Ridicule especially antagonizes the demagogue. It deflates the pretentious and the powerful. It reduces to human size those puffed up by their self-importance. It exposes them for who they are. It affirms the self-respect and dignity of the oppressed. Demagogues, lacking the capacity for self-transcendence, cannot see the ludicrousness and absurdity of their pretensions. They cannot distinguish between their inner fantasies and reality. They can belittle and ridicule others, as Trump does, with great cruelty, but they see nothing humorous about similar treatment directed at the self-created edifice of their own glory.
Johnson vs. Trump
Until last fall, Boris Johnson, just like Trump, was also accused of helping destroy his country’s position and status in the world. He was chided for prioritising his narrow political ambition over sacred national interest and the welfare of his constituents . . . The coronavirus pandemic started a race to the bottom among the world’s populist leaders. A little over six months into that race, the partial results are out. And Britain’s Johnson has fared better than most of his fellow populists. After initial blunders, Johnson got his act together, and unlike Trump in the US, he has actually managed to bring the pandemic under control in the UK.