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The problem with populism


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When the majority gets its way to the maximum possible, the prevalence of human cruelty means that they will get their way with great cruelty.

 

Here is a foreign example:

Pakistani professor sentenced to death for blasphemy.

 

From the article:

A Punjab governor was killed by his own guard in 2011 after he defended a Christian woman, Aasia Bibi, who was accused of blasphemy.

 

Some American evangelicals want a Christian theocracy. Here you'll find information, and a list of groups that want a theocracy.

 

The reason they don't want immigration, especially immigration of people from non-evangelical cultures, is that the greater their majority, the fewer will be the people that complain when their rights are infringed. When the Constitution is misinterpreted. When apostasy and atheism are hanging crimes.

 

Trump panders to these people, and these people's leaders kiss up to Trump. The recent fawning over Trump by evangelicals after a Christian magazine wrote an anti-Trump editorial, is a prime example. Christian dominionists want old testament cruelty, and want a society where "the other" must pay homage to Christian values.

 

That means:

- mandatory Christian prayer in school

- abortion punishable like first degree murder

- homosexuality punishable by death

- atheism punishable by life in prison or slavery

- pre-marital sex punishable by prison sentences

- return to slavery in general, since that's biblical

 

The cure is the presence of many minorities that disagree on religious matters, and therefore want religious freedom.

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Great point about the danger of 'tyranny of the majority'.

 

2 hours ago, laripu said:

The cure is the presence of many minorities that disagree on religious matters, and therefore want religious freedom.

  

If religion were the only 'majority' to worry about, then religious diversity might be a solution.   

 

If your goal is to increase religious diversity in the USA, you might want to enforce current immigration law (humanely, of course).

 

The majority (74%) of immigrants who don't follow our immigration policy come from countries with large Christian majorities: Mexico (93%), El Salvador (82%), Guatemala (87%), Honduras (76%), Phillipines (92%), etc.     The Christian percentage in the USA is only about 74%.   Based on this, I'd say that undocumented immigration is decreasing our religious diversity.  (all data from Wikipedia)  

 

Since majorities can be formed around many different organizing principles in addition to religion, we need something more than religious diversity to protect us.  The founders definitely knew the risk, hence various restrictions were put in the Constitution and later augmented with the Bill of Rights.  But, those constitutional limitations on the majority are only effective so long as the majority tolerates them.  Once the majority stops respecting the Constitution, all bets are off.  

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29 minutes ago, Renegade said:

The majority (74%) of immigrants who don't follow our immigration policy come from countries with large Christian majorities: Mexico (93%), El Salvador (82%), Guatemala (87%), Honduras (76%), Phillipines (92%), etc.     The Christian percentage in the USA is only about 74%.   Based on this, I'd say that undocumented immigration is decreasing our religious diversity.  (all data from Wikipedia)  

 

I believe that's incorrect. The majority that offers the danger, are ultra right wing Dominionists. The immigrants are Central and South American Catholics, imbued (at least in part) with the left-influenced liberation theology. They all call themselves Christians, but the actual beliefs of the two groups couldn't be further from each other.

 

The immigrants will be on the left as long as they stay Catholic. Now, I have seen some Hispanic people who were converted to an evangelical sect, and they became doctrinaire and anti-gay, despite their daughter being lesbian and married to a woman. Even they dislike Trump, but their pastor pushes Trump. (God works in mysterious ways, right? So mysterious in fact, that he choosea the least godly person to do the most anti-Christian things on the southern border, while saying that no one has done more for religion.)

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1 hour ago, Renegade said:

These are a majority?

 

I miswrote. Should have been potential majority. And it should have been clearer that the Dominionists want to use all right wing Christians to take over. They have a plan, which you can read in one of the links.

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On 12/22/2019 at 1:07 PM, laripu said:

When the majority gets its way to the maximum possible, the prevalence of human cruelty means that they will get their way with great cruelty.

 

This is often true when the populist majority is religious and conservative.  Not so much when a populist majority tends to be mostly secular and liberal-leaning.  However, many churches and sects maintain liberal sentiments and ethos. 

 

That said, there are many variants of Left Wing populism, Right Wing populism, and religious populism, around the world.  Plus, in some Third World nations, religion and politics are inextricably intertwined.

 

======================================================================================================================

 

Ideals and themes often associated with Left Wing Populism:

-  Social justice.

-  Egalitarian ideals:---  Anti racism, anti sexism, anti ethnic bigotry, anti religious hatred.

