We are a public forum committed to collective reasoning and the imagination of a more just world. Join today to help us keep the discussion of ideas free and open to everyone, and enjoy member benefits like our quarterly books.
In the UK, much to the Prime Minister’s chagrin, the House of Commons approved another delay to Brexit this week. In response, the government trotted out its favorite sound bite: this is just another example of “the people versus parliament.”
Intended to tap into populist disdain for the elite, this canny messaging strategy from Boris Johnson and his team raises questions about the nature of populism. For instance, if workers are angry with market-driven inequalities, why are they gravitating towards leaders who are cozy with crony capitalists?
The essays in today’s reading list seek to answer this question and more, deftly peeling back the perfunctory explanation of populism as simply “anti-elite” sentiment. David Runciman argues that populism is a product of peace; Jan-Werner Müller contends that it is not anti-establishment but anti-pluralist; Cas Mudde writes that Trump is not a populist; and Jason Frank believes that the term is a trojan horse that distracts us from the real causes of democratic decline.
We’re also excited to bring you a brand new essay from Udi Greenberg on the relationship between populism and Christian Democracy. The political philosophy embraced by Germany’s leading party helped reunite Europe after World War II, but can it guide us safely away from today’s populism—or did it cause it?
Forget retraining and compensation programs. History offers a better way forward.
Vital reading on politics, literature, and more in your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter, Monthly Roundup, and event notifications.
As Roe is struck down by the Supreme Court, we bring together recent and archival essays to assess what is at stake—and how we might move from reproductive rights to reproductive justice.
Theorist Hil Malatino offers a compelling account of the persistent bad feelings with which trans people often struggle—but it comes with fashionable academic hang-ups that need to be reconsidered.
The systems that harm animals go hand in hand with systems that harm humans. Combating them requires inter-species solidarity.