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

'The social media lynch-mob degrades our culture. We must resist and rebuild what is truly valuable' The Telegraph - 5 Dec 17

Suppose you woke up one day to discover that you were headline news. A leading newspaper has spread across its front page a story that you were seen entering a...

Scrutopia Summer School 2018

Now running for a second year, the Scrutopia summer school offers a ten-day immersion experience in the philosophy and outlook of Sir Roger Scruton, the British writer and philosopher who...

'Politics needs a first-person plural' The Conservative - Nov 17

Populists recruit their following by direct appeal, are largely indifferent to their opponents, and have no intention, if elected, of allowing a voice to those who did not vote for them. If “populism” threatens the political stability of...

'Brexit will give us back the countryside, as well as our country' Spectator Life, 29 Nov 17

Brexit will give us back the countryside, as well as our countryEscaping the Common Agricultural Policy will preserve rural landscapes and lifestylesThe EU’s Common Agricultural Policy was designed to support...

Recent Books

Where We Are: The State of Britain Now

Where We Are: The State of Britain Now

Bloomsbury (November 2017) Addressing one of the most politically turbulent periods in modern British history, philosopher Roger Scruton asks how, in these circumstances, we can come to define our identity,...

Conservatism: Ideas in Profile

Conservatism: Ideas in Profile

Profile Books (August 2017) Roger Scruton looks at the central ideas of conservatism over the centuries. He examines conservative thinking on civil society, the rule of law and the role...

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

8-9 Dec - Morality and the Sacred, University of Antwerp

Copyright © Roger Scruton. All Rights Reserved.

Website by Mindvision