Europe, Politics, recent, World Affairs

How Progressivism Enabled the Rise of the Populist Right

Right-wing populists have won an unprecedented 57 seats in elections to the European Union’s Parliament, up from 30 in 2014. In Hungary, Viktor Orban’s Fidesz won a majority of 52 percent. In Italy, Matteo Salvini’s Lega topped the poll at 30 percent, in Britain, Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party won, while in France, Marine Le Pen pipped Emmanuel Macron 23 percent to 22 percent. While not quite the populist surge some feared, right-populist momentum continues. Meanwhile, the mainstream Social Democrats and Christian Democrats saw their combined total drop below a majority for the first time, from 56 percent in 2014 to 44 percent as Green and Liberal alternatives gained. 

What few have noticed is that these results, especially in Western Europe, reflect a continuing blowback against the excesses of the post-1960s liberal-left. They also reveal how the mainstream has adapted to the populist challenge by tightening immigration, which has reduced the appeal of national populism in many northern and western European countries since its 2015-16 peak. This adjustment by the main parties has alienated some left-liberals, whose shift to Green or liberal alternatives hints at a new polarization that may be moving Europe in an American direction. 

Since the EU has little power compared to nation-states, EU elections are a symbolic vote, based on lower turnout than national contests. Yet the results are an important bellwether of western public opinion, and affect national conversations. In 2014, many were shocked by the performance of the French Front National, Danish People’s Party and UK Independence Party, when these parties achieved nearly 30 percent of the popular vote in their countries. So began the ‘populist moment’. While populist share has declined in France, Denmark and a number of northern and western European countries over 2014, it has emerged in places where, in 2014, it had been absent or weak, like Spain, Germany or Estonia; or in abeyance, as in Italy.

It’s Not the Economy, Stupid

There’s a comforting myth that voters are electing right-wing populists because they feel ‘left behind’ by the global economy and uncaring politicians. All that’s needed is to redistribute some wealth, grow the economy and devolve power and all will be fine. In fact, there is little evidence to back up these assertions. In numerous surveys I have analyzed, immigration attitudes and salience, not economic circumstances or even anti-elitism, are what best explain why people vote for right-wing populists.

Figure 1 shows what happened to non-EU illegal migration from 2013. Notice the rise in the blue line from 2013 to 2015, followed by a subsequent fall.

Figure 1.

Source: Eurostat

What this rise produced, as the black line in figure 2 shows, was an increase in the share of Europeans who said immigration was one of the top two issues facing their countries, and the European Union as a whole. The ‘most important issue’ question is a measure political scientists term immigration salience. It’s not that people went from wanting more immigrants to fewer, a disposition tied strongly to ideology. Rather, among the majority who already wanted lower numbers, a larger share ranked immigration among their top priorities than in the years prior to 2013.

Figure 2.

This in turn gave populism a shot in the arm. Consider, in figure 3, how immigration salience corresponds to populist right support, courtesy of an article by James Dennison and Andrew Geddes of the European University Institute. While not always easily visible due to the different magnitude of the two trend lines, there is a significant over-time correlation in 9 of 10 major West European countries between immigration salience and populist support. This saw populist right support peak with the height of the migration crisis in late 2015, then gradually subside.

Figure 3. Immigration Salience and Populist Right Party Support, West Europe, 2005–16

Source: Dennison, J. and A. Geddes (2018). “A Rising Tide? The Salience of Immigration and the Rise of Anti‐Immigration Political Parties in Western Europe.” The Political Quarterly, 27 November 2018.

The Progressive Roots of Right-Wing Populism

The populist upsurge ultimately originates from two major sources: globalization and the rise of left-liberalism. Ninety-seven percent of the world’s population growth is taking place in the developing world, which is still in the early stages of its transition from high to low birth rates. Meanwhile, the global North is aging and beginning to experience native population decline. Globalization—better connectedness across borders—opens up the possibility of increased migration from the poor growing parts of the world to the rich regions. However, while globalization produces an increased flow of goods and capital, it doesn’t guarantee people can move, for we live in a world of controlled borders. Singapore is highly dependent on world trade, for example, but strictly limits immigration. Indeed, East Asia as a whole has essentially experienced globalization without immigration. Where immigration is permitted, it’s generally temporary and the right to work isn’t bundled with national citizenship.

The key difference, therefore, is the West’s demographic openness, which is a result of two cultural revolutions. First, the shift from national to cosmopolitan liberalism. Liberal political theory, which developed in the 18th and 19th centuries,  took it for granted that nations and borders existed, seeking to delineate the rights of individuals within bounded nation-states. After 1945, western judiciaries interpreted international human rights and refugee conventions in an increasingly expansive, transnational manner, whereas East Asian countries took a much narrower approach to the same non-specific international codes. 

An analogous spirit built a supranational institution, the European Union, which, after 1992, enshrined the right to live and work across borders. The EU also worked toward a diminution of national powers through slogans such as a ‘Europe of the regions’ (thereby sidelining nations), ‘ever closer union’ (in which the centralization process was defined as an end-in-itself), the removal of national policy vetoes through Qualified Majority Voting (QMV) in EU institutions, and the establishment of EU law as supreme over national law.

The New Left and Immigration

The second revolution was the cultural turn of the left, from a focus on class and economics to a concern with disadvantaged race, sex and gender groups, and their associated social movements. This has had far-reaching effects. How so?

Consider two faces of contemporary left-liberalism: the ‘hot’ outrage culture and ‘cool’ political correctness. The two spring from the same ideology, which holds that racial, sexual and gender minorities require protection and therefore governments should take no action which might offend the most sensitive minority person imaginable. The callout culture has had only limited effects off-campus (though this is beginning to change in the Anglosphere countries as ‘woke’ staff begin to spread their mores within private and public-sector organisations and right-wing media circulate stories of campus excess). But what is far more important off-campus is political correctness.

This quieter, routinized form of left-liberalism commandeered social norms to limit the ability of mainstream political parties to address the concerns of citizens who wanted lower immigration and a defense of their version of national identity. The definition of racism underwent what Nick Haslam terms ‘concept creep,’ expanding beyond its normal meaning to encompass any discussion of immigration or a positive expression of white majority identity. While the share of the world composed of immigrants has risen only modestly, western openness – a result of both the cosmopolitanization of liberalism and cultural turn of the left – permitted south-north immigration to increase steadily from the 1960s.

As I discuss in my new book, Whiteshift: populism, immigration and the future of white majorities, the narrowing of the Overton Window of acceptable debate opened space for populists. When Soviet department stores stocked only one kind of pants, a black market sprang up to supply the blue jeans people desired. Likewise, when mainstream parties are aligned on immigration, political black marketeers will emerge to supply the lower levels of migration many seek. 

While mainstream parties must take a stand against real racism—American third-party segregationist George Wallace got 13 percent of the vote in 1968 but was rightly ostracized—the taboo against discussing migration has nothing to do with ensuring equal rights for citizens regardless of race. While some minorities may be offended by calls to limit immigration, most are not, and politicians should heed the ‘reasonable person’ rather than ‘most sensitive person’ standard when enacting policy.

