The Rise of Populism in Western Democracies - The Contribution of Run-Away Liberalism
Populism has deep roots in Europe and the US, has a notorious history of erupting in times of crises and is well encored in coherent ideology. The excesses of liberalism played a role in the rise of populism in the political and social systems of Western democracies by provoking a shift of the political center of gravity to the right, when considerable sections of the public lost their trust in a liberal leadership to represent their most basic concerns. These people felt that their elites do not care for their social and economic predicament in the era of globalization, undermine their solidarity system, are not willing to defend their way of life and don’t even comprehensibly speak to them anymore. The five most important manifestations of this perception that will be discussed are: nationalism, immigration, political correctness, multiculturalism and the projection of national weakness. The disappointment with run-away liberalism drove many to the other, often xenophobic and sometimes even crypto-fascistic extreme. The challenge is to move away from polarisation towards a balanced center of gravity in the center of the political spectrum.