BUCH, Germany — Buch, a small community on the outskirts of Berlin, seems at first glance to be the kind of place Goldilocks would declare “just right.” It is not too rich or too poor, not too expensive or too scruffy, not too close to the crowded city center but not so far that its tree-lined streets of tidy apartments are beyond a daily commute.
It is probably not the sort of place people picture when they think about the tide of far-right populism overwhelming Europe. But beneath the surface, this cozy, safe neighborhood is starkly different from the depressed postindustrial zones often portrayed as the populist wellspring, and is emblematic of the forces threatening to upend Western politics as we know it.
Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923) was an Italian engineer, philosopher, economist, sociologist and political scientist, famous, among other things, for his theories about “the elites”.
In his theory of the “circulation of the elites” he argues that social mobility is fundamental for the peaceful continuity of social order: as long as the elite is open to the influx of capable elements from the lower classes, the system is able to rise up to the challenges it faces. When the elites shut themselves off and do not assimilate exceptional individuals from the lower social strata, an imbalance is created that can result in a violent overthrow of the ruling class by a new one capable of governing.
Drawing on that theory we argue that democratic systems have evolved in a way that an overthrow of the elite can happen without violence, but by democratic vote. Lack of social mobility, says Pareto, results in an elite detached from the daily challenges of the common man and a sense of disenfranchisement of the voters.
Pope Francis recently told Germany’s leading liberal newspaper Die Zeit that ‘Populism is evil and ends badly, as the past century shows.’ Except he doesn’t think that.
I suspect I wasn’t the only person taken aback when Pope Francis recently stated in an interview with Germany’s leading liberal newspaper Die Zeit that “Populism is evil and ends badly, as the past century shows.”
The pope didn’t specify who he had in mind. Plenty assumed he was obliquely referring to Donald Trump and European politicians like Marine Le Pen. I’m sure, however, that others thought that the pope’s words verged on the kettle calling the pot black. For whether it’s his rhetorical style or the type of political movement to which he appears to lend his support, Pope Francis seems quite sympathetic to some forms of populism.
The presidential election in France officially got underway on March 18, when the Constitutional Council announced that a total of eleven candidates will be facing off for the country’s top political job.
The election is being closely followed in France and elsewhere as an indicator of popular discontent with traditional parties and the European Union, as well as with multiculturalism and continued mass migration from the Muslim world.
The first round of voting will be held on April 23. If no single candidate wins an absolute majority, the top two winners in the first round will compete in a run-off on May 7.
If the election were held today, independent “progressive” candidate Emmanuel Macron, who has never held elected office, would become the next president of France, according to several opinion polls.
The rise of Geert Wilders and his party, despite their election-day loss, shows how influential populism has become in Europe. As a political force, populism is here to stay.
Last week, national elections in the Netherlands drew international attention as the world waited to see if the country’s far-right Party for Freedom, led by Geert Wilders, would mark the first major populist win in Europe. It did not. Somewhat unexpectedly, Wilder’s party lost to current Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s center-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy.
There’s a change happening in the Western political landscape. And the Canadian establishment needs to stop misleading themselves about what it means for this country.
Last month data confirmed what many of us suspected: that Canada is actually ripe for some version of a populist uprising.
An authoritative report by Edelman revealed that “80% of [Canadians] think the elites who run institutions are out of touch with regular people” and “69% say we need to prioritize Canadian interests over the rest of the world.”
I suppose no one will challenge the observation that the best account of populism was given by the most eloquent of presidents. Lincoln’s famous elegy at Gettysburg, which every high school student should learn by heart, contains in its concluding sentence the unforgettable prepositional triplet of “government of the people, for the people, by the people.”
We haven’t seen much of former U.S. president Barack Obama since he departed the job on Jan. 20th. He was spotted in New York City on Friday looking relaxed as he caught a Broadway show with his daughter. Before that, the ex-president was photographed cavorting with Richard Branson on the billionaire’s private Caribbean luxury resort island. If Obama’s conscience troubles him over whatever responsibility he bears for ushering in the turbulent, truculent Trump phenomenon, it doesn’t show.
