libertyblitzkrieg | I think a useful exercise for readers during this Davos circus laden week is to note whenever the word “populism” is used within mainstream media articles. From my experience, it’s almost always portrayed in an overwhelmingly negative manner. Here’s just one example from the first of the two Reuters articles mentioned above.
The global financial crisis of 2008/9 and the migrant crisis of 2015/16 exposed the impotence of politicians, deepening public disillusion and pushing people towards populists who offered simple explanations and solutions.
The key phrase in the above is, “populists who offered simple explanations and solutions.” This betrays an incredible sense of arrogance and contempt for regular citizens. Note that it didn’t offer a critique of a specific populist leader and his or her polices, but rather presented a sweeping dismissal of all popular movements as “simplistic.” In other words, despite the fact that the people mingling at Davos are the exact same people who set the world on fire, they somehow remain the only ones capable enough to fix the world. How utterly ridiculous.
The good news is that most people now plainly see the absurdity of such a worldview, and understand that the people at Davos represent a roadblock to progress, as opposed to any sort of solution. While I don’t endorse any particular populist movement at moment, I fully recognize the need for increased populism as a facet of American political life, particularly at this moment in time.
Populism can be dangerous, and it’s certainly messy, but it’s a crucial pressure release valve for any functioning free society. If you don’t allow populist movements to do their thing in the short-term, you’ll get far worse outcomes in the long-term.
In the timeless words of JFK:
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.