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Spiked -- Deplorables: Trump, Brexit and the Demonised Masses
'Brexit and Trump were two ballot-box revolts that, though different in many ways, shared one clear thing in common: the fury they provoked from the establishment. Politicians and commentators, in the US and UK, immediately denounced voters as uneducated, racist and deplorable. Democracy itself was called into question. -- We travelled from the Rust Belt to the Essex coast, talking to writers, academics and voters, to find out who these so-called Deplorables really are, how we got here, and where these populist revolts might be headed next. This is not a film about Donald Trump or Boris Johnson; it is not about those members of the elite that benefit somewhat from the new populist movements. It is a film about voters – the people who had long been forgotten, but who now cannot be ignored. We hope you enjoy it.' -- Virtue is more to be feared than vice because its excesses are not subject to the regulation of conscience. ~ Adam Smith
elitism  goodthink  backlash  populism  documentaries 
23 hours ago by adamcrowe
Michel Houellebecq: Populism's Prophet - Quillette
Houellebecq reasons that the liberalisation of sexual relations, due both to changing societal attitudes and the invention of the birth control pill, have led to widespread sexual inequality; the attractive, more biologically fit elite have more sex than ever, while biological proletarians lead markedly less pleasurable lives, without even the consolation, as in previous eras, of a virtually guaranteed marriage supported by societal institutions. Rather than an isolated phenomenon, Houellebecq sees the sexual marketplace as a natural extension of the competition inherent in the capitalist market system, in which value is assigned to goods, services, and even people, to facilitate trade.

Houellebecq argues that the social structures which maintained Western hegemony by checking the societally harmful excesses of this competition, namely religion and the family unit, have been gradually lost to individualism and the market.
Houellebecq is sceptical that the social stabilising force of Christianity can be called upon anytime soon, and he accepts the decline of religion’s influence over society as a logical consequence of scientific progress.

For Houellebecq, nature is a term that can be used to sanction the most despicable behaviour.
This behaviour may be natural for select human beings, shaped by the right kind of society, but Houellebecq is certain this behaviour is not produced in nature.

humans to create a separate species of asexually reproducing proto-humans, thus freeing the species from the incessant sexual desire and competition that he believes will be the cause of societal collapse.

the old-fashioned institution of marriage did not alter the fact that some were born more physically attractive than others.
the intense pessimism of Houellebecq’s novels often leads one to wonder whether Houellebecq is merely a critic of modern society or, like his idol Schopenhauer, of life in general.

Houellebecq’s view of human nature implies that even if income inequality were reduced, human vanity would find other ways of using choice and taste to perpetuate differences. Natural competition, as a function of unchecked individualism, would continue to dominate, and we would still be left with an inequality of lived experience.

decisions we make in our personal lives, such as where we study, whom we marry and where we live, have an effect on public life and contribute to this inequality in lived experience.
Individually reflecting on the broader consequences of one’s actions, doing one’s best to be humble about the advantages one possesses, and having a genuine compassion for the suffering and insecurities of others may sound banal, but these points are also rarely discussed—possibly because they place a responsibility on all individuals, especially the most privileged among us.
from:rss  français  writer  populism  inequality  society  sex 
yesterday by aries1988
The West Has a Resentment Epidemic – Foreign Policy
Why Now?

Thinking in terms of the new regional class divide solves one of the perennial mysteries of the populist wave in Europe and the U.S.: Why is the disruption happening now, rather than a decade ago, at the height of the global financial crisis? The answer emerges very quickly when looking at how different regions have recovered—or not recovered—in the decade since.

While the crisis proved only a temporary setback for cosmopolitan cities such as London, Amsterdam, and New York—whose financial sectors were bailed out by government largesse—blighted ex-industrial regions continue to struggle under the burden of austerity. In the decade from 2008 to 2016, while GDP per capita rose over 13 percent for California and New York, it rose on average less than 3 percent across other U.S. states. While GDP per capita rose over 6 percent in Greater London, they rose by only half that in the rest of the U.K., and while per capita GDP recovered in Greater Paris by 3 percent, in the rest of France incomes did not grow at all. It is a pattern found across Europe, from the Netherlands to Sweden to Denmark, Italy, Ireland, and Greece. Wealthy, cosmopolitan cities surge ahead, and the periphery gets left further and further behind.

Breaking the Cycle

As long as regional inequality persists, the populist pressure is very unlikely to abate. As soon as one threat recedes—the possibility of a Le Pen presidency, for example—another one comes to replace it, such as the yellow vest protests. No sooner had the UK Independence Party (UKIP) collapsed following its success in the 2016 referendum, that a revived Brexit Party gained the most seats in the European elections. And while Trump has—at best—only a 50 percent chance of winning the next U.S. presidential election, the sheer resilience of his support across the U.S. heartland—with a solid 40 percent of American voters consistently approving his performance in office—suggests that a cycle of right-wing populism that previously sustained the Tea Party and Sarah Palin is unlikely to end for good when his first term does.

That means coming to terms with populism—and coming to terms with the causes of populism.

Alas, many progressives in the United States seem to have opted instead for denial, either blaming Russian intervention or concluding that populism is due simply to a “basket of deplorables,” to borrow Hillary Clinton’s infamous phraseology. With current democratic politics deemed unworkable, some commentators suggest tilting the system through court-packing, abolition of the electoral college, or encouraging “bureaucratic” politics (alternatively stated: unelected officials disobeying elected ones).

The real tragedy here is that such tinkering ignores even Clinton’s own speech, which went on to describe another “basket” of people who feel that “the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures” and called for progressives to do more to understand and empathize with their plight, rather than engage in demonization and point-scoring.

