We Should Not Call It "Populism": Cedarbrook Notes


Cedar Brook Notes: Now is the time for the second hobbyhorse I promised myself I would ride at this conference: "populism". I think in his new book, The Populist Temptation: Economic Grievance and Political Reaction in the Modern Era ((New York: Oxford University Press: 9780190866280) https://books.google.com/books?isbn=9780190866280), Barry Eichengreen gives away the arcanum imperii: “I define populism as a political movement with anti-elite, authoritarian, and nativist tendencies...” and “charismatic leaders with anti-establishment, authoritarian, and nationalist tendencies, from Benito Mussolini to Ioannis Metaxas...” The American Populists of the late 19th Century were a political movement that sought egalitarian economic policies: breakup of the trusts, regulation of railroad rates, the free coinage of silver. There is a word for a pro-plutocrat political movement fueled on ethnic and national animosity toward others, especially rootless cosmopolites. That word ain’t “populism”.

We should use “fascism” where it applies. If we do not, we will not have rectified names. If names are not rectified, thought will not be clear. If thought is not clear, governance will not be just. If governance is not just, the people will not prosper.

We should use the word "fascism". It is appropriate.