Populism: The Downside


The last two years we have seen a successful appeal to populism; the UK, US, France and half a dozen other EU countries have all seen massive public opinion shifts in that direction. While currently in vogue with the American right, few people are discussing what populism means under the current conditions, why it should be adopted and if it is a good thing. Rather than use some type of 5Y or DMIAC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) methodology to actually question the efficacy of this rebirth of populism, it seems to have been taken as gospel. The statists have been populists on the surface since Rousseau began the Reign of Terror, Hegel penned his poisonous screed, and Marx plagiarized it. The bourgeoisie-proletariat bifurcation of the population is a defining concept for all statist thought. I defy someone to explain populism to me without embracing the communist duality of society. The rise in populism is a clear indication that the inmates are running the asylum and a further illustration that the politics of the United States are converging rather than diverging. Priebus and others are happy so sign on to whatever nets them seats and offices in Mordor on the Potomac, regardless of whether the very philosophy they are embracing has been the prime mover in nearly every Communist revolution since the politics of evil finally had a name.

the-new-populism-1482659671-9641One of the myths we tell ourselves about populism and voting in general is that wisdom can be had en masse, as if a collection of millions of fools are superior to a single fool. I can see those beginning to protest already, yet this strange math of voting never translates itself into other areas. Someone should create a poll and go grocery shopping for a month on the collective wisdom of the crowd. Surely 10,000 or 100,000 people can arrive at better choices than lowly you. Perhaps hospitals should have a sort of polling system. Put the symptoms online and everyone casts their vote for what ails the patient. Who needs doctors when you have a crowd? No, none of us entertain the myth in our own lives, but most of America believes something only slightly less fictitious than the tooth fairy when we embrace populism and the single most poisonous word in the English language, democracy. In our lives we go to subject matter experts for guidance. If we want help grocery shopping, we consult a dietician. If we have medical issues then we seek care from a doctor. None of us accept the farce that the latter should be consulted and their opinion weighed equally with a licensed mechanic when we have car trouble. The wise seek counsel, the Bible clearly states as much, but the counsel must be qualified. The Latin root qual- means ‘of what kind’ or more apropos, the nature of it. I may have an opinion on Smith-Corona typewriters, but unless the opinion is qualified by ownership or expertise of some kind, then what real use is it? Populism declares that consensus may be conflated as expertise and places no value on whether the opinions are qualified are not.

The only right one may claim to an opinion in a matter is to be a stakeholder in the venture. We are all familiar with the concept that money buys you a say. At work there is exactly two people who have a say in what I do. The first is the customer and the second is the president of the company, both get an opinion because they are paying to have one. Once upon a time there was an understanding that taxation without representation was untenable to free men. The inverse is also true. Representation without taxation is theft of influence, dilution of your opinion by others who’s opinion is not qualified. The crux of why we do not approach life in the same manner as we do voting is because we understand the fallacy of populism. We reject the idea that our neighbor should get an equal vote in what repairs our truck gets if he is not paying to repair it. I don’t care what my neighbors opinion is of my truck, my house or my camouflage recliner, because he is not funding any of those ventures. He certainly doesn’t get to tell me what to do with them.

tiunin_populismThe current resurgence of populism is insidious because of this madness we engage in every two years. Before the last vice presidential debate nearly half of the people polled couldn’t name Tim Kane as a VP candidate and 40% couldn’t name Mike Pence as one either. People who cannot be bothered to even be familiar with the name of the people they are casting a vote for are still fully vested partners in this process. People who are mentally handicapped are fully vested partners. People who don’t actually fund any part of the government are vested partners. It’s madness, and anyone who sits down and actually thinks about it in a non-emotional manner realizes it.

