Monday, 24 December 2018

The Rise of Populism

I am of the belief that in a representative society, it is the duty of our representatives to represent the people who voted them in. They should uphold the issues they were voted in on, not flip flop on those issues. While I realise that viewpoints will change once a representative moves from outside of the government machine to the inside, when that happens, the representative needs to clearly tell us why the change cannot be made. As they are now better informed about that issue, they need to inform their followers, to educate us. Then we all grow together. We can debate issues and find new ways, processes which adds value to society.

As defined by the Guardian, populism is:
The framing of "politics as a battle between the virtuous 'ordinary' masses and a nefarious or corrupt elite – and insist that the general will of the people must always triumph. The Guardian is adopting the classic definition of populism proposed by political scientist Cas Mudde. Populism, he says, is often combined with a 'host' ideology, which can either be on the left or right.

"Populism is as old as democracy itself, but the last 10 years have proven particularly fertile: populist leaders now govern countries with a combined population of almost two billion people, while populist parties are gaining ground in more than a dozen other democracies, many of them in Europe" (Wintour, 22 November 2018). 
The Guardian has published a quiz (here, Silva, Hawkins, Littvay, & Wiesehomeier, 22 November 2018) which we can use to find out how populist we are. As you can see from the above diagram, I am slightly left-wing populist. What is fascinating is to see how many other quiz-takers from all over the world feel the same way.

I am not sure that it is a good thing to be a populist of any stripe. It worries me that I am thinking that there are those with a great deal of power versus those who have little. This worries me because those views can lead to paralysis: through a fixed mindset (Dweck, 2006) and an external locus of control (Lefcourt, 1966). In being a slightly left-wing populist, I am demonstrating a belief in a divided society of 'us' and 'them' (Tajfel, 1982). Ouch. 

However, knowing is the first step towards change. Now it is what I do with it that counts :-)



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