For instance, in 2013, Swedish immigration minister Tomas Billström was attacked in the media for suggesting Sweden needed to debate immigration levels. Then in 2014, the populist right Sweden Democrats burst onto the scene, winning 13 percent of the vote. Mainstream politicians had their parliamentary seats unscrewed and moved to avoid sitting next to the populists, who were treated like a disease. Then came the 2015 Migration Crisis. With the Sweden Democrats hitting 20–25 percent in the polls, the centre-left government began scaling back its refugee intake and introduced ID checks at its border with Denmark. We see very similar dynamics in Germany, where the Alternative for Germany (AfD) emerged in 2015, and in the US, where Donald Trump was the only one of 17 Republican primary candidates willing to make immigration central to their pitch.

We are at the beginning, not the end, of a demographic shift in Europe that will see white majorities decline to half the total in many West European countries by the end of the century. While the Muslim share of Western Europe will—despite the scaremongers—not reach a majority, and may ultimately decline through intermarriage, Pew projects that several major western countries will see their Muslim share triple by 2050, reaching 20 percent in Sweden and 17 percent in Britain. The level and rate of Muslim increase, as captured by Pew’s 2050 projections, is therefore correlated with populist support, as shown in figure 4. 

Figure 4.

Source: Pew Forum, ‘Europe’s Growing Muslim Population’, Nov. 27, 2017; Various European voting and polling results.

The situation is different in ex-Communist EU states, where Muslim growth is minimal and populist right support stems both from weaker social liberalism and the traumas of history, which incline voting publics toward an acute sensitivity to foreign invasion or domination.

In view of these seismic changes, mainstream parties need to carefully manage migration. Immigration, as survey experiments show, unsettles the cultural security of conservative ethnic majorities and minorities who are attached to the traditional ethnic composition of their nations. The good news is that populist support in the West is tied to an issue under government control, not hostility to the democratic system. So long as mainstream parties manage the inflow of immigrants, they can keep the populist right at bay, as demonstrated by the centre-left Danish Social Democrats and centre-right Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP). The post-2015 decline in immigration and shift of mainstream parties to the right on this issue is a major reason why populists have declined somewhat in many northern and western European countries since 2015. Progressives will look askance at these policies, decrying them as racist and fleeing to Green or other political alternatives. Yet these liberal alternatives remain modest forces which don’t threaten democratic stability and can function as coalition partners for the mainstream parties. 

So long as progressive norms don’t paralyze the mainstream parties on immigration, as they did in the very recent past, democracies can successfully respond to political demands, limiting populist influence.


Eric Kaufmann is Professor of Politics at Birkbeck, University of London, and author of Whiteshift: Immigration, Populism and the Future of White Majorities. Follow him on Twitter @epkaufm.

Feature photo by Michael Tubi / Shutterstock. 



  1. Benbarra says

    Read this excellent Twitter thread on the impact of immigration from the developing world on Denmark. It’s sobering but it actually has a ray of light at the end of it because the Danes are finally coming around to realizing the mistake of multiculturalism, and all the political parties (even on the left) in Denmark are starting to change their policies as a result. The effect has been to dampen some of the enthusiasm for populism.

    • Geoge Tyrebyter says

      Danes have been woke about immigration for at least 5 years. They are a small country, and are not happy about invaders coming in to live off the Danish social welfare system. They are dumping illegals on an island. They tax illegals with too much wealth. Sweden closed the Oreford bridge.

      • Chris says

        Denmark is debating tightening her border to Sweden to stop criminal elements from Sweden entering Denmark. Ditto Norway. Their fear is that the rising crime from Sweden spills over into her neighbours. When Sweden tightened the border, it was due to inner political pressure with the looming elections the following year. However, shortly after they ‘closed’ the border, the rules were relaxed and the ‘new’ old coalition of the Benevolent Left are pushing for an increased migration with fewer controls.
        What Denmark experienced in ’15-’16 will happen again because a vast number of migrants flow through Denmark on their way to Sweden unless they are stopped at the southern border. The rules in Denmark make it a less attractive destination than the obligation-free and responsibility-free welfare system offered to the non-native.
        Sweden is also trying to impose sanctions on other EU countries who do not accept increased numbers of migrants such as Hungary and Poland. Keep a close eye on developments in Sweden because she is heading towards a social collapse because of this and other countries be warned.

    • prince says

      Nationalism somehow became a dirty word.

      Like a game of telephone, it transformed from “nationalism” to “white nationalism” to “white supremacists”

      But nationalism has nothing to do with race. It has to do with a cultural identity. Any group of people over time forms a culture – a set of behavioral norms that most everybody feel comfortable with.

      For a long time there was an implied expectation in every country that newcomers will adopt the national culture. Once assimilated into the culture, the newcomers provide new blood and new perspectives without fracturing the society they joined.

      But something changed in the last 25 years in the west. Instead of celebrating unity, we started to promote the differences. “Diversity” and “Multi-multiculturalism” became a dogma, and any attempt to question the logic of a fractured society gradually became to be a sign of bigotry.

      Since the west has a white majority, any attempt to preserve the existing national identity was easily demonized as a racist “white nationalist” perspective.

      The results in Europe are devastating. The rich, liberal Scandinavian countries that open their borders to immigrants that had no intention to assimilate have discovered what a fractured incompatible society looks like.

      Once again, the Utopian dream of the left, in which everybody is living in peaceful harmony is crashing into the harsh reality of an uneven world mired with deep differences between people and cultures.

      The USA is not beyond saving. We just need to start celebrating our shared culture and unity again and stop promoting the differences.

      • Allison says

        It’s this sad misidentification of “Nationalism” as “White Supremacy” that has caused black people to support unchecked immigration. From what several black people have told me, they think that whites are just trying to keep brown people out of the country. They don’t understand that multi-generational American blacks and whites share the same culture. They don’t realize they are participating in their own genocide.

        • Victoria says


          Both the Marxists and classical liberals sell destruction of the nation-state by using racial tribalism. Marxists have failed to learn the lesson that workers are only truly protected in liberal-nationalist states. Classical liberals don’t care about working people.

        • OhioB says

          Blacks are not wasting themselves with booze, drugs, and suicide today in America like whites are(and let’s be honest about that…it’s Trumpkins), as well it’s whites not having babies. And it’s not really a question of a “nation-state” either; it’s about a government and society doing right by its people whether “new” or “old”. Because your problem is, for all the immigration being screamed about, America barely makes the list of the Top 150 most population growing countries; without immigrants we’d be de-populating right now, and in the same crummy boat as what Russia and Japan have stewed in stagnation for decades! Meanwhile our population growth was 3 times as high as today in the “booming”(both economically and of “babies”) 1950s and 5 times as much or even far more for the ENTIRE 19th century back when immigration was almost completely unrestricted to this country! And it ain’t like America’s “Full” either; we got 1 billion people here in this hemisphere(North AND South America combined!) for the rest of the world has 8 billion we’re still very much the “New World”, so our making this country not work, and for there to be massive inequality between rich and poor only getting worse, is a decision we’ve made ourselves. Cause that’s another thing, our GDP is 10 times the size today that it was 40 years ago! In many ways we’re far richer…it’s just that a very small sliver of the population is what today owns all that wealth. And cause Asia, with 60% of the world’s population on just their single continent(granted its the biggest) has been kicking our back sides for decades as far as doing right by and uplifting their people. Look, I’m not arguing for more people or immigration, but what I’m saying is it has very little to do with the people who are getting screwed in the economy and society.

