Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Democracy versus populism


I don't like to be topical, but let's just say there are a lot of democratic uprisings going on just now, within the USA and abroad, so that even I have noticed.

Let's be clear on this - democracy is leftist, populism is rightist.

Democracy is about process, populism is all about outcomes.


The right cannot beat the left at democracy - process (= legalism, = bureaucracy) leads inevitably to the left; the right may win the occasional battle but they will lose the war.

(Process cannot beat process, and process is leftist.)

Only an outcome-oriented populist right can beat the left.


As things stand in the US, the left is winning strategically by use of democracy, by legalism, by process.

To be sure, the left is fighting battles tactically - using whatever might work, including law-breaking, ignoring and subverting process, rigging or ignoring democracy...

But the mainstream political right is eschewing populism (or deflecting populism into democratic politics) for fear of what populism might unleash.

The right are sticking to process - to the democratic rules (more than are the left, at any rate), sticking to the law, sticking to official procedure - and justifying all their actions in terms of democratic process.

And the right is trying to make the left stick to process... it is apparently their main strategy!


Populism makes (common) sense - whereas procedure is highfalutin nonsense - the left's specialty.

Only if, or when, the right starts circumventing democracy with outcome-oriented strategic populism, the left will start to get very worried indeed, and will in fact be hard-pressed to survive.

But it has not happened yet, and may never happen.