Perhaps the worst aspect of the past year, globally, has been the way in which our brain chemistry has been altered by a common threat.
Behavioral psychologists have long known that wars and natural disasters make people more wary, intolerant, collectivist, and demanding of the smack of firm government. Voters become likelier to back interventionist policies, less interested in process than in outcome, more sympathetic to the idea of a strong leader.
Marxist regimes are often the product of mobilization and its associated psychology. World War I made possible Russia’s 1917 revolution, and World War II paved the way for communist takeovers in Eastern Europe. It is often claimed that no Marxist has ever taken office through a democratic election. This claim depends on how we define a Marxist.
But one thing is indisputable: Authoritarian, revolutionary, and anti-capitalist parties do best after wars and secessionist campaigns. …
A year of being told what to do by the authorities has made us much readier to look to the state for a lead. We are in for another bout of big government, with all its associated costs, inefficiencies, and petty constraints.
Peru is about to elect, by a clear majority, a real, genuine Marxist as President — which would be a first. Hannan’s point is that this can only happen after a pandemic or war.