          And its why for these similar moments in history, ex: in the 1920s and early 1930s we cracked down the most on immigration in American History(ex: 2nd Klan, Immigration Act of 1924, Mexican Repatriation, etc), it didn’t really work…or worse….For the Great Depression worst economic crisis in history that came, and then that got capped off with the worst World War in human history too, itself barely 20 years after the First “War to End All Wars” One, it was millions of white Americans lost everything and farms/land been in their family for generations! We deported millions of Mexicans(the majority with American citizenship back then) and then in the “Grapes of Wrath” about the middle of the Depression, it’s the poor white “Okies” had to flee to California get spit on by the people there and forced to become migrant fruit pickers themselves; ironic they’re former farmers once had their own land working all day in the sweltering sun(were they even “lucky” to get such a job) harvesting food for others’ profits they’re not even paid enough to eat!

          But that’s the age old story too: The Aristocrats eat well—but do no work; the People work—but do not eat at all! I suppose thankfully we live in our 21st century today and there’s plenty of food from our industrialized agriculture, and yet in many ways we’re much like our “livestock” being fattened up with subsidized junk that’s nutritionally poor and shaving years off our lifespans, and leaving our populations “Fat. Sick. And Nearly Dead!”

          Oh one final though; there are that almost 8 billion people on this planet; far more than any time in human history we’ve more than tripled the world’s population since 1950 it’s estimated that over 6% of all the humans ever existed in 100,000 years or so of human existence are alive today! No race is being “genocided” because another group is having babies. Cause really, do you here the Chinese yelling that they’re being “replaced” by being limited to their “One Child” policy? As far as whites specifically, we had this whole “Age of Exploration” and then “Colonialization” thing going on for most of the past five hundred years or so; we’re far more a percentage of global population than we’ve been for most of human history.

          • CapitalistRoader says

            “Blacks are not wasting themselves with booze, drugs, and suicide today in America like whites are(and let’s be honest about that…it’s Trumpkins)…”

            You haven’t spent much time on Chicago’s Southwest side, have you? Just replace “suicide” with “homicide.”

            BTW, they’re all Democrats.

          • EK says

            Population growth to infinity is the strategy of a cancer cell. It was adopted by libertarian and free market rent seekers in the 1970s as the sure fire way to generate rent for their life times from a consumer oriented economic policy.

            Well, their life times are coming to an end and the time for the reckoning has arrived.

          • mnemos says

            You have a mix of good and bad points there. At least from where I see things, the drug addicts and booze hounds aren’t Trumpkins – they are die-hard Democrats who know where their next welfare check is coming from. But I know it is different in other parts of the country.

            But the real thing I think you should think about is how some of your statements look from outside the ‘bubble’. In red America they aren’t distinguishing between the liberals (more accurately environmentalists) who are saying “Having children is bad! Overpopulation!” (yes, the exclamation points are appropriate) and the liberals (more accurately globalists) who are saying “without immigrants we would be depopulating” (like yourself above). From the point of view of red America (and the populists in other countries) it is the same folks who are saying American babies are bad and immigrant babies are good. Think about that impression – the “elite” are saying you shouldn’t have babies because world population is too high, but we need to bring in immigrants because you are not having babies. The “elite” don’t see the contradiction there. Do you see why “…do you hear the Chinese yelling they’re being “replaced” by being limited to their “One Child”…” makes no sense since the Chinese government is not telling the same people that they need immigrants to replace the children they are forbidden to have. The other piece of the contradiction is missing.

            What I like best in your comment is “it’s about a government and a society doing right by its people”. As much as I don’t like the totalitarian aspects of China, at least they remember that governments are supposed to take care of roads, bridges, infrastructure.

          • TheDude says

            Most of what you just said was wrong but why worry about facts?

          • Your post is totally made up with not a fact to be had, but you know that.

            The immigration halt in the early 1920’s was in no way responsible for the Great Depression caused by the Fed (read Milton Friedman’s definitive work on the subject).

            The halt was due to the massive influx of immigrants in the first 2 decades and the need to both assimilate them and provide a floor for wages of American citizens and those already here. From 1924 to 1965 – during the time of the immigration halt – the US saw the emergence of the middle class and a standard of living for all Americans never before known in human history.

            Today, thanks to the US and its exceptional generosity and free market capitalism, fewer people in the world are in poverty than ever before. In fact, poverty has been reduced 90% in the last 60 years thanks to the influence of the US and our culture.

            The US also takes in more immigrants LEGALLY than any country in the world and our population has doubled 40 years.

            The Chinese are facing a serious demographic decline brought about by their 1 child policy which, even though now lifted, had made 1 child or even childless the norm. Since children in China are expected to support their parents, this puts an enormous strain on supporting one’s own family and elderly parents.

            You’re very well indoctrinated but not at all well educated. You must be an Ozerokin.

      • EK says

        @ Prince

        Nah, the US is lost.

        An empire can’t revert to republic because an empire must first destroy the all of the domestic institutions necessary to support a republic.

        The door doesn’t swing both ways. Empires simply lose the mandate of heaven and collapse. They don’t ever revert to ordinary republics let alone constitutional democratic republics.

        • Tersitus says

          Fair point, not recognized enough—And the British Empire— cannot an empire morph into an array of republics, American, Canadian, Irish, Australian, Indian, Hong Kong?

      • bumble bee says

        @ Prince

        Nice comment that needs to be said more to counter the liberal narrative. What is apparent as well is that the current incarnation of multi-culturalism is that white culture is not included in their big utopian dream. They believe that they must destroy any vestige of white culture in order for other cultures to “rise up”. That is the folly of the left, they must denigrate one to make it look like others have “gained ground” in the name of multi-culturalism.

      • OhioB says

        Yeah; but so much of that “culturalism” is a bunch of BS! Example: The Trumpkins in the USA aren’t really where American culture really comes from; in most cases they scratch out an existence, 40 years on from their “precious” Reagan Revolution what sorry condition they live in today in in the lousiest most backwards states in the country where none of the immigrants even go cause its their own people flee from…or the younger ones anyway!(seriously, checkout Morning Consult’s “Trump Tracker” or compare the election results with the “List of US States by American Human Development”; or read the numerous articles been written on the plight of the white working class, ex: the Wall Street Journal’s “RURAL America is the NEW Inner City”! That in the USA, there’s very little of the social welfare state what much of Europe has, and yet America has the developed world’s 3rd highest Debt-to-GDP cause the 1% gotta rob the country and treasury blind to become trillionaires they’re not satisfied being only deka or centi-billionaires today. It’s like the old aristocracies; the people pay taxes and get nothing but the nobility living high in their chateaus, palaces, and at Versailles!

