Category Archives: populism

A sure way to revive German nationalism

Oddly enough, the Germans don’t seem keen to furnish the bazooka

Impose redistributive loans on Berlin for Keynesian purposes!

Dalrymple observes that negative-yielding bonds, representing a quarter of debt issued, are

hardly a resounding vote of confidence in the future. They are like an umbrella to protect us from an approaching monsoon.

He points out that economic gloom

is growing in Europe, where growth remains low and youth unemployment in many countries is high.

Yet-lower interest rates, penalising savers,

will not revive EU countries’ economies. Having lost control of their currencies as a result of monetary union, these countries cannot apply a fiscal stimulus.

Lagarde thinks she has the answer

We hear calls, echoed recently by Christine Lagarde, for a large European budget that can apply a stimulus to various countries as necessary. Such a budget, Dalrymple explains,

is seen by some as an antidote to the growth of populist nationalism in Europe, supposedly the consequence of the continent’s economic woes. An editorial in the Guardian, daily bible of the bien-pensants of much of the English-speaking world, was headed: The nationalism that taps into people’s angst and dislocation can be effectively challenged with a bazooka of a eurozone budget. In other words, if only governments of countries in which populism—that is to say, the popularity of one’s opponents—spent enough money to revive their economies, the people would return to their senses and re-enter the social-democratic fold that has served Europe so well—even if it led to the present trouble.

Where will the firepower of the proposed bazooka come from?

There can be only one answer under the present dispensation: from Germany. Oddly enough, the Germans don’t seem keen to furnish the bazooka. They have had some recent experience of large-scale lending, and it was not altogether happy in its results, economic or political.

A genuinely closer political union (the supposed aim of the European Union, but which Europeans have repeatedly said they do not want) might impose redistributive loans on Germany for Keynesian purposes—other countries in the EU outvoting Berlin.

It’s not easy to imagine the Germans accepting this. There could hardly be a better way to revive German nationalism, one of the eventualities that is the target of the proposed bazooka to destroy.

The situation would be even more dangerous because Germany

has achieved its pre-eminent economic position, in part, by not allowing a commensurate increase in the standard of living of its people, who may not be pleased to play the role assigned them by the EU. Polls already suggest that this is so.

How populist judicial sentimentalism corrupts

Dalrymple writes that the award in the case of Dewayne Johnson is

intrinsically absurd, very corrupting, and based more upon populist sentimentality than reason or justice. An unfortunate person of humble status faced a giant company, and it was tempting to suppose that ordinary people speak only the truth while large corporations only tell lies.

But

vice and virtue, truth and untruth, good fortune and bad are not so conveniently distributed. Populism in justice is probably more destructive in the long run than populism in politics.

The Leftist populist Mélenchon’s appeal to envy and hatred

Dalrymple reports that Jean-Luc Mélenchon recently spoke to a crowd demonstrating against Emmanuel Macron’s proposed changes to labour laws, and

recited the fact (if it was a fact) that France had more millionaires than any other country in Europe.

This was, Dalrymple points out,

an appeal to envy and hatred—the kind of envy and hatred that has provoked at least as much mass murder as racial hatred.

Indeed, Dalrymple notes,

the two have often been closely associated, for what anti-Semite ever fails to draw attention to the economic success of Jews?

The word ‘millionaire’ as Mélenchon — himself a millionaire, of course — uttered it was intended to evoke,

by a Pavlovian reflex, an exploitative, parasitic, fat, lazy, cynical, privileged, dishonest, heartless and undeservedly lucky person, possibly still wearing a black tail coat and silk top hat, with a cigar stuck firmly between his fat and sybaritic lips.

The populist appeal to envy, spite, and resentment

Dalrymple reports that

Mr McDonnell, deputy leader of the Labour party, which for the time being is in opposition, recently objected to the presence of hereditary peers in the upper house, using the crude and vulgar language typical of populist politicians anxious to demonstrate their identity with the people or the masses.

It is strange, Dalrymple adds,

how rarely Leftists who are in favour of confiscatory economic policies are condemned as populist.

Dangerous populism of May and Corbyn

Dalrymple writes that the British socialist politicians Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn tout their policies as ones of fairness, equality and social justice, while Nigel Farage presents his policies as being in the name of democracy and national sovereignty. Yet it is only Farage who is branded ‘populist’. In fact, Dalrymple points out, the instincts which they all rely on are equally well able to serve sadistic purposes if extended far enough; economic egalitarianism has caused at least as many violent deaths as nationalism.

Waarom is meneer Corbyn geen populist terwijl meneer Farage een populist is? Het moet zijn, denk ik dan, dat zowel mevrouw May en meneer Corbyn hun beleid presenteren in de naam van eerlijkheid, gelijkheid en sociale rechtvaardigheid, terwijl meneer Farage zijn beleid presenteert in de naam van democratie en nationale soevereiniteit. Maar in feite zijn de instincten waarop ze allemaal een beroep doen net zo goed in staat om sadistische doelen te dienen indien ze ver genoeg worden doorgetrokken; economisch egalitarisme heeft minstens evenveel gewelddadige doden veroorzaakt dan extreem nationalisme.

Grave errors of the Greeks

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 08.07.10

Time for many Greeks to look in the mirror

Political and popular dishonesty

Greek politicians, writes Dalrymple, erred in

offering a substantial proportion of the Greek population a standard of living that was economically unjustified, maintained for a time by borrowing, and in the long run unsustainable, in return for votes. They borrowed the money and then dispensed largesse, like monarchs throwing coins to the multitudes.

The Greek people erred in

accepting the bribe that the politicians offered; they were only too prepared to live well at someone else’s expense.

Cradle of democratic corruption

Popular dishonesty is a problem

wherever the universal franchise is unaccompanied by widespread virtues such as honesty, self-control, providence, prudence, and self-respect.

A reduction in their salaries and perquisites of many Greeks

is not only economically necessary but just.

Ukip must be declared beyond the pale, unclean, like a mediæval leper

The British state broadcaster is determined to place issues raised by the populists beyond the range of permissible political discussion. You can have any opinion you like, so long as it is ours.

The British state broadcaster is determined to place issues raised by right-wing populists (as opposed to left-wing populists) beyond the range of permissible political discussion. You can have any opinion you like, so long as it is ours.

 

How opponents of Europe’s corrupt political caste are branded fascist

Screen Shot 2014-05-31 at 22.45.05The European populist earthquake

It is nothing of the kind, writes Dalrymple. Neither the Front national nor Ukip

will achieve more than a slight, mildly unpleasant change in the rhetoric (not the policy) of the others. Europe will continue on its corporatist path, on its decline relative to other regions, while its political caste brands any who oppose it as xenophobes and fascists.