Donald Trump’s shock tactics are not a new phenomenon
Democracies provide the chance to step back and consider the direction being taken
How often do I find myself utterly unsurprised by a news headline that should be shocking? Whether it’s Donald Trump declaring the media to be “the true Enemy of the People” after bombs had been sent to CNN offices, or the UK government planning to charter a flotilla to keep the nation supplied with broccoli and penicillin in a no-deal Brexit scenario, I merely shrug. Of course it’s appalling, I think, but it’s the logical continuation of what has been said and done already. So let’s talk about the psychologist Stanley Milgram. He is most notorious for his electric shock experiments in the 1960s. He recruited unsuspecting members of the public to participate in a “study of memory”. On showing up at the laboratory, they drew lots with another participant to see who would be “teacher” and who “learner”. Once the learner was strapped into an electric chair, the teacher retreated into another room to take control of a shock machine. As the learner failed to answer questions correctly, t...