Saturday, November 30, 2019


For many people, "populism" is like the term "fascism" as George Orwell saw it: a handy negative epithet, a weapon, whose very lack of semantic precision is one of its chief attractions. Anything or anyone you don't like can be effectively impugned if you manage to employ the F word and get it to stick. But what does it mean? Ninety-nine times out of a hundred it means little more than "I don't like this person or this policy." Connoisseurs of cant will have noticed that the term "racism" has a similar all-purpose, content-free aura of malignity, but exploring that malodorous development is a topic for another day.

- Roger Kimball in Vox Populi: The Perils & Promises of Populism

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