        Further, for we live in a much smaller world in the 21st century, people are a lot more familiar with one anothers’ cultures and generally have a lot more respect for, albeit there’s also a lot more cosmopolitanism as well. But nobody really wants France to stop being France or Germany to stop being Germany; that’s what they love about the place! That’s why immigrants want to go there; in many cases they don’t want to be where they came from; it’s why they’ve fled.

        But the thing is, the West just doesn’t stand out economically like it once did; the rest of the world has been rising up. Makes sense; there’s billions of us in the 21st century; and while that’s more demand, how much do we really expect any one person’s individual labor is worth in the face of? Ex: we found this out with farming; people have a “fixed stomach” and there’s only so much demand there to satisfy. Further, for consumption driven growth, can the Planet even really support so many. Further still, one of the big problems with the West is that so many assume we’re all the same when for there are universal problems we share, we’re NOT the same, ex: all the screaming about immigration; Europe is WAY more population dense than the Americas(only got 1B people on both continents in the Western Hemisphere for the world total is approaching 8B!), that all of us are way more population still than say Australia which only has 25M on their entire continent! Meanwhile Asia has 60% of the world’s people and they’re in many ways the ones been kicking our back sides!

      • staticnoise says

        The U.S. is huge, it is the third largest nation in the world by population and is so incredibly diverse any attempt at cultural change to the American mindset is like herding cats. But you are correct, it can be done. Somehow the educational system needs to start teaching an unvarnished view of American history for starters. We I was a kid the change over was just starting to happen, but we were ‘allowed’ to see the good aspects of the American experiment. Today kids are taught only the ugly side – how would we expect them to have any love of country? It’s amazing that any young people love America, but some do and that is heartening.

  2. Farage did not win in Scotland. There was a Scottish National Party landslide.

    • Bill Miller says

      And the SNP is what? Openly internationalist? Pro-United (Kingdom)?
      Don’t think so.
      It is in fact hypernationalist. Same for the Welsh.
      Reviving long-dead micro-states.

      • Tersitus says

        Yeah, Bill, you’re right— but then we humans are always crossing and recrossing, marking and remarking the lines that delineate “us” and “them.” The shifts are constant, too often tragic, occasionally seismic. The forces at play are as global and as “hydraulic” as waters of the earth. Power not only shifts— it finds many levels and forms, all of them transitory. Right now it’s flood stage here in flyover country. Later the drought. Some build levees, Some build (or steal) boats. Some climb hills or roofs or trees. A few go down in the flood. Most of us survive and adapt, and find salvage in the wreckage. Plus ca change, …. Keep your head up and make for solid ground.

      • CT Radford says

        The SNP policy is Independence within Europe (the EU).

        As pointed-out this is like saying Independence within Carstairs (the state hospital for the insane) ; or Independence within Barlinnie (the prison for major criminals).

    • The SNP MEP base increased from two to three. Hardly a landslide, but many thanks to the collapse of the Labour vote.

  3. S.Cheung says

    “politicians should heed the ‘reasonable person’ rather than ‘most sensitive person’ standard when enacting policy”
    — I think our society would be better served if everyone, and not just politicians, adopted the former standard.


    Figure 4 is a mess. First, the forum occurred on Nov. 29, 2017, and not the time-travelling future-cast of Nov. 27, 2019. Second, what does the populist vote share of the recent past have to do with Muslim population percentage predictions in 30 years? I doubt people who cast their votes that placed them on the y-axis were concerned in a correlative or causative fashion with what is depicted on the x axis, even if they were likely concerned with the migration/immigration patterns of the mid-part of this decade.

  4. Jairo Melchor says

    This piece should have started with defining “populism” and why only right wing are populists.

    • Chester Draws says

      To the Left, all populists are right wing, by definition. Even if they have traditional left wing policies like protectionism, see Marine Le Pen.

      It’s no good arguing about it. It’s not the most important part of the discussion.

      • Somluck says

        Protectionism is a right wing thing (at least in Australia) high tariffs protect inefficient business from competition (OS​ competition). Businesses want to protect their monopoly profits.

        The left wing party got rid of virtually all tariff protection 20 years ago in Australia.

        Immigration restrictions has traditionally been a left wing thing. Lower immigration protects workers wages. The “White Australia” was introduced by the left wing party to protect workers’ wages from ‘cheap’ non European labour.

        • Jay Harris says

          The left wing got rid of tariffs to destroy the West with cheap labor, gutting jobs and transferring wealth out of the West. Protectionism is a right wing thing because the right wing wants to preserve the West–not destroy it like the left. All countries who want to survive have to use tariffs. There is no such thing as free trade internationally because the labor costs in third world countries are much lower than developed countries and free trade means an equal playing field where all players, or countries, are operating under the same rules, which is never the case internationally. International free trade is an oxymoron and a dishonest perversion of what free trade means.

          • OhioB says

            Has it really “transferred out” though; ex: America’s GDP is 10 times the size today it was 40 years ago; it’s just that only a very small sliver really owns that. Otherwise, tariffs are a nice idea as far as “protectionism” or the allure that some aren’t “trading fair” and yet how is it not Capitalism when 80% of this planet is still on $10/day or less standard and you think such workers can’t outcompete most any in the West didn’t go to college or don’t have a “proximity” job that’s hard to export? That’s even WITH tariffs. Cause your “equal playing field” is an engineer or doctor in India making $5k/year you want way more than cause you drive a truck in a Western country! But that’s the thing though; you can make yourself and your country far more uncompetitive and provide “makework” jobs to people for a time that are far less efficient than the world market standard, but ultimately reality still catches up to you and then it’s a massive crash. Think the automotive industries and all the protectionist measures various countries have put around, only to see them one day go belly up!

        • Peter from Oz says

          Protectionism in Australia was actually something supported by the centre right and the left in Australia. The true right wingers here were free traders. It is from the Free Trade Party that todays conservative Liberal Party stems.
          The Unions were also very keen on protection, because it meant that Australian businesses could hire more workers, as those businesses were protected behind tarrif walls.

    • Memetic Tribe says

      African Americans don’t embrace populism?

      “Harlem World”
      “Nation of islam”

      • Andrew Vanbarner says

        “La Raza,” which means “the race,” and refers to Spanish speaking Latin Americans, is without question the definition of leftist populism for Hispanic and Latino populations.
        Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and other activist groups who don’t draw their membership from wealthy, collegiate leftists and liberals, also have strongly populist and self interested elements.
        Unions, particularly private sector unions, are generally left-liberal, and are clearly populist institutions.
        Right wing populists are only working class conservatives. They’re not radical hate groups to be feared, merely citizens whose concerns should be acknowledged.

        • David V says

          This assumes Antifa and BLM are independent grassroots movements. They’re not. They’re well-connected to prominent and powerful people.

          • Frank Knarf says

            Please name names so that we can can verify your assertions.

