VDH on the different strains of populism

Excellent new article from Victor Davis Hanson on the varying, classical historical origins of populism and how they manifest themselves still today. Always appreciate his takes when they incorporate a long-term view encompassing antiquity to show humanity faces the same problems continually throughout history.

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Author: The Sinistral Bassist

Ain't no man can avoid being born average, but there ain't no man got to be common. -Satchel Paige

7 thoughts on “VDH on the different strains of populism”

  1. I like VDH’s delivery style. He has the facts and a wry sense of humor without being too cruel. Great teacher too!! He would make a good Ratburgher.

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  2. I loved this article and this particular paragraph stood out in my mind:

    In ancient Greece, these agrarian populists were known as “mesoi” or “middle guys”—those who were mostly responsible for the rise of the Greek city-state and constitutional government. Their signature ideas were preserving ownership of a family plot, seeing property as the nexus of all civic, political, and military life, and passing on farms through codified inheritance laws and property rights. The mesoi felt their approach offered stability to the otherwise volatile political order.

    This reminded me of another Hoover scholar, Thomas Sowell, and one of his greatest essays on the topic of anti-Semitism. Unfortunately, can’t find it to share with you all so I comment from memory alone.

    Sowell wrote that Polish Jews in the 18th and early 19th centuries were the first to establish a business relationship between the aristocracy and the serfs thereby creating one of the earliest models for a middle class. Tragically, as we witnessed in the mid 2oth century, hostility toward these ‘nobodies’ who dared to create individual wealth led to the annihilation of 3 million Jews in Poland alone.

    I think that America owes these Polish pioneers a respectful nod for establishing a radical economic concept that we adopted and adapted to make our country a great one.

    This is why I have traveled twice to Polska and hope to return for a third visit.

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  3. There are definitely two strains of populism at work in America today.

    One side gets big numbers of people riled up.

    The other side gets big numbers of people riled up.

    One side concentrates on people that do not have jobs.   The other side concentrates on people that do have jobs.

    I throw in with the latter.

     

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  4. MJBubba:
    There are definitely two strains of populism at work in America today.

    One side gets big numbers of people riled up.

    The other side gets big numbers of people riled up.

    One side concentrates on people that do not have jobs.   The other side concentrates on people that do have jobs.

    I throw in with the latter.

     

    But on the hand the former is the good side.

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  5. I still think VDH underestimates the desire that much of the Trump coalition has for a big paternal government that gives you stuff. For the most part, Trump has improved the middle class of America but making America more capitalist and cracking down on illegal immigration which is perfectly fine. But we don’t have any kind of populism in America that is willing to deal with entitlements and I’m worried that our populists are eager to throw free trade under the bus.

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  6. Henry Castaigne:
    But we don’t have any kind of populism in America that is willing to deal with entitlements and I’m worried that our populists are eager to throw free trade under the bus.

    Here’s the thing about those “entitlements.” Please don’t use that word to describe the redistribution of wealth.

    I have had 15% of my paychecks absconded by a legally non-binding agreement assuring me I will get my money back at a later date. Obviously, this was not a fiscally prudent plan, but we have no one to blame but Democrat FDR and I will not back down from collecting the estimated $500,000 that I have been unduly forced to abdicate over the past 25 years.

    It’s wrong, it’s unfair and most succinctly, it is socialism.

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  7. Henry Castaigne:
    But we don’t have any kind of populism in America that is willing to deal with entitlements and I’m worried that our populists are eager to throw free trade under the bus.

    Sorry to beat up on you today, but free trade isn’t free unless it is fair. The Donald has had decades of experience with this issue running a multi billion dollar business.

    I trust him. Just because.

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