The Stalingrad Effect

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cabals dressed up as governments do not require majorities to continue their misrule, merely pluralities. So long as its popularity stays above approximately 35 percent of the population as committed supporters (the remaining 65 percent being split between impotent opponents and brain-dead indifferents), a determined and ruthless ruling clique can hold on to power indefinitely. But why does the faithful 35 percent not melt away like a snow cone in a blast furnace in the face of evident disaster and incompetence? The answer lies in the murky depths of primate psychology. What we are describing is similar, but not identical to, the Stockholm Syndrome (the tendency of some hostages to identify with their captors), and the Battered Wife Syndrome ('never mind he broke my nose: he really loves me.')

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