Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Populism

Three Failing Movements and the One that Can Succeed

One of the key things I always like to remember about politics is that there are no political systems or political organizations which are wholly elitist or wholly populist. All regimes and all organizations are mixed. Autocracies and aristocracies still need their peoples to recognise them as legitimate and cooperate with their decisions. If they ignore legitimacy, their peoples will destroy them. Democracies still rely on elite professional civil servants, politicians, lawyers, and economists to design and implement policies that address the interests of the people and the subgroups which comprise it. If they ignore those elites, they won’t be able to govern effectively and they’ll disappoint the people they set out to help.  It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? And yet, despite this, there are always political movements which operate dogmatically from an elitist or populist standpoint, ignoring the need to find the right mix of both. I want to describe three such movements, and the alternative path we can take to avoid their mistakes.

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The Right Nationalist World Tour’s Next Stops: Rome, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin

Right nationalism seems to be having its moment in the sun. The right nationalists believe that the inequality and economic stagnation we see today across many rich democracies is caused by immigrants, minorities, and foreign states which take jobs, drain welfare states and public services, and push through expropriative trade deals. They want to put a stop to free trade and free movement in a bid to recreate the strong, ethnically and culturally homogeneous nation states that prevailed in the 1950s. They won a stunning victory in Britain’s EU referendum, and have now followed this up with a come-from-behind surprise win in the US presidential election. But there are many right nationalist movements scattered throughout the rich countries, and many of them will have a chance to gain power and influence in upcoming elections. Here are four biggest opportunities for right nationalists to upset the liberal world order in the next year.

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Why the Media Cannot Deal Effectively with Donald Trump

A lot of people are upset at the media for facilitating the rise of Donald Trump by giving him so much coverage and attention. This coverage legitimized him as a serious candidate and frequently gave him a free platform, allowing Trump to market himself to voters without having to buy many commercials. But we are wrong to point the finger at the media–the media is subject to certain market imperatives that made it impossible for the media to handle Trump in a way that would have been better, and this will continue to be the case going forward. Read the rest of this entry »