          • EK says

            I have heard that Antifa and BLM are linked to Soros funded NGOs.

            But I have no proof.

          • David V says

            Antifa is not an organisation but usually coalition of Communist and anarchist groups. BLM is a movement with clearly Communist inspiration behind it, but also considerable funding from NGOs and some corporates.

            Many on the Right do believe the Far Left and Antifa are not grassroots independent movements, but nothing more than cheerleaders for progressive internationalism as endorsed by the liberal political class.

            At the same time, some also believe the Far Right – white nationalists, neo-Nazis and anti-Semites – tend to serve a role as provocacteurs who serve to embarrass and discredit conservative and nationalist causes – again to the benefit of the Left.

  5. Alan says

    The frustrating part of this article is that it has an implied assumption which the writer seems to naturally assume is shared by the reader – of the need to “keep the populist right at bay.”

    How does he justify that assumption? And what exactly is the “populist right”.

    One of the problems with the cultish doctrine of political correctness is that it silences everyone who does not slavishly conform to the latest moral fashions. Where those fashions are defined by those on the extreme left of the political spectrum.

    In scientific terms, if one were to take an issue such as immigration, and then sample the population to form a distribution where those with extremely progressive views are plotted on the left of the x axis and those with extremely conservative views are plotted on the right, one would expect a normal gaussian (bell shaped) distribution where the majority of people plotted in the centre, with fewer people out on the extreme left or right of the graph.

    However, the doctrine of political correctness only recognises views on the left as valid, and there is a hard boundary somewhere along the continuum where views on the right side of that boundary are no longer considered politically correct. Anyone on the right side of that boundary is “wrong”, “alt right”, “far right” etc – another new term for those people seems to be “populist”.

    But the position of the boundary between what is considered political correct and what is not, is not static. It is constantly moving leftwards – driven by the extremists on the left. So the definition of who is considered populist within the population is constantly changing – with more and more people qualifying.

    So that could perhaps explain a lot? It also might effect the whole premise of the article?

    And secondly – surely in any well functioning society, a balance should be sought between the views of that society as a whole? But political correctness does not allow that. Only those who fall within the politically correct boundaries are considered to have valid views. Those who fall outside that boundary are silenced – this causes division, resentment, building pressure which might eventually erupt – all those sorts of things.

    So perhaps the implied assumption that the populist right needs to be “held at bay”, is not the correct approach? Perhaps the best thing for society is abandon the cult of political correctness? Perhaps everyone in society should be allowed to have their say and political policies formulated accordingly?

    • Sasha says

      Agreed. I have argued a long time that the centre ground is simply a tool of the left. So as you move the centre line left guess who becomes “far right”.

      Very simple tool just keep moving that line left and at some stage 95 % of the population will be right or the old conservatives will now be “extreme right”.

      It just makes the simple minded professors feel some kind of moral superiority because they have no real life of their except daily campus indoctrination.

    • Somluck says

      Not sure what people mean by right wing. The ‘Big end town’, owners of capital, want immigration. The more the better. People to sell stuff to. Houses to build and sell etc. More people more GDP, unless you complete stuff it up.

      Australia has not a recession in 25 years because of immigration. GDP goes up every year.

      But GDP/capita has been stuff all. The cities are becoming more crowded and less liveable.

    • Royce Cooliage says

      Because right-wing populism has a tendency towards violence and dictatorships: Hitler, Mussolini, neo-nazis, Charlottesville, etc.

      To be clear, the author is not throwing shade at conservatism. Mainstream conservatism is not the same thing as right-wing populism.

      In anticipation of your inevitable response, left-wing populism is dangerous, too. But it’s not currently on the rise. Hence, why it’s not discussed here.

      I notice that conservatives tend to react in a reflexively butt hurt way to anything on this site that is even remotely critical of the right. I’m a Democrat. I don’t get all butt hurt and cry when Quillette points out the excesses of the left. In fact, I generally agree. With all due respect, If you’re not open to any criticism of any aspect of the right, why bother reading Quillette? Isn’t the whole idea that this site is for controversial ideas that challenge the reader? If you only want to read stuff the rips the left and sanctifies the right, why not go over to Fox News, or Brietbart, or Info Wars?

      • EK says

        And left-wing elitism has a tendency towards Stalinism and Maoism. So, we’ve established the end zones in the game. To my eye, the left-wing elites have ball in the populists’ red zone when the objective should be to keep the ball near mid-field.

        • Tersitus says

          But to my eye the populists have the ball on the left 30 and were driving, but the challenge flag came out and the left wants a turnover ruling and an ejection.

      • Aristodemus says

        Thank you for this balanced and reasonable comment.

      • Michael Skrzypek says

        I have been thinking the same thing too—there does seem to be a vocal and (ironically) sensitive conservative viewpoint that gets expressed in the comments that I think really misses the point of what Quillette is so admirably trying to do.

      • Spinach says

        No, as a whole slew of posters here have pointed out, there are major definitional problems in this article (and with the thinking of a whole lot of fellow-travelers to this writer), and your own post highlights some of these definitional problems.

        Since when were Hitler and Mussolini populists? I’m a social scientist, and Fascism and Nazism were always classified as ideological, totalitarian mass movements, like Communist/Socialist movements, and as something else entirely from populism. Were Lenin and Mao populists too? If not, why not? If anything they seem even more populist, in terms of representing a population against elites. (Ironically, some of the same people who now maintain that Fascism is populism used to maintain that Fascism is “government by corporations,” which could be considered the precise opposite (though is equally wrong.))

        And the whole idea of fascism as “right wing” is a highly problematic convention. In the 1930s it was considered a form of leftism; Mussolini cited Woodrow Wilson and the American Progressives (some of whom called their plan “Nationalist Socialism”– and yes it looked an awful lot like fascism) as inspiration, and Mussolini and fascism were the subjects of numerous glowing articles in the Progressives’ New Republic, all through the 20s and 30s.

        And what makes “Charlottesville” populist? And who were the populists there? The neo-Nazis/white supremacists? Antifa/statue opponents? Nobody ever considered radical fringe groups “populist” before; they were…radical fringe groups. Who precisely is a populist, and why?

        This is totally circular reasoning: identify radical, dictatorial, violent groups as “right-wing populists,” and then ipso facto “right-wing populists have a tendency to violence and dictatorships.” And employ “right-wing” to take in both wacky American neo-Nazis (an infinitesimally small number of people) and contemporary European governments!

        Maybe we should try talking about “populism” the way we used to: as something distinct from violent, dictatorial, revolutionary, and ideological movements. The American Populists were none of these things.

        • Tersitus says

          You’re right— too many fuzzy terms, too much loose thinking. Naming and labeling and categorizing always seems to drift into name calling and groupthink. I plead guilty to the first, and try like hell to fight the latter. Let Free Thought Live.

      • Royce (legendary name btw), I agree. I’ve stopped commenting here and reading the comments for the most part. There’s a few key offenders that often times take up meters of board space with reactionary spin to any mention of even moderately critical points made of the right.

