The “Threat” of Populism

The “Threat” of Populism

by Gary Potter December 16, 2016

Following the Brexit vote in the U.K. in June and Donald Trump’s unexpected election victory mainstream media have been filled with reports about a wave of populism that supposedly threatens to wash right across the formerly Christian and now liberal West, striking fear and loathing in the hearts of the political class and liberal commentariat. Populism is labeled “extremist,” “far right,” “anti-immigrant,” and sometimes simply “fascist”.

The anxiety of the politically correct sharpened at the beginning of December due to a presidential election in Austria and a referendum vote in Italy, both of which took place on the fourth. In the event, the Austrian populist “far right” Freedom Party’s candidate for the largely ceremonial office of president lost but did secure 47 percent of the vote, possibly auguring gains for his party in parliamentary elections two years from now. In Italy Prime Minister Matteo Renzi had announced he would resign if voters rejected constitutional “reform” he sought but populists of the Five Star Movement and Northern League opposed. The opposition prevailed, Renzi resigned and populists rejoiced. Matteo Selvini, leader of the Northern League, captured their feeing in Italy and elsewhere when he tweeted, “Long live Trump, long live Putin, long live Le Pen, long live the League!”

Why do the political class and their journalist sycophants fear populism? After all, it really amounts to no more than democracy writ large.

From the point of view of the politicians and liberal journalists that is exactly the trouble with it. We need to recall a little modern history to grasp why it is so.

Most Americans would describe the governments of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany as dictatorships and they would be correct. What they sometimes fail to realize is that Italian Fascism and German National Socialism (Nazism) were also mass movements. That is, they were populist. When Allied victory in World War II led to liberals replacing defeated regimes everywhere in continental Europe west of the Iron Curtain except Catholic Spain and Portugal (which had both been neutral in the war) the parliamentary systems they set up worked like the U.S. Congress insofar as members were elected. However, the systems were also engineered so as to prevent populist movements from again becoming a decisive force. “The people” were to have a say in government, but not the wrong people, not the ones described by U.S. media after Mr. Trump’s victory as “white working class.” So it is that in France, for instance, the National Front, a fringe group thirty years ago and now the country’s second-largest party, has never held more than two or three seats in the Chamber of Deputies.

Besides the exclusion of populists, governments in Europe since World War II have been dominated by Social Democracy or its Catholic variant, Christian Democracy, designed to reconcile Church teaching with the Revolution that began to unroll when liberalism exploded politically in France in 1789. In the U.S. the Democratic Party plays the role of Social Democracy and the Republican Party that of Christian Democracy but with nothing Christian about it.

The two actually form a kind of uniparty with the Republicans allowing the Democrats to provide entitlement programs and enough other government goodies to keep the citizenry pacified, and the Democrats letting the Republicans advance the interests of Big Business and Big Finance without too much hindrance. At least that’s the way things have been. However, in a democracy everybody is supposed to be equal and a great many, beginning with the “white working class,” have come to see some members of society, not to speak of illegal immigrants and “refugees” receiving taxpayer-supported government benefits, as a lot more equal than themselves, and they are reacting against it when given the chance.

The Brexit referendum in the U.K. was such a chance. Brits who seldom or never voted in elections because they never saw candidates concerned about issues touching their lives, like workers from other E.U. countries taking jobs from them, were happy to vote for leaving the E.U. Similarly, Americans who have believed it would make no difference if they voted for a typical Democrat politician or Republican one, were electrified by the emergence on the electoral scene of Donald Trump, who is nothing if not atypical. Indeed, with forty-five Republican members of Congress announcing they wouldn’t vote for him in November, he was running without the full support of the party whose candidate he was!

This is not the occasion for speculating at length on what the populist-backed incoming Trump administration will be like except to wonder whether those who voted for him may find themselves the victims of a bait-and-switch con.That’s in view of how Mr. Trump is filling his cabinet with millionaire and billionaire former Goldman Sachs executives, defense-contractor board members, Big Oil and other corporate CEOs. One thing to be said for them: They may be more interested in doing business with Russia than in the insanity of waging a new Cold War (or worse) against the major country hated by the uniparty because it is the only one left in which Christianity (albeit schismatic) plays a visible role in the nation’s public life.

Mention of the religion leads to another observation. A miniscule section of the U.S. public, Catholics to whom moral issues are more important than pocketbook concerns, has no reason to be especially hopeful. Mr. Trump calls himself pro-life, but it is clear he will do no more about abortion than maybe try to name to the U.S. Supreme Court a Justice who might vote to reverse Roe v. Wade if the occasion arose. Contrary to what many seem to believe, reversal would not end abortion in the U.S. but simply return the question of its legality to the states. What is needed is a Constitutional Amendment protecting life from the moment of conception, as the late Nellie Gray of March for Life always knew. As for same-sex marriage, Mr. Trump made a point of inviting the support of the “LGBT community” in his acceptance speech at the G.O.P. convention and told Leslie Stahl on “Sixty Minutes” after his election that the matter is “settled” (his word). Divorce, as common in the U.S. today as marriage, is so deeply embedded in the culture as well as the law that it is not an issue, though it should be. If it were, Mr. Trump would not be in a position to take a stand against it.

That raises the question of his trustworthiness. Does he keep his promises? The ladies who used to be named Mrs. Trump might be asked.

To be sure, there was no question at all as to where Mrs. Clinton stood in regard to anything discussed here. How is it she lost? Why didn’t women voters turn out for her as it was supposed they would? Were they so sure she’d win that many — too many — didn’t bother to vote? Whatever the answer, populism, if that’s what it must be called, prevailed.

