For the most part I agree with John Oliver but one of his glaring flaws is the failure to appreciate the etiologies of the decline in liberal democracy. This is epitomized in his opposition to the monarchy. It elicits the question of what type of liberal democracy does he want. While his solutions to the individual problems of society are mostly great, his philosophical and societal framework for them seems to be Rawlsian. We know the reasons behind the rise in nationalism, pseudoscience, conspiracy theories, and more are due to the lack of a civic religion and lack of meaning, commmunity, ritual, and the rest. The monarchy, for all its problems, is a much safer outlet for these psychological needs than those.
As far as having a civic religion to abate people seeking that need being satisfied elsewhere, the monarchy does an excellent job. In one sense, a stronger monarchy would have meant a weaker Brexit. It may be silly on the surface and not make sense to someone without a background in psychology and political science but the smells, bells, and costumes in a fake context are the check against them happening in a real context. He wants a liberal democracy with no cultural center defined by a thin good of negative liberties, positive liberties, and each culture being a subculture in a landscape of decentralized pluralism.
Not much else that John Oliver wants will ultimately find much success in a society where lonely, alienated, people devoid of community and meaning find their meaning in Nazis and authoritarianism. He is, by his Republicanism, actively sabotaging the very reforms he seeks to manifest. The arc of his show believes that people have a right to their bottom tier of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs but not anything higher and I agree with what he says about people’s right to the bottom tier but am alarmed at his never mentioning of the need for community, ritual, and meaning. He doesn’t get into the impersonality of the Weberian bureaucracy of globalism and how to make it more personal to avert populism.
Like I wrote in my blog, “Religion and the School of Resentment”. The secular folks, mostly, want to abolish religion not merely as a supernatural belief system but also as a cultural practice. They don’t like Christians converting natives and people in other cultures but feel no loss if a Hindu in New Dehli becomes an atheist and when they become an atheist, they become secular and Westernized. John Oliver is a Western secular liberal who doesn’t give a shit whether Hinduism or Buddhism or anything continues to exist. In that blog, I write that I believe the missionary work of my religion should preserve and incorperate the rituals and customs of the natives we convert because even if they believe in my god, I don’t want to see their culture destroyed. The fact that Mumbai is filled with atheists in business suits with Apple Watches is in part responsible for their increasingly fascist prime minister and John Oliver is trying to do that to his own culture.