        It gets old, fellas.

        And if you think we’re talking to you…we’re talking to you.

        • Peter from Oz says

          I’m a political Conservative. I have no trouble with people criticising my point of view. WHat I do have a problem with is that somehow neo nazis are really right wing at all. Anyone who wants totalitarian rule is on the left as far as I’m concerned.

          • When I wrote the comment I wasn’t thinking of you, Peter. I was responding to Royce’s observation that there are a slew of commenters here that knee jerk to any number of criticisms of conservative positions.

            I often do so myself in my mind and aloud, but then try to measure my reaction against what I’ve read and what I believe and what I know and what I can prove or has been proven to me.

            There’s a conservative ideology just the same as there is a progressive one. After you learn the talking points and phrases (on either side) you can easily spot those who are thinking for themselves and those who are just filling in the blanks with all the right parroted points of view.

            I’m pretty conservative myself these days ( much more so than 10 years ago) but I don’t respect blind obedience to ideology over giving an idea a fair shake and at least ironing out the flaws instead of reading a piece, seeing the words “climate change” and jumping ahead to comment on how easy it is to dismiss the authors entire thesis based on two words.

          • OhioB says

            I’m on the Left, and I somewhat agree with this, but then I also disagree. Race-based “National” or “Nationalist Socialism” is often what happens to “Conservatives” when their worldview crashes upon the hard rocks of economic reality that things haven’t worked out for most people by the time of “Late Stage Capitalism”, and then for despising and desperately searching in their plight, for them it’s “‘other’ poor people” scapegoats they find to blame and/or oppress for what are in fact problems inherent with the system they’ve believed in and preached for years. “Nationalist Socialism” is what happens to those “Conservatives” who think themselves superior (or even are of more luxurious station) in the system find out they’ve become the losers. Cause that’s the reality of Conservatism too, it’s a lot easier to be one when you’re not at the economic bottom or economically the most downward mobile; cause then when that happens, these people scream “bloody murder”…and then often enough can start committing it. Cause that’s an old adage there as well: “To those accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression!”

      • jhan says

        Objectively ‘progressive’ leftism has proven to be the biggest disaster for western countries…not ‘populists’. Thanks to ‘progressives’ we now have a declining population and big group of fundamentalist Muslims holding explicitly non-progressive values on our territory.

      • Alan says

        I think you miss my point entirely.

        I was pointing out that it seems that anyone who holds views outside what the extreme left define as politically correct, is labelled as far right, populist, alt right etc. But the boundary which defines what is considered politically correct, and what is not, is constantly moving leftwards on the spectrum. So thus the definition of what is considered to be populist, or alt right or far right, is constantly changing. It now includes a much larger proportion of the spectrum than it did before, and thus far more people qualify as alt right/populist etc. So perhaps the “rise” of the alt right/populists can be explained in that way? Could their growth in numbers be at least partly explained by that boundary shifting leftwards – where even moderate people, on what used to be considered the LEFT, are now being accused of crimes against political correctness and are being excommunicated from the “in group”, by the extremists. Which tends to suggest that the boundary has moved past the median and now maybe the majority of people in many places hold at least some views that fall outside the boundaries of political correctness?

        So in other words “the rise of the far right” was perhaps caused by nothing more than the extreme left expanding their definition of what is deemed politically incorrect?

        My other point was maybe the whole idea and implementation of political correctness is self defeating, and unsustainable, and is causing many of the problems we see nowadays such as deepening divisions, increasing conflict, increased polarisation, reduced reasonable debate between moderates etc?

        I did not really see the article as criticism of the right or conservatives, nor was my comment a reaction to that. To me using the phrase “to hold the populist right at bay’, implied a hard boundary of political correctness, which has been forced upon society where anyone outside that boundary was to be treated as the enemy and silenced etc and “held at bay”. I was challenging the writer’s assumption that most readers automatically agree with the need for that. I was also suggesting that perhaps the way to a more civilised, less polarised, more balanced discourse was to abandon that approach and allow those that have been silenced to have their say?

        And lastly I visit this sight because of the generally high quality of the articles which express views from both sides of the spectrum. I’m not sure what those other sites you suggest have to do with anything here?

      • Grant says

        Right and left wing extremism are made of the same stuff. How much different were the NAZIs and the Soviet’s at their beginnings? Not much. Both had utopian ideologies that they felt justified the means. As for modern right wing nationalism, I see no indication that any of it tends towards violence, because the issue is immigration. Germany, Italy and Japan all had territorial expansion as the heart of their policies. Non of that exists today.

      • the gardner says

        Royce, except Hitler and Mussolini were leftists. So yeah, conservatives do get annoyed when these two are associated with the right or conservatism.

        • Bab says

          When the Reichstag voted on the Enabling Act conferring on Hitler dictatorial powers, the fascists, conservatives and what remained of the liberals voted in favour. The only ones to vote against were the democratic socialists; the communists would have voted against but Hitler had already sent them to the camps. Those who contend that Hitler was left wing rather than right wing need to explain why the Right generally voted with him rather than the Left.

          • EK says

            @ Bab

            So, the Stalinist Rotfront and the decadent Weimar SPD were the good guys?

            Richard J Evans suggests that had the SPD won in 1932 the industrialists would have insisted, and the SPD would have agreed, that Wilhelm II would be the next head of the German state.

      • Patricia Bonion says

        Forgive me, because I do not know exactly what Left wing populism would look like so I do not know if it is on the rise or not, but certainly left wing extremism is on the rise. Over 50% of millennials now hold favorable views of Socialism, and pew research indicates the Democratic Party has shifted signifactly leftward over the last 20 years while the Republican Party has shifted just slightly to the right.

        I don’t disagree with your overall point, and I agree that Right Wing populism is something to be addressed carefully due to its historic record. I’m just curious why you believe left wing populism is not on the rise? I have several friends who are now “proud communists,” and speak of any right wing person as if they are “literally nazis,” and that kind of behavior just seems unimaginable 5 years ago. There’s been a marked increase in extreme positions, revenge politics, and raced based thinking in my (leftist) family, and (leftist) friends. Maybe if I knew a single neo nazi I would be more concerned about the right but I have never met a single one.

        Also, your last paragraph may have validity but it comes off super condescending.

      • Chris Campbell says

        Lumping in all people on the right in with Hitler is just bound to get on folks nerves. Is that what you consider “remotely critical?”

        Right wing is a term from France in the 1700’s, referring to those who sat on the right of the National Assembly who were supportive of the existing government of the time. The folks on the left wanted to change the government, the folks on the right did not. This is the simplest and best definition of left and right.

        That means that the right in one country may be far different from the right in another country, and they cannot be reasonably compared. So all the references to Mussolini, Pol Pot, Stalin and Hitler are just specious nonsense. It is really no better than outright name calling.

        Using the above definition, I consider myself a right wing populist. I fully support the original intent of the Constitution (Right Wing) because I believe it will help the most people (Populist). I am quite open to discussion on this, there is a lot here to discuss. But with leftists, it usually degenerates into name calling, which is boring and not useful.