-  Advocating for the common people

-  Economic justice

-  Regulation of capitalism

-  Anti plutocracy

-  Limiting the power of elites

-  Tending toward pacifism;  Anti-militarism

-  Anti globalism:--  Oppose multinational corporations having unregulated political power, exercised through trade agreements and deregulated financial markets.

 

Ideals and themes often associated with Right Wing Populism:

-  Nativism;  Oppose immigration

-  Discrimination against other groups unlike themselves.  Including racism, hatred of Jews and opposition to Islam and Muslims.

-  Sexism

-  Protectionism:--  Tariffs, import quotas and the like.

-  Anti environmentalism;  Including denial of Anthropogenic Global Warming.

-  Welfare Chauvinism

-  In the US:--  Pro gun rights.

-  In the US:--  Anti abortion

-  In the US:--  Pro economic elites

-  In the US:--  Anti intellectualism;  Including existential rejection of evidence when it conflicts with accepted dogma. 

-  In the US:--  Regionalism, Nationalism and Traditionalism

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-wing_populism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-globalization_movement

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right-wing_populism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleoconservatism

 

===========================================================================================================================

 

In nations which have embraced Left Wing Populism, laws have been put in place, and policies applied which reduce human cruelty to a minimum.  Example: New Zealand.   In places where Right Wing Populism prevails, not so much.  Example:  Saudi Arabia.

 

https://medium.com/the-philipendium/the-10-most-repressive-countries-in-the-world-and-the-10-most-free-fc17035e6ae0

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/26/dont-be-deluded-our-saudi-partners-are-masters-of-repression

 

 

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4 hours ago, bludog said:

Ideals and themes often associated with Left Wing Populism:

 

Left wing populism can also drift toward oppression, in some cases.

 

In particular, there are always competing rights and left wing populists will sometimes prioritize some over others in a way that becomes oppressive.

 

In Scandinavian countries, children's rights and animal rights take priority over religious rights of Jews and Muslims, in the area of male circumcision and ritual slaughter. Both of these activities are practiced by both Jews and Muslims, albeit slightly differently in the details. If these activities are made illegal, which seems to be what's happening, then neither practising Jews nor practising Muslims can live in these countries. (We're not talking about crazed fanatics, just regular liberal practising members of both faiths.) The far right likes and encourages this kind of debate, because they're against Jews and Muslims to begin with. See: https://www.timesofisrael.com/jews-join-fight-against-swedish-partys-call-to-ban-circumcisions/

 

In Quebec, the government has passed a law that prevents anyone in a civil service job (including police, teachers, government lawyers etc) from wearing any religious symbols at work. A Sikh cannot wear a turban. A Jew cannot wear a head covering. An elementary school teacher was fired for wearing a hijab. You can't have a visible cross or star of David. Civil rights coalitions have gone to court to try to get parts of the law struck down. I agree with the part that says you must have your face uncovered for ID pictures, like driving licenses. See: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quebec_ban_on_religious_symbols

 

Also, when you get a populist government of any kind, it becomes a tool for authoritarians to win their way in. Cruel sociopathic people can wear a liberal mask as easily as a conservative one. They gravitate to where they can take power, left or right, and turn it to their benefit. Therefore, I prefer governments limited by their constitutions.

 

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3 hours ago, laripu said:

 

Left wing populism can also drift toward oppression, in some cases.

 

In particular, there are always competing rights and left wing populists will sometimes prioritize some over others in a way that becomes oppressive.

 

In Scandinavian countries, children's rights and animal rights take priority over religious rights of Jews and Muslims, in the area of male circumcision and ritual slaughter. Both of these activities are practiced by both Jews and Muslims, albeit slightly differently in the details. If these activities are made illegal, which seems to be what's happening, then neither practising Jews nor practising Muslims can live in these countries. (We're not talking about crazed fanatics, just regular liberal practising members of both faiths.) The far right likes and encourages this kind of debate, because they're against Jews and Muslims to begin with. See: https://www.timesofisrael.com/jews-join-fight-against-swedish-partys-call-to-ban-circumcisions/

 

In Quebec, the government has passed a law that prevents anyone in a civil service job (including police, teachers, government lawyers etc) from wearing any religious symbols at work. A Sikh cannot wear a turban. A Jew cannot wear a head covering. An elementary school teacher was fired for wearing a hijab. You can't have a visible cross or star of David. Civil rights coalitions have gone to court to try to get parts of the law struck down. I agree with the part that says you must have your face uncovered for ID pictures, like driving licenses. See: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quebec_ban_on_religious_symbols

 

Also, when you get a populist government of any kind, it becomes a tool for authoritarians to win their way in. Cruel sociopathic people can wear a liberal mask as easily as a conservative one. They gravitate to where they can take power, left or right, and turn it to their benefit. Therefore, I prefer governments limited by their constitutions.