Populism in the United States not only provides legitimacy for those who are in no position to have a qualified opinion on matters, but also has a moral component to it. A popular idea does not equate to a moral idea. Nor are popular ideas often truly correct. Take whatever industry you work in and begin thinking about the common misconceptions about what you do. One can look at the laughable beliefs people have about firearms as ample evidence of how ignorant huge swaths of the population are on any given topic. Democracy, populism, Communism, and socialism all require at least a simple majority of the population to be willing to forsake their own self-interests and be capable of arriving at a collectively wise decision. The French were clearly unable to do so with Robespierre. It took Napoleon to pull them from the ashes and restore real order after that debacle. The Russians were certainly unable to see an astroturfed movement for what it was and collectively arrived at a real winner, Joseph Stalin, along with a little help from friends in NYC like Schiff and others funding him. The respect populism has for unpopular minorities has left me extremely suspect after reading about Haiti in 1804 and Zimbabwe ever since it became Zimbabwe. The populist dichotomy casts everyone who disagrees with the supposed ‘will of the people’ as an ‘enemy of the people.’ It’s a short step from ‘enemy of the people’ to ‘not a person.’

My biggest concern with populism becoming the dominant method of politics is what will be sacrificed in the name of it. The government cannot and should not be able to provide even half of what people currently expect it to and this shift from individual rights to groupthink is disturbing. We would be kidding ourselves if the statists will not align their rhetoric and political strategy to mimic the Trump campaign. Populism can bring into perspective issues that have been largely unaddressed, which is a positive. The flip side is absent a populace that is capable of self control, it opens a political pandora’s box that historically has led to very poor outcomes. I feel no need to consult the population, only a fraction of which have any semblance of a qualified opinion on any given matter, to operate in daily life. We are the subject matter experts in our own life and the shift to populism is a shift away from the individual and towards the collective. Populism is the morality of consensus. I shudder to think what that looks like at its logical end.

 

Jesse James

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17 thoughts on “Populism: The Downside

  1. Well thats the question right there JJ.
    The majority are never insane. To the majority.
    Regardless, as you say, populous movements are dangerous when they become the mob, and the mob is Fickle. As the Caesars knew well. So do the cultural marxists. Much to their delight, and demise.
    The question should be, I contend: is there any voting our way out of this? And the answer is something along the lines of, voting in a republic of republican form of government for a moral society was never intended for voting the way out of anything. It was designed, (or it’s intent), as a method to vote in such a manor, as to never having to vote the way out of anything to begin with. If so, then there is no voting our way out of this: “TINVOWOOT”.
    If TINVOWOOT, and there is populist movement based on getting out of being in front of TINVOWOOT, is it a counter productive form of populist movement, verses populist movement formed from a mob of Lenin’s useful dupes? After all the two are apples and oranges, right? Two different critters. Ones is based on conserving a form of government, or rather self determination and freedom of the individual, (and is ideally a form of solidarity, a zeitgeist counter to an evil plurality bent on enslavement/destruction of the self determined plurality), not based on mob politics, the other is mob politics.
    (Sorry, that was hard to write, I hope it makes sense! I think I followed your logic, and hopefully mine links up with yours in some fashion, because that is some critical thinking you got going there:-)

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    1. I believe I understand what you’re saying. I guess to use an analogy that might make some sense, the car of state is shuddering something fierce and we’re in the middle of the desert, don’t ask me why. You pop a spare on and are convinced it’s just a tire out of alignment and we can make it the rest of the way with the substitute. I say it’s the hub bearing and it’ll be so shot by the time we get there it’s going to have warped the rotor, toasted the ABS, the spindle and the hub, totaling the car (it’s a beat up piece of crap I guess). We might get out of the desert but we aren’t getting home with it. Both are populism, but it’s the nature of it that we disagree on. It could very well be a way to get us back to a halfway sane place, like you stated. I’m suspect though of the ‘we need to break it to save it’ methodology. Not that it doesn’t work at times, but I really do wonder if we have enough character and self-control as a populace to do such a thing. Time will tell. The next several years and definitely the next election will give us a good idea if we are going to start vacillating between two mobs of people with vastly different ideologies, but using the same methodology to achieve it, or this was just a major course correction in the right direction. I’ve always been pessimistic about these things and it’s served me well since Clinton was in office, but as always, I could be wrong. I certainly didn’t read the tea leaves correctly in November.. so what do I know? 🙂

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      1. We need clearly defined “tests” of the insidious invasion of Demoncracy. The awareness, knowledge, desire, and willingness of a majority of the populace to “correct” it is the fundamental question. Whether this populace is willing to limit their power with repeal of the 17th Amendment is as doubtful as the congress is to limit their power with term limits.
        A Republic once lost to Demoncracy has never, in the course of recorded history, reversed the downward spiral into Tyranny of a form of Dictatorship. The “Bill of Rights” is only given lip service by the Government Elites regardless of Pol.Party. The “form” of the government from the Constitution is adhered to only as it ensures the continuity of these elitists.
        The future direction is clearly following the historical model of Create, Continue, Destruction, the timing is the variable.