      • Stephanie says

        Royce, your comment has two parts.

        Firstly, you assume Hitler was a right-wing populist. If you go to, a non-partisan political quantification site, you’ll find that Hitler was well to the left of Barack Obama and pretty much every mainstream American politician.

        Your second point about “butthurt” conservatives has no supporting evidence and reeks of political tribalism. I can’t say I’ve seen a lot of hyperemotional ranting. What exactly is wrong with conservative commenters critically engaging with arguments presented by Quillette’s universally left-wing authors?

      • hail to none says

        @Royce: I don’t understand how disagreement=butt hurt crying. I don’t see any commentators screaming for the author’s head; most are simply challenging aspects of the argument.

      • Mad Max says

        I think there are two types of right-wing populism at work in the United States today.

        There are the original white nationalists (ethnic and racial hate groups- skinheads, KKK, etc.) that number around 8,000 and are only on the rise in the minds of Leftists and the SPLC.

        The other group of right-wing nationalists are those that have been severely economically harmed by Globalization and Multiculturalism (a.k.a. – Deplorables). This is the group that got Trump elected. They are potentially 70% of the population of the United States and are on the rise. Their concerns are economic, religious, traditional (Bill of Rights – primarily the 1st and 2nd Amendments), and have nothing to do with race or ethnicity of other American citizens. The Deplorables, however, do not like foreigners.

        Using the terminology of populism, the Left frequently tries to link the Deplorables with the white nationalists to disparage them. These two groups have two completely different intentions and desires and the Deplorables have quite a few African American, Asian, and Hispanic supporters that would not be welcomed by the white nationalists.

    • Victor Adams says

      Agreed to a great extent, 100% would not be an exaggeration. I also like your eloquence in your comment as to the center line. Case in point is Rachel Maddow’s (scandalous) repeated assertions that her show (thus its main audience) is really mainstream(!!!) thus of course anything to the right of her (blatant) uber left wing progressivism is…right wing extremism. Some of my otherwise well balanced friends are avid viewers of her show and have come to the (i)logical conclusion that here stuff is indeed mainstream.

    • Frank Knarf says

      Jack-booted thugs show up at your house in the middle of the night to silence you? Why do they ignore Limbaugh and Fox News?

    • Constantin says

      @Alan I could not agree more and you pointed very clearly the issue that bothered me most about this article. As I was reading, I appreciated the fact that the author placed a real effort to remain distant from the noise and showed some degree of sensitivity, for example, towards the historical experiences of East Europeans with foreign invasion. However he nonchalantly and inexcusably went along with the idea that “populism” is a backlash that needs to be controlled. He also dismissed the economic aspects of Globalization suggesting that cultural stability is the end-all for this inquiry. Yet, one has to look closer to the Donald Trumo phenomenon. The explicit war he is waging with trade agreements that favor large corporations at the expense of blue collar communities would have been the main preoccupation of a normal workers’ party as they emerged in the West. The redefinition of what used to be the Gaussian political center has also, and conveniently for large multinationals shifted away from a concern for your neighbor to one whimsically placed at the far corners of the Planet. I believe that we are witnessing a general shift of the culture of dependence on government largesse to one of dependence on large multinational corporations. Both attitudes are premised on the myopic view that people like Mr. Zuckerberg or Bill Gates are enlightened philantropists yo whom an unphatomable power to control can be trusted blindingly. Same basic world view animates both those willing to endlessly expand government power and those who see nothing wrong with multinational corporations getting into the business ofcontrolling thought and even chastizing as Gillette infamously did quite recently. Those who really understand Fascism are really concerned about the emergence of non-democratic structures, such as the EU, about the grotesque subservience of elected houses to massive corporate interests and the inevitable assault on free speech and gradual introduction of orthodoxies of thought and belief. I increasingly have the feeling of being surrounded by well meaning but shallow people who refuse to face this reality and defend the achievements of the classical liberalism. 🙁

      • Brad says

        Constantin: Classical Liberalism is dead in the U.S. There are very few politicians on the left who are classically liberal any more. They have been purged by the progressives, similarly, though more effective, to what was attempted in the Republican party, leading to a leftward lurch of the democratic party. Our system of government was designed around compromise from the start (hence the separation of powers, the house and senate, and the electoral college). Classical liberals and conservatives could always find a way to compromise as they were both weary of utilizing the awesome power of the state to enforce their ideology on others. Progressives have no such aversion to the use of state power to force compliance with their worldview… they also have no problem demonizing everyone who is to their right as “fascists” or “Nazis”. This leads to an unwillingness to compromise as how can you ever morally compromise with a Nazi. Unfortunately, their broad-brush application of these labels if very off-putting to someone like me (that generally falls on the conservative/libertarian side but isn’t strictly wedded to ideology) who would be willing to meet in the middle on a lot of issues. With progressives it’s all or nothing. You can be fine with people being gay or trans… but if you don’t think men should be allowed to compete in women’s powerlifting, you are “transphobic” and must be publicly shamed. If you are white or male (or worse: both), then YOU are the problem and your point of view does not matter. Jonathan Haidt gave a great TED talk on the “Moral Roots of Liberals and Conservatives” that really shows how people think and how both liberals and conservatives are a necessary to balance society. Unfortunately, I suspect he was thinking of more classical liberals than progressive liberals. I just feel like the U.S. is completely losing that balance.

  6. Their flat graphs suggest Ireland and Portugal are Europe’s most boring countries, as in the old Chinese blessing “May you live in boring times!”. And amen re Geoge Wallace’s ostracization, but what is present-day left-wing ‘Lanekeeping’ but Neo-Segregationism? For example, separate graduation ceremonies for students of different races, and demands that novelists not explore cultures they were not raised in in their stories?

  7. jimhaz says

    [What’s needed is a new vision that gives conservative members of white majorities hope for their group’s future while permitting cosmopolitans the freedom to celebrate diversity]

    i was hoping the global warming, pollution and resource dilemmas would end up as a major catalyst and have a big impact on decreasing immigration into Western countries.

    Unfortunately, the only political forces that will talk about cutting migration are the self-absorbed far right radicals – who are mostly anti-GWers.

  8. jimhaz says

    It is interesting to look at Californian schools:

    White students now represent 23% of the population
    White teachers however represent 63% of the teaching population.

    What sort of identity politics will occur once the white teachers age and retire?
    What sort of negative attention will be transferred to whites once a severe long term recession/depression hits?

  9. Hamish Alcorn says

    When will we see such a serious discussion about the political difference between opposition to immigration & multiculturalism, and opposition to specifically Islamic immigration. They’re not the same. I know I’m not the only one who thinks immigration is healthy and that multiculturalism can be great, yet the importation of Islamic ideology is full of problem. Nuanced, perhaps, but it’s not that subtle.

    • Respek Wahmen says

      I too think immigration would be fine if we were allowed to criticize Islam in order to hopefully disabuse muslim victims of their stupid, vile, anti-liberal ideology. Instead many governments are doing all they can to prop Islam up.

