With regards to the recent events in US and European politics — Trump's triumph, Brexit, etc. — Is populism an *inevitable* consequence of democracy, or is it avoidable by means such as educating the people?
The answer will depend on who
The answer will depend on who you ask, and also how you are defining "populism" here. Plato suggested in the "Republic" that oligarchy would eventually so disenfranchise and hence enrage the masses of ordinary people that the latter would at last rise up and impose a democratic system on the wealthy class that had been dominating them; along the way to this popular revolt, however, the people would inevitably pick up a "populist" demagogic leader. The latter, once in power, would eventually betray the peoples' interests and impose an outright tyranny upon the whole state. In a way, the rise of right-wing authoritarian populist movements in Europe and the US would seem to be bearing Plato out. Nationalist extremism, xenophobia, anti-immigrant sentiments, racism, and misogyny are in some sense a reaction against a liberal order that is more and more perceived as corrupt and ideologically bankrupt. One must keep in mind that "populism" can take a variety of quite different forms: it can take shape...
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