After living in a third world country for 3 years, I can tell you that a democratic government only thrives when the populace is well educated. Without an educated populace, the elite are able to easily manipulate the masses.
In eras past, it was easy to distinguish the most educated segment of the populace from the least educated. And thus, in general, it was the most intellectual members of our society that would drive policy changes.
Now, with social media discourse, the uneducated segment of America’s populace is confusingly interwoven with the educated segment. Intellectuals and imbeciles are now in the same room, vying for the attention of the crowd.
This creates a dangerous situation. One where intellectuals are punished and imbeciles rewarded.
When an intellectual speaks up, they are shouted down by the boisterous crowd (who have less to lose). When an imbecile speaks up, a cheering section is formed behind them by the same boisterous crowd (who has more to gain).
This pushes intellectuals out of mainstream discourse, and invites dramatic opportunists to take their place.
The solution: educate more of the populace. It’s the only way for a democratic government to coexist with social media.