How to defeat populists: more populism

The unimaginable has happened. The world’s most powerful nation will soon be lead by an erratic, politically inexperienced clown. The question that is on everybody’s mind is what this clown will actually do as president. One can only guess. Many of us think other Western countries will follow America’s example in voting populists into power. After Brexit and Trump, anything is possible. It seems nothing is able to stop the rise of the populists. If we really want to defeat populists, we have to fight them with their own weapon: populism.

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Time to take populism seriously

Even if you wanted to, it seems you cannot get around the whole ‘Brexit’ affair. So much has been said and written about it that I felt reluctant to do so myself. We all know – one way or another – about the mess that the referendum left behind. Its aftermath has been, in one word, shocking. Though when hearing and reading about all the different reactions, one important perspective is often overlooked: the EU is undoubtably beneficial – but for whom? If it wants to prevent more member states from leaving, then politicians and policy makers need to take this question more seriously.

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What happened to noblesse oblige?

If you look around at universities, you are supposed to see the future elite. Even in the Netherlands, where there are currently over 250.000 enrolled bachelor- and master students, the image of students belonging to a relatively wealthy and talented class in society still prevails. Do I see myself as part of the elite? I don’t know. And to be honest, given the fact that the concept of ‘elite’ has become something of a swear word during the past few years, I’m not sure whether I want to consider myself elitist.

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