 

we should always understand the narrative in any democracy. The left-wing, is the narrative for the someone like Bernie Sanders, but he is not calling for the state to take over all means of production, he is only calling for the end of a rigged system of economic corruption. We need freedom of the press, and we need to somehow stop all the lies. The IMF recently proclaimed that in 2020 we will have a 5.7 trillion dollar subsidy towards the use of fossil fuels worldwide. All people require the right towards good healthcare. We have too many homeless folks in the US - and around the world. We need to stop the use of fossil fuels, and also stop the wars, and feed the poor - that should be the number one focus. And we all know that this is no easy feat.

http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/greenhouse-gas-emissions-and-the-right-to-dump-sewage-on-your-lawn

 

Peace!

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17 hours ago, laripu said:

Left wing populism can also drift toward oppression, in some cases.

 

In particular, there are always competing rights and left wing populists will sometimes prioritize some over others in a way that becomes oppressive.

 

In Scandinavian countries, children's rights and animal rights take priority over religious rights of Jews and Muslims, in the area of male circumcision and ritual slaughter. Both of these activities are practiced by both Jews and Muslims, albeit slightly differently in the details. If these activities are made illegal, which seems to be what's happening, then neither practising Jews nor practising Muslims can live in these countries. (We're not talking about crazed fanatics, just regular liberal practising members of both faiths.) The far right likes and encourages this kind of debate, because they're against Jews and Muslims to begin with. See: https://www.timesofisrael.com/jews-join-fight-against-swedish-partys-call-to-ban-circumcisions/

 

The problem here is not Left Wing populism but a recent swing to the right.  Far right parties have made big gains throughout Europe, over fears of immigration resulting from armed conflicts in the Mid East and North Africa.  Currently, Right Wing populist thinking in Sweden and Scandinavia, is to keep the welfare state but deny its benefits to non-Scandinavians.  The introduction of this discriminatory law in Sweden is a concession to Right Wing populist gains in the Swedish government.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-sweden-election/sweden-faces-political-deadlock-after-gains-by-far-right-party-idUSKCN1LO0V6

 

 

17 hours ago, laripu said:

In Quebec, the government has passed a law that prevents anyone in a civil service job (including police, teachers, government lawyers etc) from wearing any religious symbols at work. A Sikh cannot wear a turban. A Jew cannot wear a head covering. An elementary school teacher was fired for wearing a hijab. You can't have a visible cross or star of David. Civil rights coalitions have gone to court to try to get parts of the law struck down. I agree with the part that says you must have your face uncovered for ID pictures, like driving licenses. See: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quebec_ban_on_religious_symbols

 

Quebec province lies to the political right of the rest of Canada, which has a policy of multiculturalism.  Essentially the law (Bill 21) is Islamophobic but in order to justify it, the Quebec government has had to appear impartial, across all religions.  For decades, a large cross hung on the wall of the provincial Parliament in Quebec City, but was recently taken down.  The government initially argued that the cross was cultural, not religious, but finally took it down, in an attempt to show that Bill 21 applies equally to all religions.

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2019/07/quebec-bans-religious-symbols/593998/

 

17 hours ago, laripu said:

Also, when you get a populist government of any kind, it becomes a tool for authoritarians to win their way in. Cruel sociopathic people can wear a liberal mask as easily as a conservative one. They gravitate to where they can take power, left or right, and turn it to their benefit.

 

Populist or not, it takes constant vigilance on the part of the citizenry to prevent subversion of representative governments by authoritarians.  Unfortunately, there is a powerful tendency for people to become complacent;  Often reacting, only when an authoritarian takeover is far advanced.

 

17 hours ago, laripu said:

Therefore, I prefer governments limited by their constitutions.

 

Constitutions are more often limited by governments, than the other way around.

 

The intent and fundamental meaning of any constitution can be radically altered by subsequent governmental interpretation.  For instance, The US supreme court has absurdly ruled that money is essentially free speech, thus subverting the original intent and purpose of the first amendment.  Constitutions can also be ignored with impunity.  Currently, US lawmakers disregard our Constitution whenever they have a ruling majority:  Like the proposed, sham, Senate impeachment trial.

