Populism, VII: Representation & the people. The New Criterion Mar 17

Looking back over the events of 2016, liberal-minded commentators are apt to sound a warning against “populism,” a disorder that they observe everywhere on the right of the political spectrum. Populists are politicians who appeal directly to the people when they should be consulting the political process, and who are prepared to set aside procedures and legal niceties when the tide of public opinion flows in their favor. Like Donald Trump, populists can win elections. Like Marine Le Pen in France and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, they can disrupt the long-standing consensus of government. Or, like Nigel Farage and the Brexiteers in Britain, they can use the popular vote to overthrow all the expectations and predictions of the political class. But they have one thing in common, which is their preparedness to allow a voice to passions that are neither acknowledged nor mentioned in the course of normal politics. And for this reason, they are not democrats but demagogues—not politicians who guide and govern by appeal to arguments, but agitators who stir the unthinking feelings of the crowd.

To visit the full article, please visit The New Criterion.

Latest Articles

'Coming Home in Scrutopia : A happy week with Roger Scruton' - The Imaginative Conservative, Tina McCormick

According to Roger Scruton, traditions and attachments to place and home are precious as they give order and meaning to life. They fill a basic human need. Once destroyed, they...

'As the left surges back, Marxism’s bloody legacy is covered up' Spectator Life - 20 Sept 17

Monuments to the victims of fascism exist everywhere, but communism’s victims are hardly remembered at all.  As we approach the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, it is fitting to...

Philosophy Bites with Nigel Warburton 29 Aug 17

Are human beings fundamentally different from other animals? Roger Scruton argues that we are, and that we need to think about ourselves in non-biological terms. He explains these ideas in...

'The Religion of Rights' BBC Radio 4 - 1 Sept 17

"European society", says Sir Roger Scruton, "is rapidly jettisoning its Christian heritage and has found nothing to put in its place save the religion of human rights". But, he argues,...

Recent Books

The Ring of Truth

The Ring of Truth

Penguin Books (June 2016) Richard Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung is one of the greatest works of art created in modern times, and has fascinated both critics and devotees for...

Confessions of a Heretic

Confessions of a Heretic

Notting Hill Editions (March 2016) Twelve hard-hitting essays arising from a decade of engagement with the public culture of Britain and America that touch on matters of concern to all...

On Human Nature

On Human Nature

Princeton University Press (February 2017) In this short book, acclaimed writer and philosopher Roger Scruton presents an original and radical defense of human uniqueness. Confronting the views of evolutionary psychologists,...

2017 Events

16-17 Nov - 'Re-thinking Open Society', Budapest

22nd Nov - The Oxford Union Event

7-9 Dec - Lecture, University of Antwerp

Copyright © Roger Scruton. All Rights Reserved.

Website by Mindvision