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        1. So do we just set here and let it fall apart around us or actually do something productive and form Patriot/Liberty Communities…That is my goal what is yours?

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          1. It’s not an “either/or” in my opinion. It’s Both. The cycle of a crumbling Empire, formerly the American Republic, is pretty well set in stone, with the caveat of “Timing”, and ‘Presidents of Exception’ like Reagan and Trump who have or will slow, or even temporarily reverse, the aging process, but like individuals, empires too die.
            To your point of organizing communities, it is vital for your community, and neighboring communities.
            There is still an Egypt, and still an England, but not an Empire, and sometimes barely a nation, but communities and tribes continue, just as people continue.
            “Our” Empire is corrupt, sick, and hobbled with a bureaucracy from hell, that probably exceeds our mortal capacity to correct.
            https://geopolitics.co/2017/01/16/three-factions-of-the-cia-that-control-the-world/

            However as an Asian historian the almost timeless path of recorded human history is mind boggling considering just the Chinese and their 4 or 5 Dynastic Empires. Rising, Flourishing, Declining, and Dissolving. Then after a hundred to 500 years or so another Dynasty is born and rises, over Tens (to a Hundred) of Thousands of Years BC of recorded history. It is mind boggling to Western man to even consider, but the Chinese people are still here, and hopefully our descendants will still be here too.
            We must live our lives, doing what we must, striving for the freedoms we insist upon for ourselves and our descendants, but realizing the “Game of Life” is so vast just in terms of time, not to even mention the timelessness of the spiritual.
            All I really know is to enjoy this moment in time and to prepare as you will for the future to the best of your ability.

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            1. So are you building Community or just preparing for yourself? If you are building what has been your successes and what has been your challenges…

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              1. I have a storage of 25 yr food, plus regular canned goods that I rotate, arms and ammo in quantity, water purification and stream access.Solar for refrigeration and lights. I relocated to the Appalachian Mtns. in a rural, non touristy county of Ga. with 90% White and low population with low and lesser offenses of crime.
                I established relations with other Land Owning neighbors, that share similar concerns, but have varied solutions, and no organized community other than their families which runs deep and wide. I’m the one with distant family, who know they are welcome to relocate to my house if TSHTF and they can get here. I am not in a subdivision, but have 4 neighbors within eyesight, in winter.
                I’m better off than where I was, but not as organized as I would like to be, but after 3 yrs I’m still a “junior” member of a community that goes back 100 yrs minimum for most of the folks.

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                1. Oh I don’t think anyone of us is as organized as we would like to be Brother;) The thing is with the people you have around you do you think you could build community or would it take more people of the Liberty mindset to move there to make it happen…And just to give a little clarification on what I mean by building Community…First off is can your community survive if it got cut off from the outside world and by that I mean does it grow enough food, raise enough animals, have enough game/wild plants, have enough water to sustain the population if all roads were blocked by accident or intentionally…Can you defend against the outside from taking what you have and defend against the horde’s from overrunning you…If that is taken care of will you be able to produce your own power…Can you convince those around you to start using gold/silver/copper as a means of exchange instead of monopoly money(fiat) money…Does your area/community create/manufacturer enough goods to be able to barter/buy things your area doesn’t produce…Can your area do without federal or state funds like can your school’s be funded with what’s produced by your area, is a lot of people on foodstamps, social security, or VA pensions, is your local hospital getting funds from the government…These are just some thoughts that I’ve had when I think about building Community if you have anything to add don’t hesitate…

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  2. Greetings, and appreciate your thoughts. You write here… “One of the myths we tell ourselves about populism and voting in general is that wisdom can be had en masse, as if a collection of millions of fools are superior to a single fool.”