It is also not enough, and here I give voice to a view held by so few in the U.S.or elsewhere that to describe them as a miniscule section of the public would grossly exaggerate their number: What is needed is government by men of power with consciences well formed by teachings of the One True Faith, men who see the purpose of government as providing conditions enabling as many as possible to save their souls, not jobs, health care or security; government dedicated to doing what God wants instead of what “the people” think will make them happy; the kind of government that existed before the Revolution transformed Catholic Christendom into the liberal West. Its rulers were not indifferent to their subjects’ material welfare (it is leftist propaganda that the governance of Christian princes was oppressive; that they kept peasants and workers poor in order to make themselves rich) but they knew from Scripture that earthly wealth gaineth a man nothing if he loses his soul. Since such government is not likely to exist anytime soon, we’ll have to take what exists even if it is only populism, hope for the best from it, and do what we can to advance the better.

Get AQ Email Updates

3 comments on “The “Threat” of Populism

  1. Liberals and secular progressives can think of no idea why this would be happening. I mean, nobody they know voted for Trump. The globalist cabals’ and the Illuminati’s plan to destroy civilization with multiculturalism, a tsunami of anti-Western, anti-Christian migration, and the Cloward-Piven strategy to overwhelm government welfare resources has encountered an unexpected setback. They may crash and destroy Germany, Sweden, France, and the rest of Europe with this agenda, but for now the American electorate has chosen a different path.

    There will not be a sudden return to “the One True Faith” or the Social Kingship of Christ in secular politics in the U.S. any time soon. Not with Bergoglio at the helm. So don’t expect a Catholic correction to the rough edges of political culture. You can, however, make efforts to further awareness and knowledge of the true Catholic faith in your own life and family. Find a Catholic school and support it. Pray for vocations and orthodox priests. Without the orthodox Catholic faith being taught at real Catholic institutions there is very little chance of any impact on political culture. A lot of chastisements and turbulence ahead for Western civilization if current trends continue. American voters avoided the certain destruction of their country and the rest of civilization with Hillary’s socialism, multiculturalism, the culture of death, and the dictatorship of relativism by crazy pro-abortion self-hating Protestant socialists just barely without any help from the current modernist papacy which is lost in its own modernist apostasy and progressive ecumenical delusions. Buckle up, folks. This isn’t over yet. Trump’s vulgarity, grandiosity, wives, towers, and populist muscle flexing are the least of your worries. He’s not calling for your heads to be chopped off. Think about it. If you’re worrying about populists, rednecks, born agains, and the vulgarity of a New Yorker casino owner, as the main problem, you’re not in reality.

  2. Well put, Howl – as always.

    The West has been 98% lobotomized but there remain a few “Mountain Men” left here and in Europe.

    Consider the extraordinary victories which dotted Old Testament and Christian history. While most of us may not be around to see another one we might just be at that point Churchill made, following El Alamein, when he told Great Britain:

    “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

  3. If there is ever to be effective Catholic evangelization which will transform the culture, Catholicism has to be explained by competent priests and lay apologists. The case for Catholicism has to be made doctrinally at the intellectual, ideologically, moral, and spiritual levels. The errors of Protestantism and of secular humanism from the Enlightenment also have to be explained clearly. Most people are walking around uninformed with all kinds of heretical, gnostic, and anti-Catholic errors dominating their minds. Just think about the president’s anti-Catholic crack about the Crusades after the terrorist attacks in Paris a while back. That kind of anti-Catholic bigotry and liberal junk thought is deeply imbued in most people’s minds. They are not going to learn the truth in their liberal colleges or high schools.
    It all has to be explained and taught.

    Now, you are not going to do that as long as the true Catholic faith and Catholic cultural identity are being suppressed at Catholic colleges and universities by an insurgency of anti-Catholic liberal faculty imposing the Land O’Lakes conference agenda to de-Catholicize and secularize Catholic colleges. Just look what they are doing to Professor Anthony Esolen at Providence College or all of the anti-Catholic mischief taking place at Notre Dame under its modernist fruitcake administration. That kind of anti-Catholic junk thought is not going to produce a new Christendom or a New Springtime. It definitely will not bring the Social Kingship of Christ to political discourse. The whole Church has to be rebuilt and revived. At the moment we are stuck in the progressive modernist malaise of the Spirit of Vatican II and the delusions of the Bergoglian papacy. Until that changes there will be more chastisements and more tribulation. Civilization is in trouble, folks. The Illuminati and the globalist socialist cabals intend to destroy civilization. They are doing that in Europe, quite deliberately to further marginalize Christians and to subject them to attacks, harassment, and intimidation by barbarians imported from outside of Western civilization. At some point you have to ask why. They will use the chaos and lawlessness to bring about a totalitarian globalist agenda. This isn’t some “theory” from the fringe. It is happening right now before your eyes in front of everyone. The anti-Christian secret societies wanted Hillary to impose that Antichrist agenda in the U.S. which was only barely blocked by this populist movement of Trump. They will regroup and be back again. The anti-Christian secret societies have brought mayhem, carnage, rape, and terror to the streets of Europe. They will try to do the same in the U.S. unless enough people wake up. This is real. They are plotting to destroy civilization with multiculturalism and migration. When they come for the Christians, what will you do? A debate about John Rawls will be useless when anti-Christians are a majority of the population, as in some towns in Germany, Sweden, and France.

Leave a Reply