Why Populism Is Popular

Affluent “elites” are well-insulated from the consequences of the policies that they promote and enact. Sometimes the elites justify those policies because they are “good” for an amorphous aggregation (“the country”, “the people”, GDP). Thus, for example, elites favor “free trade” and “open borders” because some they (supposedly) result in a net gain in GDP. That the gain is net of the losses incurred by many taxpayers and victims of crime is irrelevant to the elites.

And when elites are promoting “social justice” they favor policies that are best for a particular group, to the exclusion of other groups. It doesn’t start that way, but that’s how it ends up, because the easiest way to “make things right” for a particular group is to penalize others, as in “affirmative action”, “affordable (tax-funded) housing”, suppression of speech, etc.

You get the idea. Elites stroke their own egos in the pursuit of abstract measures of “good”, and disdain those who are harmed, calling them — among many things — “bitter clingers”, “deplorables”, and denizens of “flyover country”.

I have been guilty of elitism, but I am cured of it. I have joined the no-longer-silent majority. No-longer-silent thanks to Donald Trump — praise be!

(See also “Modern Utilitarianism“, “Rethinking Free Trade“, and “Rooted in the Real World of Real People“.)

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