Ever Heard of Populism?

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This is just in: a deadly virus is sweeping across Europe and taking out governments. The countries that have been affected so far include France, the UK and Italy. Sources are calling this virus ‘Populism’ – no cure has been found yet.

While Populism is no new trend it is rearing its ugly head yet again. More and more countries are being plagued with populist movements, and the scariest thing is – they are successful. The question we can ask ourselves is why wouldn’t they be? A group of people who look and talk like I do and who want the same things I want - sounds like the perfect situation.

However, once populism removes its beautiful silk veil an ugly face lies beneath. The populist movements are preying on the members of society who feel excluded and are seemingly no longer benefiting from current governments. The populists promise lower taxes, higher wages and they will supposedly accomplish all of this by rejecting societal institutions. They will give the people what they want now and not in five or ten years’ time.

This is another reason why populism is so successful in its conquest. In a world where one can click a button and instantaneously book a holiday, rent an apartment – we have got used to immediacy and lost the desire to work for what we earn. Therefore, the populists promise immediate results but no solutions. Their ideology appears to be based on the “we want it and therefore we shall have it” mentality.

Also, populism is so attractive because of their charismatic leaders. Look at Italy’s beloved Beppe Grillo who formed part of the Five Star Movement and aided in the removal of Matteo Renzi, the now former Prime Minister of Italy. Grillo would give emotional speeches at the Five Star Movement rallies, people would chant his name as though he was a celebrity – they loved him and what he promised them.

But take away that charisma and the rhetoric and what is society left with? Are proper solutions offered to the problems we are facing? Is living in an ideal world all it is cut out to be or is it the new opium for the people?

Written by

Emma Asciak

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Ever Heard of Populism?

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