Bridging the Divide

Elsewhere, there are signs of a more mature approach as figures from the political establishment attempt to defuse and disarm the underlying mechanisms of populist rage.

In the United Kingdom, for example, the new Prime Minister Boris Johnson—an establishment figure in populist garb—has made infrastructure and regional policy a priority, voicing his support for high-speed rail to connect the country’s northern cities and expanding his predecessor’s pledge to support “left-behind towns” with a promised 1.6 billion pounds in funding, about $2 billion. A genuine rebalancing of growth across Great Britain would go a long way toward mollifying the anger that led to the Brexit vote of 2016 and detoxifying the resentments that have built up over a generation of unequal development between north and south.

We have also seen it in France, where the government of Emmanuel Macron—the erstwhile “president of the rich”—has implemented a sharp U-turn on its earlier austerity drive, reversing a controversial fuel tax that would have disproportionately affected voters in poorer rural districts, and it is now committed to, in his own words, “better public services outside major cities, both in terms of the number of civil servants and infrastructure.” Having embraced stimulus at home, Macron’s new mission is to secure European support for reform of the growth and stability pact, a longstanding demand of populists in Italy, Greece, and Spain.

To give credit where credit is due, in the United States, one or two moves by the Trump administration have helped to rebalance growth, including the placing of a cap on the federal tax deduction for state and local taxes, and a reduction of the mortgage interest tax deduction, both of which had benefited wealthy residents in coastal states over poorer residents in the U.S. heartland. Yet it is likely to fall to a future administration to overturn the legacy of years of declining public investment and neglect.

A proposal for a bold new round of public investment to reconnect forgotten Americans—whether packaged as infrastructure for growth or as a Green New Deal—presents the most optimistic prospect for bringing America’s cosmopolitan cities together with its struggling inland regions. While the Green New Deal is still dismissed by many as a progressive pipe dream—free money for “bullet trains to nowhere,” as California’s high-speed rail project has been dubbed—it could become a genuinely bipartisan project to rebuild roads, railway lines, and cities, and to reintegrate America’s forgotten economic hinterland with its prosperous, progressive coasts.

In short, to face the populist challenge, progressives need to build bridges, both real and metaphorical. Otherwise, as the electoral map shows, they will continue to find themselves living adrift on small islands of prosperity, while the tide of populist anger continues to rise.
populism  urban  rural  economy  austerity  resentment 
2 days ago by kye
David Cameron: Boris Johnson backed Leave to 'help career' - BBC News
Gove, the liberal-minded, carefully-considered Conservative intellectual, had become a foam-flecked Faragist warning that the entire Turkish population was about to come to Britain.
Brexit  Populism 
6 days ago by drph
陈纯:举报、粉红狂潮,与体制外的极权主义|逃犯条例|深度|端传媒 Initium Media

在后天安门时代,国家对于日益增长的超越性精神需求有一个妥协,它默许各种“整全性学说”在不危害主流价值(“爱国”、“发展”和“稳定”)的前提下默默存在——自由主义、基督教、儒家、女权主义……但2012年以后,这种默契就被打破了。当局惧怕这个国家的人民通过一种和它的组织和宣传无关的方式联结起来,所以对于一切整全性学说一概打压,包括原初意义上的马克思主义。也就是说,当局不让任何一种整全性学说获得真正意义上的传播,而它自己也不能提供一套有吸引力的整全性学说(如古代的儒家和毛时代的共产主义),这相当于将所有国民硬生生抛入一种“强制性的虚无主义”之中。而稳定的“强制的虚无主义”不是一种可以长久维持的状态,它要么走向一种健康的“合理多元主义”,要么走向一种“虚无主义狂热”。走向前者就要允许各种整全性学说和各种组织自由发展,很显然,这条路现在是根本不可能的。

让人感到恐惧的是,就我和朋友最近的遭遇来看,“废青”的外延已经在扩大,包括了所有同情香港示威者的大陆人,进一步地,所有曾经对中国共产党提出过批评的大陆公民,也要成为打击对象。
2019  opinion  hongkong  ccp  populism  extremist  patriotism  fandom  story  police  youth  peer  violence  explained 
7 days ago by aries1988
Boris Johnson: The Brezhnev Years | British Politics and Policy at LSE
by Abby Innes. Keynesian postwar models all accepted the realities of radical uncertainty and the incompleteness of human rationality. The affinities between the economic libertarianism of the last forty years and Leninism are rooted in their common dependence on a closed-system, machine model of the political economy. Both depend on a hyper-rational conception of human motivation: a perfect utilitarian rationality versus a perfect social rationality. The policy failures that ensue are written into this DNA.
politics  political-economy  uk-politics  ussr  toryism  neoliberalism  blog-posts  brexit  populism 
9 days ago by haikara
Old white researcher says we are too stupid to run a democracy
Citing reams of psychological research, findings that by now have become more or less familiar, Rosenberg makes his case that human beings don’t think straight. Biases of various kinds skew our brains at the most fundamental level. For example, racism is easily triggered unconsciously in whites by a picture of a black man wearing a hoodie. We discount evidence when it doesn’t square up with our goals while we embrace information that confirms our biases. Sometimes hearing we’re wrong makes us double down. And so on and so forth.

Our brains, says Rosenberg, are proving fatal to modern democracy. Humans just aren’t built for it.
democracy  populism  internet  altright  fascism  cognition 
10 days ago by craniac
The Shocking Paper Predicting the End of Democracy - POLITICO Magazine
"Democracy is hard work. And as society’s “elites”—experts and public figures who help those around them navigate the heavy responsibilities that come with self-rule—have increasingly been sidelined, citizens have proved ill equipped cognitively and emotionally to run a well-functioning democracy."
politics  psychology  democracy  populism 
13 days ago by niksilver

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