Ian Buruma geht in seinem jüngsten Aufsatz in der The New York Review of Books 8/2005 der Frage nach, warum Diktatoren immer wieder Millionen von Anhängern finden. Seine Antwort ist eine anthropologische:
What has not changed is human nature, the human desires that have allowed dictators to emerge in the past. The wish to worship, to be sheltered by a great father, to bask in the reflected glory of war, to be mesmerized by the spectacle of power, or swept up in collective emotion, these are still with us. And then there is the dictator’s most potent weapon, our fears: of unseen enemies, threatening us abroad and at home; of individual meaninglessness and impotence; and indeed of freedom itself.
In a well-functioning democracy these emotions are defused. The desire for grandeur is hard to satisfy in a liberal democracy, to be sure. Only the republics of France and the United States, both born in revolution, have the grandiose pretensions of representing universal liberty, which is perhaps why these two countries are so often at odds. As for other desires, humans are still worshiped in rock venues and sports stadiums, where aggressive collective emotions can be more or less contained. In Europe, where overt nationalism has become a taboo since the great wars of the last century, soccer games are now almost the only focus of chauvinist mass hysteria.