 

All the Scandinavian countries have constitutions.   Canada has an uncodified constitution.  Even the province of Quebec has its own constitution.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_national_constitutions

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Quebec

 

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51 minutes ago, bludog said:

Quebec province lies to the political right of the rest of Canada, which has a policy of multiculturalism. 

 

While Canada does have a policy of multiculturalism, Quebec is not in the political right. It has strong benefits and worker protections. It's only "right-wing" issue is language/culture, where it prioritizes French over everything. There are historical reasons for that attitude. They fear assimilation in the anglo majority in North America.

 

The province in Canada that is the most right-wing is Alberta. They're like Canada's Texas: conservatives, cowboys, and oil.

 

54 minutes ago, bludog said:

Populist or not, it takes constant vigilance on the part of the citizenry to prevent subversion of representative governments by authoritarians.  Unfortunately, there is a powerful tendency for people to become complacent;  Often reacting, only when an authoritarian takeover is far advanced.

 

I agree with this completely.

 

54 minutes ago, bludog said:

Canada has an uncodified constitution.  Even the province of Quebec has its own constitution.

 

Canada's constitution is codified. It was originally called the British North America Act, BNA Act for short, and resided in the British parliamentary system before being repatriated to Canada in 1982. It is now called the Constitution Act. Accompanying it is the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These two parts do exactly what the US constitution and amendments do: describe the government and enumerate rights. They are codified, written laws, and just as in the US, it's called the supreme law of the land.

 

The worst part of it is the "Notwithstanding Clause" that allows the Federal government or the provincial governments to temporarily violate some aspects of the constitution. Even those violations are temporary, though, at most 5 years.

 

The fact that Quebec has it's own constitution is unremarkable. Every US state has it's own constitution.

 

Here are some links:

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Canada

 

https://thecanadaguide.com/government/the-constitution/

 

My point is this: just because something/someone/some idea is on the left, that doesn't make it perfect. Most of the time it will be better than a competing right wing thing/person/idea, but certainly not every single time without fail.

 

These political constructs are made by fallible, imperfect people, and are consequently fallible and imperfect. The road to hell is not paved with good intentions, but there are plenty of lanes off that road, leading to bad ends.

 

What I agree with is this: the left, with the attitude that we should organize to benefit everyone (not just the rich) will almost always do something better than the right. But caveat: almost.

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24 minutes ago, laripu said:

My point is this: just because something/someone/some idea is on the left, that doesn't make it perfect. Most of the time it will be better than a competing right wing thing/person/idea, but certainly not every single time without fail.

 

These political constructs are made by fallible, imperfect people, and are consequently fallible and imperfect. The road to hell is not paved with good intentions, but there are plenty of lanes off that road, leading to bad ends.

 

What I agree with is this: the left, with the attitude that we should organize to benefit everyone (not just the rich) will almost always do something better than the right. But caveat: almost.

 

Very well put.  Nothing is perfect and in politics, that goes double at least.

 

24 minutes ago, laripu said:

While Canada does have a policy of multiculturalism, Quebec is not in the political right. It has strong benefits and worker protections. It's only "right-wing" issue is language/culture, where it prioritizes French over everything. There are historical reasons for that attitude. They fear assimilation in the anglo majority in North America.

 

Although Quebec might be progressive in other ways, the passage of Bill 21 shows a level of bigotry consistent with much of Right Wing thought, today.  No doubt the French speaking people of Quebec are insecure about losing their unique identity.  There are always reasons, but they still don't justify discrimination based on religion or ethnicity.

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33 minutes ago, bludog said:

No doubt the French speaking people of Quebec are insecure about losing their unique identity.  There are always reasons, but they still don't justify discrimination based on religion or ethnicity.

 

That's one of the reasons we no longer live there. (Along with winter.)

 

When the secessionist Parti Québecois lost their referendum for sovereignty in 1995 by 50.6 to 49.4, with a turnout of over 93.5%, the leader of that party said in his concession speech that the reason was "l'argent et la votes ethnique": money and the ethnic vote. (Video below.) There was clearly resentment to anyone that preferred English, and that included ethnic immigrants, like my parents and my wife.

 

My wife is German, and I'm Jewish. We watched it on TV. She turned to me and said "Do you know who he reminds me of?"

 

We were determined to get out. Now we have Trump. There's no heaven on Earth no matter where you go. But at least, in Tampa, right this afternoon, it's a sunny 75° December day.

 

 

 

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