“Many observers have noted that populism is inherent to representative democracy; after all, do populists not juxtapose ‘the pure people’ against ‘the corrupt elite’?” Cas Mudde
Consider these statements I am going to put forth and see if you agree.
- Globalism is a political goal – not an economic one.
- Globalism is not the same as Global Integration.
- Populism is a generalized term to describe the responses by citizens across the world to the failures of their various political parties.
- What was once called Sovereignty is now dismissed as Populism.
- Populism is a rightful response against centralized government and central decision-making.
- Populism is labeled as a movement against free markets and yet the exact opposite is true.
- Globalism hinders free trade.
- Globalism begets Socialism.
- Populism begets Capitalism.
I have long thought the European Union was constructed as it was primarily for political purposes – out of political motivations and political aspirations. As I discussed earlier in The Euro’s Failings, there is no need for a common currency throughout the European Union in order to promote free trade among countries. The Euro is not only unnecessary it is harmful and should be done away with for the sake of the European Union. What the Euro has brought the European Union is centralized power and inefficient (and ineffective) decision-making from Brussels. The Euro has been utilized as a political tool to engender globalism. And Globalism has destabilized national identities, warped economic policy-making and has fundamentally transformed the lives of many citizens who now scarcely recognize their countries.
Globalism is often dressed in free trade garb but in fact there is a hindrance of free trade with globalism. Globalism, through its attempt to erase national borders (and identities), applies a broad economic brush to varying problems and economic conditions of differing regions and as a result fails by definition. Globalism tends to exacerbate economic problems rather than fixing them and hinders free trade by distorting market responses.
Globalism often initiates with talk of open borders and free trade while leading to concentrated government and centralized planning. If you believe that not to be true then look no further than Brussels’ convoluted financial responses for examples. Brussels is internally conflicted by its member nations – engaging in alternating interest rate policies, stifling regulations, taxes that are strikingly high, redistributionist policies that are ineffectively coupled with austerity measures – all while market forces are constrained through the single currency implementation of the Euro.
Consider this situation. Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, even France, are all facing high levels of unemployment. Yet Germany’s economy remains strong and is running at or near full employment – as are several other member nations. What monetary policy do you engage in to fix the issue in one country without harming another? It’s not only an economic mess but a culturally and nationally incompatible environment – with the Germans often diametrically opposed to their other European counterparts.
But there is an answer, albeit a tough one. Admit the Euro is a failure. Re-adopt national currencies. Establish free-trade agreements among the Western European nations. And allow market forces to balance the economic problems through interest rate adjustments, currency fluctuations and monetary flows. This process would be difficult and frightening – bringing real upheaval in the near-term. But all this is coming anyway. Sooner or later, the economic piper must be paid. Allow Capitalism – not Globalism – to creep back into Europe – and it’s already happening via Populism.
The word “Populism” sounds scary. It conjures up visions of fascist-like political movements and is often portrayed exactly as such. And yet, populism is nothing of the kind. There is no populism ideology to speak of. Populism is, quite simply, the response of citizens to the failure of their leaders. It is a manner of “voting the bums out”. And it seems to be sweeping across Europe. It has already swept across America.
Brexit was a seminal event that preceded the unexpected win by President-Elect Trump. Brexit – at its heart – was nothing more than a desire by British citizens to reclaim their democracy – their self-governance. There is nothing sinister in that.
And there it is. People want their democracies – their self-governance back. Populism.
We are experiencing a peaceful revolt by citizens against centralized government and centralized planning run by a so-called “elite” minority. I find it striking that so many on the left seem to fear a world controlled by a handful of powerful corporations and yet they were so quick to embrace a world run by a few powerful politicians.
And these people – these citizens – are angry, they feel lied to and misled. First they endure economic mismanagement and then are asked to open their borders to a flood of refugees who have shown no interest in assimilation – and are a severe drain on already strained resources. They witness entire towns that are no longer recognizable as the places they grew up – neighborhoods transformed.
My daughter returned from a trip to London two nights ago. On our drive home from the airport she noted what she felt was different from her prior visit. Last time, she noted, people were politically polite and generally quiet about the immigration issue. This time they were no longer polite and they were no longer quiet. They were angry and they were outspoken in their anger and frustration.
They wanted their country back.
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