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What is your definition of Populism?

Quote from paulswansen on May 19, 2019, 9:15 pm

A country and government for those of us in flyover country, the common folk.  A movement that respects the views of the non-movers and shakers in our society.

I like this. It's not just country-wide, it goes on in states where cities dictate to all and screw over the rural/conservative areas.

My idea on Populism has changed. I used to think the term sort of equated to Democracy or Popularism, kind of a collective way of looking at problems. I now see Populism as related to God-given, Constitutionally protected rights in which all Americans should be able to participate by way of representative local, state and national government.

Populism for me has also been given a new meaning since I started listening to FL and Lee  and is no longer the ‘dirty word’ it was before. To me it means giving the word to the People and taking their rights and concerns in consideration, rather than the few powerful elites (be they Government, corporate elites or simply the ruling class). That said, Populism isn’t always necessarily a good thing as Fascism and Nazism have showed us (both populist).

I found this (Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass):

“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”

I also found which indicates how it can mean almost anything -- a good read.  The meaning depends on who is using the word and whether they approve of what most people want at a given time.

It's a root problem, as with 'democracy', which can yield wonderful or terrible results, and depends on the culture and how educated and sane the people are.

Rather than delving into the word further, I would recommend learning more about system thinking and cybernetics, the sciences of control, feedback, and achieving goals (Stafford Beer, Stu Umpleby, etc.), and collective or swarm intelligence. The problem is very deep, complicated, and ambiguous, and words often obscure the issue rather than explain it (consider how the current bunch of psychos is bringing democracy to countries by bombing the hell out them). Proper brainwashing can get the population of the attacker to support that, so it is popular, and jives with populism.

Populism is a word I would never trust to mean any particular thing, just as the word 'god', or even 'moral'.  You have to ask Humpty Dumpty what they mean.

Edit: OK, a working definition: appealing to or trying to appeal to, whatever the majority of people want, or can be convinced to want. Appealing to emotions, herd instincts, or effectively using propaganda.


I think populism is a pragmatic grassroots type of politics.  Within a moral and constitutional framework it would ideally transcend the left right paradigm to implement fundamental and common agendas. It’s a by the people and for the people movement and as Lee says anti elitist by definition.

Officials that are both nominated and elected by their constituents , and accountable to them As for a solution, the parties are the root cause of the corruption. If everyone registered to vote as an Independent, the parties' membership would evaporate, and the would not be able to access the ballot in any state. Perhaps we could return to the form of voting noted in the Constitution. Just look at the "super delegate" situation in the DNC, where the membership is over ridden and the nominee is the choice of party leaders. The RNC must have a comparable situation to assure the nominee is acceptable to the party leadership.