Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Populist health politics, the ultimate nightmare in the post-truth society

What is populism?

Nowadays populism is on the rise, unfortunately. Politicians embrace such option because we are in the post-truth society. As far as truth or facts are not relevant, populists may create false frames without any scruples. A worrying trend, and this is the reason why some people disconnect from public affairs, since it is so difficult to accept such exposure to ficticious reality. In my country, the health minister created a false frame (and he succeded on that, at least up to now). He said that he would "deprivatise" hospitals while hospital privatisation had not occurred formerly, only exceptional contracting out was necessary in certain situations with unattended demand. You can't undo what you have not done before.
Anyway, if you want to know the basis of populist strategists you should read this book :
Populism's core is a rejection of pluralism. Populists will always claim that they and they alone represent the people and their true interests. Müller also shows that, contrary to conventional wisdom, populists can govern on the basis of their claim to exclusive moral representation of the people: if populists have enough power, they will end up creating an authoritarian state that excludes all those not considered part of the proper "people." The book proposes a number of concrete strategies for how liberal democrats should best deal with populists and, in particular, how to counter their claims to speak exclusively for "the silent majority" or "the real people."
Two comments:
"Populism is not just antiliberal, it is antidemocratic—the permanent shadow of representative politics. That's Jan-Werner Müller's argument in this brilliant book. There is no better guide to the populist passions of the present."—Ivan Krastev, International New York Times
"No one has written more insightfully and knowledgeably about Europe's recent democratic decay than Jan-Werner Müller. Here Müller confronts head on the key questions raised by the resurgence of populism globally. How is it different from other kinds of politics, why is it so dangerous, and how can it be overcome? Müller's depiction of populism as democracy's antipluralist, moralistic shadow is masterful."—Dani Rodrik, Harvard University
Sadly, populism is on the right and on the left, they adopt the same strategies and they finally will undermine democracy. Now is the moment to keep away from populism, to fight against populism.


PS. In the last chapter you'll find the right strategy to fight populism, 10 actions:
6. Populists should be criticized for what they are—a real danger to democracy (and not just to “liberalism”). But that does not mean that one should not engage them in political debate. Talking with populists is not the same as talking like populists. One can take the problems they raise seriously without accepting the ways in which they frame these problems.
PS. In London Review of Books, Jan-Werner Müller says:
Populists aren’t just fantasy politicians; what they say and do can be in response to real grievances, and can have very real consequences. But it is important to appreciate that they aren’t just like other politicians, with a bit more rabble-rousing rhetoric thrown in. They define an alternative political reality in which their monopoly on the representation of the ‘real people’ is all that matters: in Trump’s case, an alt-reality under the auspices of the alt-right. At best, populists will waste years for their countries, as Berlusconi did in Italy. In the US, this will probably mean a free hand for K Street lobbyists and all-out crony capitalism (or, in the case of Trump, maybe capitalism in one family); continual attempts to undermine checks and balances (including assaults on judges as enemies of the people when they rule against what real citizens want; and life being made extremely difficult for the media); and government as a kind of reality TV show with plenty of bread and circuses. And the worst case? Regime change in the United States of America.

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