The majority of citizens do not care about the state’s affairs. Voter turnout is greater in undeveloped countries than in civilized states, which shows two things. In primitive societies, the electoral process is a show on a par with a good carnival, both for the absence of other entertainment and because in corrupt societies elections tend to be spectacles. More importantly, in primitive societies leaders have some control over policy.

In developed countries, the role of a leader’s personality is very small. Established states are ruled by laws and bureaucracy. No elected politician whose term of office is short can hope to change the vast body of laws and reorient the entrenched bureaucracy. Voters sense that policies do not depend on electoral platforms and party differences. Thus the near-random choice of a president from between two candidates in the United States.

Voter alienation is only bad from the perspective of idealistic pundits who believe that nation states can practice participatory democracy where almost all citizens are involved in the political process. No, people care only for local affairs. Generally, they have no interest in the affairs of an abstract monster called, the state. Their disengagement from politics signals that they are comfortable with the current situation by a large margin and do not expect the insignificant changes to be made by prospective leaders to make their situations intolerable.

A good quasi-democratic state would allow an elected leader an unlimited term in the office while periodically polling the voters to see if they want to hold elections. Far from theoretical, such a system operates in Egypt, vastly contributing to its stability.

But worse, voters are apathetic even about pressing matters. Several factors contribute to that phenomenon. Elections in large nation states require a great deal of money, and donors do not flock to controversial politicians who would likely jeopardize their business by changing the status quo—which is comfortable enough for the donors, since they are able to earn money in it. Also, individuals in a crowd always hope for someone else to solve their problems, or even to vote to solve them. State paternalism and ultra-long education have built a culture of infantilism among voters. But when the issues are irritatingly pressing, straightforward, and easy to understand, voters jump into action immediately. Thus, for example, the Swiss constitutional ban of minarets came into being.

With the Islamic presence in Europe—which just got rid of its Jews—becoming a real annoyance, support for right-wing parties rarely breaks about 15%. Historically, that seems to be a norm. The Nazis had a hard time reaching 18%, but once that resistance level was broken, they quickly became a dominant force. The phenomenon had to do with passion. Those who oppose radicals are usually nice, inactive people, and in terms of action one radical is equal to two or three of his opponents. Consider that the Swiss minaret referendum produced only a 53% voter turnout. Tolerant people did not bother to vote, and the radicals were disproportionately represented at the polling booths. If history is any guide, Austria and France are on the verge of radical nationalist explosions.

States are strong today, unlike Weimar Germany. Radicals will be challenged in courts with libel suits, and their legislation will be blocked on vague constitutional grounds. They either need to recruit their country’s high court judges or attain somewhat larger constituencies than 15–18%, perhaps about 25–30%. Radicals benefit from the growing infantilism of their opponents and the political establishment’s tendency to discredit itself through impudent toleration and mad foreign policies. In that sense, consider the European reaction to Israel’s assassination of Mabhouh: instead of praising the liquidation of a dangerous terrorist, they condemned Israel’s minor blunder in using forged EU passports. Armies, no longer conscripted, increasingly are becoming the refuge of the lower classes, and are thus detached from the political establishment and ideologically close to the radicals.

For the last three centuries, European warfare has not been conducted for booty or good pay for soldiers, but for nationalist reasons. Silly as those reasons were in the first place, tolerance, political correctness, and globalization make them entirely irrelevant. Armies will become increasingly less capable of meaningful actions against national enemies, but also against domestic radicals. Security services, fed up with cleaning up the ethnic gangs and terrorists whose activities are made possible by misguided politicians, might well side with the radicals, at least to the extent of harboring them.

Popular will always triumphs over political aberrations, but it rarely maintains the form of an orderly democratic process.