Populism


‘The rain is coming,’ Camp promised

 ‘Are you a politician or the weather man?’

 ‘You’re right, they both make promises and are only right half of the time.’

‘It seems that the ‘new world order’ – to borrow a phrase from the conspiracists which allege a secretly emerging totalitarian world government – is happening in increments with populist leaders and governments gaining traction from Hungary to Sweden and Italy and close to home in Alberta,’ I said.

‘Don’t forget Iran which is a religious dictatorship or China which is now a de facto totalitarian state with the usual tools like strict censorship, political and cultural repression and jail for those who oppose Xi and his reign of fear and tyranny,’ Camp said.

‘I read about the ‘bridge man’, the lone protester who hung a banner from a busy overpass thousands of miles from the Beijing congress. Let me read you what it said: ‘Life not zero-Covid policy freedom not martial-law lockdown, dignity not lies, reform not cultural revolution, votes not dictatorship, citizens not slaves.’

Of course, this action has been furiously scrubbed from Chinese social media and Xi has now been confirmed as Emperor for life. He wants to be bigger than Mao.’

‘Nothing good will come of it, not for the Chinese, not for the world,’ I said.

‘All these populists have simple answers to complex problems, make promises they cannot finance and blame the usual scapegoats like the socialists, the LBGTQ’s, the Jews and always the so-called liberals and socialists.’

‘But there are simple answers Camp,’ I said: ‘Be kind, share the bounty, listen to your elders, make love not war, be happy not sad, help one another and above all respect each other.’

‘You’re a hopeless romantic,’ Camp laughed, but platitudes and sentiments will not cure the ills of this world. People don’t just want simple answers, they want secure social structures where they don’t have to think a lot and leaders who have all the solutions.’

‘We’ve seen all this before from populist politicians who deflect and deny everything from climate change to vaccinations, just look east to Alberta where we now have a reality denier at the helm or what about the biggest clusterfuck of them all: Brexit.’

‘We know that whatever course is suggested by the evidence, science and common knowledge, populists will always champion the opposite choice. It’s never about debate or the issues but about being seen as ‘defying the experts and creating an alternative set of facts, about being radically different and claiming that control can only be in the hands of those who stand up for ‘the little guy’, ‘the misunderstood minority’, against the elitist establishment and the powerful and priviledged. When in fact the opposite is the case.’

‘And the truth becomes the lie,’ I said.

‘Yes, all under the guise of defending the ‘real people’ against the hordes of immigrants, foreigners and the socialist hordes. Rather than discuss and disseminate the facts and issues with the people, the populists of today (and yesterday) play to their emotions and sentiments with simplistic slogans like ‘America First’ and righteous claims that laws, health and safety mandates are restraining their freedoms.’ 

‘The populists fantasy universe contains an infinite variety of promises and wonders, even miracles like billions of unfunded tax cuts as lately seen in the tragic comedy of errors playing out in England.’

‘Here on the Sunshine Coast, we now have new municipal and regional governments which will tackle the local issues like water management and controversial building projects, short term rentals and housing problems and if there should be fireworks or not this summer.’

We asked Vicky if she was in favour of fireworks during summer festivals.

‘Not really,’ she said. ‘They cost too much, scare all the dogs and wild life and pollute the environment.’

‘I agree,’ Camp said. ‘Let’s spend the money on free beer for all.’

‘Who is the romantic now,’ I said and the elections are over.’ 

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