Unless you have been living under a rock, you will know that politics has taken on a distinctly populist flavour. It could be argued that some populist opinion is, racist, sexist and myopic. Huge wealth accumulated by a few and the collapse of the economy, has allowed populist parties to widen cracks in society, through a combination of uncertainty, agitation and fear.
The populist approach to politics using phrases like: ‘standing up for the people against the elites’, and ‘the voice of the common man’, hand in hand with us being tired of ‘so-called experts’ gives power to the populist’s rhetoric, by identifying with the interests of the people.
So what do we do about it? What we need to do is to offer counter arguments to the populist challenge. We need to say, ‘We’ve got a better offer’.
Talk of the benefit of liberal institutions such as the separation of powers, the neutrality of state institutions, the defence of political pluralism and the freedom of speech, probably won’t cut it. However, we know we live well and in peace and prosperity, all things that liberal institutions have delivered.
We need to elevate arguments around the quality of life for society as a whole, the standard of living we all enjoy, our open, multi-cultural values delivered by our tolerant way of life. Democracy must defend itself in order to endure; it needs to deliver direct blows by continually countering populist charges. The suppression of knowledge and learned thinking is the last thing society needs in a time of ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’.
The world has never needed us ‘liberals’ more than it does now. At our local level, we would like you to share your thoughts on how we can deliver the fightback. Please let us know.
Stay with us to ensure you are part of this and ensure a strong liberal legacy for future generations.