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Legitimate reasons for the rise of populism

Reader comment on item: Why I Am Not a Populist

Submitted by aidan maconachy (Canada), Dec 22, 2019 at 12:56

There is a danger of viewing populism through the lens of Clinton's "Deplorables." It isn't simply a homogeneous mass of the disaffected ... what others have characterized as "the great unwashed"... roaring against the elites. Populism today is more complex than this caricature suggests, if only because its arguments are being framed by people who aren't always in agreement. It also includes a range of ideological positions... some of them on opposing ends of the political spectrum. There isn't a lot of common ground between leftist Syriza in Greece and right-wing populists in the US and UK. Although Syriza's argument with the EU and the "oligarchisation" of power in Europe is a sound one and would meet with approval from Brexiteers.

The problem with an increasingly tone deaf elite, is that you cannot simply sacrifice your people on the pyre of war and an outsourcing agenda that has devastated Americans - "the disposables" they might better be called - and think that you can get away with it. The right to make money, even if it entails a descent into blinkered indifference with respect to the devastation impacting domestic communities is a road too far. Needless to say there has been widespread revulsion to the attrition that has quietly been grinding once vibrant American communities down to opioid dependent casualty zones. Without the advocacy of those who have stood up for abandoned America, Washington elites would be quiet happy to continue lining their pockets and turning a blind eye to the silent genocide that has been stalking America's wastelands.

On another level you have to query the "society" into which we are headed, driven by a progressive leftist minority piloting traditional media, new tech and "woke" corporations. The people - any people - don't respond well to complexity and complexity has become a virtual leitmotif in today's world as evidenced by the mind warping tableaux channeled daily by the media... stock market data, the incessant news barrage, advertising heavy with messaging, social media engineering etc. The great new world being projected is not just complex, but impersonal and for many unrealizable... even incomprehensible. So of course people pine for a simpler solution... something more in line with their inherited beliefs and values. Given the tech Babylon into which we seem to be headed at breakneck speed, this might not be an altogether unhealthy instinct.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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