The “rise of populism” has become an absorbing subject for political commentators in the West, yet as the Cato Institute scholar, Alberto Mingardi, helpfully observes, the term is “as slippery as it is popular.”
Perhaps the most noteworthy feature of this current political trend is why we are struck by it. The nations of the West are, after all, democracies: systems of government designed to translate popular concerns into legislative instruments.
An answer to this dysfunction might lie in the layers of transnational governance, which proliferated after the Second World War, superseding national, and by implication democratically-accountable, decision making.
PARIS — In the run-up to the recent U.S. presidential election, a lot of conservatives began using the term “cuck” to describe “cuckolded” males beholden to leftist policies. Lately, some conservatives have been applying that rather unflattering term to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, one of the few Western leaders staying the globalist course while other countries opt for a greater degree of national security.
The US immigration mess fueled Trump’s election and true to his word he has no intention of mimicking Europe’s mistakes regarding Islamic immigration.
Canada won’t escape Europe’s fate unless immigration from Islamic states is curtailed. That won’t happen under a Liberal government as the LPC is compromised by a weak leader in the thrall of Islam. Trudeau falsely assumes he has seized the moral high-ground by subjecting Canadians to the same vibrant diversity now suffered by Europe’s citizens.
That said it’s simply a numbers game and should the door not be closed it is only a matter of time before Canadian attitudes to immigration shift from this to this.
“…Young refugee men commit assaults in public places, like the Cologne train station, on public occasions, like New Year’s Eve. That’s the public’s problem. These things don’t happen at the private parties elites give.
The elites fail and don’t suffer any consequences from their failures. As it is with elite carelessness about refugees, so it is with elite carelessness about immigration. To elites immigration means nannies, household staff, and fun new ethnic restaurants. Elites don’t see any similarity between Trump’s border wall and the gated communities where they live.”
Inspired by the inauguration of U.S. President Donald J. Trump, the leaders of Europe’s main anti-establishment parties have held a pan-European rally aimed at coordinating a political strategy to mobilize potentially millions of disillusioned voters in upcoming elections in Germany, the Netherlands and France.
Appearing together in public for the first time, Marine Le Pen, leader of the French National Front, Frauke Petry, leader of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV), Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy’s Northern League and Harald Vilimsky of Austria’s Freedom Party gathered on January 21 at a rally in Koblenz, Germany, where they called on European voters to participate in a “patriotic spring” to topple the European Union, reassert national sovereignty and secure national borders.
Hours after Donald Trump’s swearing in as U.S. president, across the Atlantic in Germany some of his radical European cheerleaders will gather in a bid to emulate his route to power.
Nationalists including the French National Front leader Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders of the Dutch Freedom Party are among those who will mount a show of force in the western German town of Koblenz on Saturday as they seek to build election momentum of their own by denouncing the European Union, its shared currency and immigration.
Danish Journalist Iben Thranholm, who was branded as a Russian propagandist and included on an EU blacklist for comments she made on migrant policy, tells RT that such character assassinations have become the new go-to tactic of Western governments.
Thranholm is a Danish current events columnist who penned an opinion piece for Russia Insider in 2016, in which she explained her reservations about the EU’s current migrant policy and its inability to properly integrate Muslim migrants into European society.
She had also written a piece for RT earlier in which she explained how the “spiritual vacuum” created by Western cultural nihilism is the core factor behind growing Muslim radicalization within the EU.
She also criticized the EU’s unwillingness to recognize religion as a factor at all as just one indicator of this trend.
Boy, this sounds familiar, a threatened “establishment” resorts to labeling inconvenient people as “Russian agents”. I think I’ve heard that story before.
A gathering of right-wing parties will bring together, for the first time, the heads of many of Europe’s leading populist politicians. Members of the AfD and Front National will be there – much of the media won’t.
German public broadcaster ARD is considering legal action against the country’s right-wing, populist party after it was denied access to an upcoming meeting of European nationalist leaders in Koblenz, western Germany.
ARD’s program director, Volker Herres, slammed the cherry-picking of news organizations and journalists allowed to cover the event, saying the broadcaster’s editors “condemn this massive encroachment against the freedom to report.”
Notice anything different in this DW report? Suddenly the AfD et al are “right wing populist” parties and not scare quote “far-right” parties.