    And yet, over on WRSA (Literal Obliviousness) you write… “The orthodox consensus is that Christ is addressing the fact we are accountable to God for our use of what we have, and that is the metric by which we should be judging ourselves.”

    So… which is it? Am I to believe the “orthodox consensus” when it comes to the Bible but not politics? Or should I remain the singular fool that I am?

    I too am pessimistic about this worlds condition by the way. It’s Christ that provides the way out of this one and into the next.

    Gal 1:3-5… “Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

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    1. I would make the important distinction that it implied reference to a qualified (in the sense we are discussing) opinion. Matthew Henry I would dare say is a halfway decent source of expertise in the area, and whether one might disagree in some areas I would say he is considered one of the more respected individuals in terms of Biblical exposition. I recognize I am no Biblical scholar, better read than most in the subject, but certainly not to the level that others are. As such, rather than speak ex officio, I added that other’s more qualified than myself on the matter had a similar opinion as myself and managed to explain it more succinctly than I could. Orthodoxy doesn’t make something true, but in matters where I am unqualified to give an expert opinion on the matter, I do seek out actual experts for guidance. It’s not foolproof and I don’t take their words as gospel (no pun intended), but it is helpful in forming an informed opinion. I hope you understand the distinction I’m making between someone who has legitimate expertise in a field and someone who just has an opinion. Usually there’s orthodoxy for a reason and while prevailing wisdom is not true in all cases, it is an excellent place to start.

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      1. I get ya, I really do. Was not playing “gotcha”. I also think there is a kind of inherent human bias involved here as well. We all know that politicians are out and out liars, hell we even expect and tolerate it. But, as “decent” people (knowing ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God) we generally desire deeply to trust others, especially those in some kind of authority over us. Even politicians! Trump and Klinton got a lot of love out there; not from me… I have found this to be especially true in the realm of religion, however. We “expect” to be able to trust those men behind the pulpits we been sitting in front of our whole lives. We truly want to be able to count on them. They are, after all the good guys, right? The “Godly” ones?

        Man did my eyes open up when I started reading that old King James myself. There are more lies in religion than there are in politics brother. My whole rant over on WRSA today can be summed up as such… “read the Book yourself”. Let the scripture do the talking while we do the listening. Do not believe what anyone else tells you no matter the authority, no matter the reputation, no matter the man. The Book will tell you whether or not the man is on target and it should be open in your lap when your listening to anyone teach.

        “You can’t conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.”

        I like it.

        Gal 5:1… “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

        If you don’t mind my asking, do you KNOW your saved and on your way to glory?

        cheers 🙂

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        1. On this we agree. My assumption, right or wrong, was that I was speaking to someone who was coming from a point of ignorance (in the true sense of the term). The primary source is this case can and should be examined on a personal level, as we (without getting bogged down in semantics, ‘we’ via divine help) all have the ability to ‘rightly divide the word of truth.’ Having said that it is often helpful to at least begin to look at those who have superior knowledge of linguistics ect. in the matter of teasing out the context of passages. Obviously they are secondary sources and should be treated as such, but at the very least even if you disagree with what is being stated, it forces you to weigh the matter from multiple angles in your head. It’s one of the primary reasons why I read things like Marx, Hitler and Rosseau. I even made it though the Koran during college, and it helps put some things in perspective when talking to Muslims. You and I may still disagree in some aspects of what we believe, but I think there is much to be gained from people truly seeking the truth and attempting to arrive at a better understanding of it.

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  3. “…Hegel penned his poisonous screed, and Marx plagiarized it…”

    Now where would you have drawn such an idea? 😉

    To the larger question, neither having been asked nor pondered by most in many years, is to what end leaders and the states they build behind them become idolatry- as Aquinas asked.

    But those who can neither grasp philosophy nor posses the discipline to read it, while choosing to pontificate spreading half-truth and tired memes, seem better apt to resolving the problems of the day resigned to “this group is to blame, because MY history says so, proof be damned!”

    (yes, I saw the circus of comments at WRSA)

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