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In Defense of Populism

by Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg:

DAVOS MAN: “A soulless man, technocratic, nationless and cultureless, severed from reality. The modern economics that undergirded Davos capitalism is equally soulless, a managerial capitalism that reduces economics to mathematics and separates it from human action and human creativity.”

– From the post: “For the Sake of Capitalism, Pepper Spray Davos

One thing I’ve been very careful about not doing over the years is self-identifying under any particular political ideology. I articulated my reasoning in the post, Thank You and Welcome New Readers – A Liberty Blitzkrieg Mission Statement:

I am not a Democrat or a Republican. I do not consider myself a libertarian, progressive, socialist, anarchist, conservative, neoconservative or neoliberal. I’m just a 38 year old guy trying to figure it all out. Naturally, this doesn’t imply that there aren’t things which I hold dear. I have a strong belief system based on key principles. It’s just that I don’t think it makes sense for me to self-label and become part of a tribe. The moment you self-label, is the moment you stop thinking for yourself. It’s also the moment you stop listening. When you think you have all the answers, anyone who doesn’t think exactly as you do on all topics is either stupid or “paid opposition.” I don’t subscribe to this way of thinking.

Despite my refusal to self-identify, I am comfortable stating that I’m a firm supporter of populist movements and appreciate the instrumental role they’ve played historically in free societies. The reason I like this term is because it carries very little baggage. It doesn’t mean you adhere to a specific set of policies or solutions, but that you believe above all else that the concerns of average citizens matter and must be reflected in government policy.

Populism reaches its political potential once such concerns become so acute they translate into popular movements, which in turn influence the levers of power. Populism is not a bug, but is a key feature in any democratic society. It functions as a sort of pressure relief valve for free societies. Indeed, it allows for an adjustment and recalibration of the existing order at the exact point in the cycle when it is needed most. In our current corrupt, unethical and depraved oligarchy, populism is exactly what is needed to restore some balance to society. Irrespective of what you think of Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders, both political movements were undoubtably populist in nature. This doesn’t mean that Trump will govern as populist once he is sworn into power, but there’s little doubt that the energy which propelled him to the Presidency was part of a populist wave.

Trump understands this, and despite having surrounded himself with an endless stream of slimy ex-Goldman Sachs bankers and other assorted billionaires, his campaign took the following position with regard to Davos according to Bloomberg:

Donald Trump won’t send an official representative to the annual gathering of the world’s economic elite in Davos, taking place next week in the days leading up to his inauguration, although one of the president-elect’s advisers is slated to attend.

Former Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn, a regular attendee in the past, told the group he would skip 2017 after being named in December to head the National Economic Council, said people familiar with the conference. Other top Trump appointees will also pass up the forum.

A senior member of Trump’s transition team said the president-elect thought it would betray his populist-fueled movement to have a presence at the high-powered annual gathering in the Swiss Alps. The gathering of millionaires, billionaires, political leaders and celebrities represents the power structure that fueled the populist anger that helped Trump win the election, said the person, who asked for anonymity to discuss the matter.

While all of this sounds great, it’s not entirely true. For example:

Hedge fund manager Anthony Scaramucci is planning to travel to Davos, though. The founder of SkyBridge Capital and an early backer of Trump’s campaign, Scaramucci was named on Thursday as an assistant to the president.

Not that Scaramucci’s presence should surprise anyone, he’s the consummate banker apologist, anti-populist. Recall what he said last month:

I think the cabal against the bankers is over.”

This guy shouldn’t be allowed within ten feet of any populist President, but Trump unfortunately seems to have a thing for ex-Goldman Sachs bankers.

While we’re on then subject, let’s discuss Davos for a moment. You know, the idyllic Swiss town where the world’s most dastardly politicians, oligarchs and their fawning media and academic servants will gather in a technocratic orgy of panels and cocktail parties to discuss how best to manage the world’s affairs in the year ahead. Yes, that Davos.

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