in office. But the totalitarian government that Lenin established proved to be even worse than its predecessors.
The idea that someone quite different from those who led a nation into disaster can be expected to produce an improvement is a non sequitur that has seduced many people in many places and times.
Germany’s Weimar Republic was nobody’s idea of an ideal government but Hitler’s reign that followed was far worse in every way. Many Americans denounced the rule of the Shah of Iran, but he was never a worldwide sponsor of terrorism, like those who replaced him.
A pattern that would appear in many other places and times was one in which people’s hopes became focused on someone new, charismatic and with ringing rhetoric— but utterly untested for the job of governing a nation.
That is where we are today.