Lessons from Brexit

Fatuous, irresponsible, autarchic, populism works. The more ridiculous the prophetic demagogue, the more successful in deluding his/her followers. Xenophobia masquerades as elitophobia. Lambasting the elites becomes a perfect springboard for instant popularity.

From Benito Mussolini and Juan Domingo Peron to Hugo Chavez, Marine LePen, and Donald Trump, populist mountebanks have exploited popular fears, uncertainties, neuroses. None of these anxieties vanished under the populist regimes. On the contrary, they exacerbated. Populism is a secular chilasm, it promises salvation hic et numc. In this respect, charismatic populism, Trump-style, is a form of fundamentalism. It indulges in cheap fantasies and turns citizens into subjects of abject manipulations. It does not recoli from blatant lies. On the contrary, it despises truth and cultivates illusions.

Populism is rooted in the myth of le bon sauvage, it exalts an uncorrupted, idealized “people” and demonizes the “soulless plutocrats” and the “rootless cosmopolitans.” In Hungary, the populists abhor Budapest (“Judapest”), in the US they detest New York, the East Coast etc The paleo-symbolic infrastructure of populism is a purifying utopia…

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