The younger Kamas were feeling a rush of power after the last episode, when they engineered a vote that sent Eric to Extinction Island. Ron suddenly felt very shaky, because he and Eric had thought the younger Kamas were under their control. Ron had even been calling himself “the puppet master”. Maybe being a high school teacher made Ron overconfident about reading younger people. It always surprises me when teachers come on Survivor. In the last episode, Ron kept talking excitedly about using the upcoming “family visit” as emotional blackmail to keep the younger Kamas in line. Is this what he does with his students? “If you don’t turn in your homework, I’ll never let you see your mom again…”
Feeling they were now the ones in charge (the “pilots”, as players have been saying this season), Julia and Gavin were jostling over who their alliance should vote for next. Julia wanted to vote for Wentworth, but Gavin wanted to vote for David. The rest of the alliance seemed to agree with Julia, so Gavin was overruled.
In an interview, Gavin then complained that he thought his alliance was a “democracy” but it turned out to be a “dictatorship”. This indicates that Gavin significantly misunderstands the word “dictatorship”. If you’re in a group where everyone else wants to do something different from you, and you then have to go along with them, that is the opposite of a dictatorship. That’s democracy. If Gavin had forced everyone in the alliance to vote for David even though they wanted to vote for Wentworth, that would have been a dictatorship.
Gavin isn’t alone, though. This is a common problem in democracies. When people lose a vote and have to go along with the majority, they sometimes use words like “tyranny” or “authoritarian”. I think this is because their displeasure at being overruled makes them feel oppressed, so to describe their emotions, their minds grab at words that have connotations of oppression. Their emotions are similar whether due to a fair vote or due to a genuine dictatorship, so they have trouble distinguishing the two. We see the same behavior in children who say their parents are “not fair” when their parents have actually been quite fair, because the children can’t emotionally recognize that fairness sometimes has a result they don’t like.
This is understandable psychologically, but it can have unfortunate consequences in the broader community. If people are emotionally unable to distinguish democracy from dictatorship, they might be more likely to abandon democracy in favor of dictators who agree with them. Historically, this has often ended badly, to say the least.
I generally don’t agree much with the philosopher Georg Hegel, but I think his concept of the dialectic has some relevance. A movement of thought becomes dominant for a period of time, then a counter-movement becomes dominant, and finally a compromise between the two becomes the norm. Then the norm inspires a new counter-movement and the process starts all over. However, when one side abandons this process and completely destroys the opposition, then no counter-movement can develop and the darkness in an authoritarian government can grow unfettered (and often does).
Finally, I know I didn’t write anything about the wild tribal council. There were 13 minutes left when tribal began, so I assumed there was going to be a long Extinction Island scene afterward. I figured maybe the editors just didn’t have much interesting footage from the main game. Then tribal became an unfiltered madhouse. I wanted even more than 13 minutes. As usual, Dalton Ross and the people on his comment board have analyzed the tribal council far better than I ever could. Ross also writes interestingly about the artistry of how the silent dinner was edited.