“The initial embrace of populism has gained traction based largely on a belief that political disruption, as a mode of change, deserves the same status that creative destruction used to have in the post industrial era with resulting political entropy becoming one of the main sources of market volatility.”
Folks like Le Pen and Trump and Wilders know that the most efficient way to exploit these fears for political gain is to tap those voters who are least likely to push back – i.e. to incite a panic among the uneducated who think that because a woman is wearing a burqa she must also be wearing a suicide vest.
Perhaps trying to frighten voters away from the populist cause by referencing dire economic consequences isn’t the best way to go about things when there are plenty of other common sense arguments for preserving a progressive agenda and for cultivating multiculturalism.
Whether or not we, as a society, can overcome the temptation to surrender our future to a succession of demagogues remains to be seen. And indeed we may be but one tragedy away from seeing the momentum turn irreversibly in favor of politicians who seek to capitalize on fear and intolerance.