Sunday, May 03, 2015

The Problem With Populism

As I read an editorial, Americans Need Jobs, Not Populism, by Jack Markell, the Democratic governor of Delaware, I was struck by the following thought about populism--left and right:

The problem with populism is that it puts the focus on feeling good, rather than getting what you want.

Whether you're a Tea Partyer, or you're still mourning the Occupy Movement, participating in populist movement is all about feeling good.  It feels good to fill and surround yourself with righteous indignation.  But what it doesn't do is have a real impact.

Making change usually doesn't feel good.  It usually feels frustrating and boring.  You're constantly swimming upstream, while the rest of the world floats downstream, sitting in a inner tube and sipping on a cocktail.  It's a lot more fun to join a mob so you can shout slogans and high-five the true believers.

Making change is unselfish work.  Populism is selfish fun.