- by Gitabushi
Have you noticed the mainstream media, pundits, and even Democratic Party officials are decrying populism lately? Actually, if you pay attention to the news at all, I don’t see how you could miss it. Barrels of ink have been spilled by the Democrat Operatives with Bylines (Glenn Reynolds’ characterization of the mainstream media, although the phrase has been taken up by his guest blogger, Ed Driscoll, as shown by the posts in the link) decrying populism since Donald Trump won the election.
Barrels of ink could be spilled exploring the phenomenon that populism, a cornerstone of Democratic Party policy and power, is suddenly a problem when Republicans embrace it (temporarily or not).
They hate populism because Trump rode a wave of populism to win the election.
As I am fond of noting, to Progressives/Leftists, “democracy” is whatever gives them power or helps them retain it, and “fascism” is any process or act that results in them losing power. That’s why every Republican is always Literally Hitler.
If Populism is so bad, what is the opposite of Populism? Elitism? Has that served us well?
Actually, I think the opposite of Populism is Principles.
Populism is the notion that whatever the majority of The People want to happen should become law simply because the people want it. Usually the Court system is the way Leftists make this argument, but they will use Congress when they can (“We have to pass the law to find out what’s in it”), and lately have fallen in love with Executive Orders (“If Congress doesn’t act, I will“). And, of course, mob rule has also been one of their favorite weapons, if it is their mob and their rule.
Principle is when you want to follow the rules, even if it harms you personally; and when you want to follow the system, even if it makes it more difficult to do the things that are already obvious should be done.
An example: I am currently a government contractor. It is not a bad way to make a living, but there is no security. The contract you work under is usually re-competed every year, and another company could win the bid at any time. The rules for your employment are also far less friendly than that of government employees. I would like to be employed by the government. In fact, I have even applied for a position. Donald Trump promised he would institute a hiring freeze on government employees. If I voted in a populist manner, I would have voted for Hillary Clinton. It was actually voting against my personal interests to vote for Donald Trump. I stuck with principles. I want the future to be better for my children and grand children. I think that as bad as Trump might be, electing Hillary Clinton to be POTUS will result in her establishing many more incentives that will make life worse for all people in my children’s and grandchildren’s adult life.
So what is Elitism, then?
In my opinion, Elitism is merely Populism for Elites. The Elites want a huge influx of Illegal Immigrants, so they get the huge influx, even if the federal government has to sue to keep a state from enforcing federal laws. The Elites want same sex marriage to be legal, and so a fundamental Right to Marriage suddenly appears where none existed before.
I assert that we should resist and reject Populism in all its forms. We should follow the laws of the United States, as written. If we do not like the laws, they should be changed by the processes allowed to us. Executive Orders should not be used to legislate. Executive Orders should not be allowed to stipulate not enforcing duly-enacted laws. The Supreme Court should never re-write a law to make it Constitutional, like it did in Obergefell and “Obamacare” rulings. If a law is UnConstitutional, it should be temporarily halted until Congress writes a new law.
Maybe we need a Constitutional Amendment to establish the process by which SCOTUS strikes down laws and how they are then re-written? Because I don’t think it would be helpful to the United States if a law was passed, then overturned by the Supreme Court, but the rewriting vetoed by a President who didn’t want the law. Without any rules for the process, the system could be exploited for Leftist gain. More than it already is, I mean.
And while we’re at it, I think we need to develop a Constitutional Process for the other two branches to be able to overrule SCOTUS in some circumstances. SCOTUS deciding to re-write laws to fit what it considered Populist Wishes, and the inability for anyone to stop it, is the biggest gap in our system of checks and balances.