“Democracy” is rule according to the will of the demos, the people, meaning those citizens who have rights and duties in a polity . Either directly or indirectly those citizens choose their country’s leadership by force of numbers. Do you agree?
“Populism” is what it’s called when a majority of the people feel they aren’t getting what they want from their government, and begin a movement or profess support for a leader who think she the same. Agreed?
I just read that democracy is a form of government, populism is an ideology. (But isn’t populism the underlying ideology in a democracy?)
Populism the ideology can be a corrective in a democratic society, when the means of choosing its leaders and legislators and/or or the protections they enjoy in power insulate them from the will of the people.
But they say, populism is dangerous , leads to autocracy and demagoguery.
Populist leaders might aggregate power to themselves only to frustrate the goals of their opponents and impose their own agenda on the nation.
Well, um……isn’t that what we mean when we echo Buraq Hussein’s immortal words: “I won. Elections have consequences.”?
Where does this leave us? People who want to govern in a democratic society like ours, have to, and do, appeal to the electorate, speak to them, win them over.
And so would a “populist”. Right?
I get that to “compare” democracy to populism is an apples/oranges type thing if populism is “only” a philosophy and democracy is a comprehensive system of government.
And I get that democracy contains checks to prevent “tyranny of the majority”, but it occurs to me that that’s idea might occur to a populist as well: there’s nobody in America, (or there didn’t used to be) who doesn’t see herself as sui generis. Our most beloved poem, I read somewhere, is Frost’s The Road Not Taken. We all like to think we took the road less travelled. Populism as an ideology in America does not mean voluntarily succumbing to mind control; it means the opposite.
So Ratty, I am humbly asking:
Why is democracy good, populism bad?