      Unlike leftists, religious conservatives can still be rational, since the delusion is far more limited and can be compartmentalized. The right is now far more rational than the left. At least the right doesn’t explicitly reject logic and reason.

      The right isn’t destroying comedy and calling for censorship.

      The current left cannot be supported by any thinking person, except cynically/selfishly.

      • Dzoldzaya says

        Because nothing would work better at persuading Muslims to integrate and become good secularists than telling them how stupid and vile their religion is.

        • Respek Wahmen says

          Yet you’d likely think it’s okay to tell that to neo (or historical) nazis. Naziphobe! Hitler doesn’t represent all nazis, you bigot.

      • staticnoise says

        Seems so obvious, what you are saying here, but so many will cock their heads as if it is crazy talk.

        I can’t for the life of me understand the ‘liberal’ attitude toward Islam, the core values of each appear diametrically opposed. But as the saying goes, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The enemy is of course is Christianity. Once that is thoroughly destroyed one will turn on the other. Just take a guess who will prevail.

    • “Immigration, as survey experiments show, unsettles the cultural security of conservative ethnic majorities” I don’t buy it. I’m pretty old; old enough to see that assimilating immigration is beneficial, and especially when there are shared cultural beliefs – even simple ones like personal accountability and a commitment to hard work. Similarity also exists across religions and for the most part Islamic-Christian values (and others) share many desirable features.

      But do we actually know what the lessons of open immigration in Germany and France are? Why does it seem those countries are under attack; centuries of culture being up-rooted; public safety breaking-down; and so on? The grotesque and mounting vandalism of many 100s of churches across France? Why are these societies unwinding?

  10. Martti S says

    Some things I do not understand:
    –How do you define ‘populist’? Why aren’t the Greens called ‘populists’ ?
    –Why is it essential to ‘diminish populist influence’? What is the danger in the populist influence?
    –Is it really important to preserve the power pyramides of the traditional political parties?
    –Isn’t the most important thing to minimize the concrete negative effects of immigration, like increased violence and degradation of cityscapes, honor killings, child marriages, etc? Reading this piece one gets the idea that these question need to be addressed to keep the ‘populists’ at bay.

    There is something very fishy in this piece.
    The writer is concerned about his own political status, not what happens to the people.

    • Rami says

      Good question. The left creates (or better manipulates) the use of language to brainwash people in thoughts, actions and language.
      The other day I saw a YouTube video of a mini panel in a British TV (not sure if BBC or Sky), but 2 journalists, one was a Progressive Muslim woman , the other not exactly a conservative but more like a moderate or libertarian. They are taking about the surge of right wing populism, Trump, Farage, etc.

      The moderate guy explains the economic and cultural factors that influenced the resurgence of those movements, while the progressive woman talks about the “dangers” it represent to “liberal democracies” and as expected from a radical progressive, essentially equating popularism to fascism.

      I’m there thinking, language. What is exactly “liberal democracy” as supposed to what “illiberal democracy”? So progressive talk about “liberal democracies” and “populism” as opposing terms, they are not. In fact the word “populism” (from the Latin word Populis=people) is a direct translation from the word Democracy (from the Greek word Demos=people, cratia =government). Thus populism and democracy go hand in hand.

      Yet they push the term LibDem as the “only valid term”.:when in reality all it means, is democracies where lib-prog “values” are enforced , as suppose to democracies where conservative or traditional liberal values are enforced.

      So again, terms like “liberal democracies”, “white privilege”, “diversity” , “right wing populism”, “comprehensive immigration reform” etc are all just abstract terms/phrases used as mantra and specifically tailored to create a mind set and manipulate thoughts. In short indoctrination.

      Free thinkers shouldn’t allow for it.

    • Grant says

      The populist term was initially used to associate Trump with Andrew Jackson. Calling him a NAZI didn’t stick, so populist is the new term without the unbelievable baggage of NAZI.

  11. Closed Range says

    I stopped reading at “since the EU has little power” – it has tremendous power and has regularly overturned and undermined democratically elected national governments throughout the continent. For those in the eurozone it is even worse as it controls the money supply to each country. This author seems to have been on vacation for the last 20 years. We can all see that the way the EU treated Greece and Cyprus shows that the EU sees the weaker members as colonies, and thus it is forming into an empire. This has enabled the rise of a centre right left whatever you want to call it that tries to preserve our hard won nation states.

    • Peter Kriens says

      I am not sure exaggerating helps. I also do believe the EU grew too fast, the extension in 2005 to 25 states was clearly way too early since the economic level of the different countries was too different. And although the euro has drawbacks, it is hard to deny that the common market it created works quite well. As a frequent traveller in Europe I clearly enjoy the single currency and borderless crossings. However, more important is how Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Bulgary, etc. have been helped to improve their infrastructure and governance. That part is not talked much about but I find it quite impressive.

      Greece was treated badly bad they cheated on entry and had an awful economy. Today they seem to be on the right track again. Cyprus, well, the Russians got justly screwed imho.

      It is always easy to blame an existing system and think another system would have worked much better. However, why is it then that no system is without its criticasters? Sometimes you just need to keep slugging on improving what you’ve got instead of starting yet another revolution. We’re in a historically pretty good situation in Europe. Most of all, no war in this war torn part of the world for almost 75 years! Count your blessings.

      • GSW says

        “I am not sure exaggerating helps.” @Peter Kriens

        Oh, come off it.

        The EU is a polite fiction designed to put a pretty face on German hegemony in Europe.

        The Euro is a monetary scheme to keep the German export economy competitive by undervaluing the deutschmark.

        Revanchist German nationalists get to unite West and East Germany while declaiming so-called populist nationalists everywhere else in Europe (save maybe Croatia and Slovenia, its WW II allies.)

        Greeks get the financial shiv to make good on the junk Greek debts of the German banks so helpfully nationalized by Merkel.

        And so on, and so on…

        • Respek Wahmen says

          And those opposed to German hegemony (brexiters, z.B.) are called nazis. Oh the humanities!

  12. E. Olson says

    Let me help do what the author fails to do:

    Populist Movement Definition: rise in the number of people who vote against the interests and preferences of political elites.

    What do elites want?

    Political power to do what they need to protect their influence, wealth, and favored causes including:

    High energy prices to save the planet from global warming.

    High immigration to save the welfare state and/or provide cheap labor and personal help and/or tear
    down white/Western privilege/hegemony.

    Open borders for trade and capital to allow outsourcing of production to low cost countries to increase profits, and allowing capital movement to low tax regimes, high return markets, and capital safety markets.

    Protection and promotion of “victim” classes – females, homosexuals, transsexuals, non-Christians, non-whites.

    Note the desires of the elites are almost always at odds with the desires of the masses, but they are also at odds with each other such as concern for global warming while outsourcing production to cheaper countries with minimal environmental regulations and cheaper energy, or a desire to maintain a welfare state while seeking to escape paying for it themselves and supporting immigration policies that undermine it.

    A key to the elite for maintaining power is to appease the masses with some token acknowledgement of their plight (e.g. slight/temporary reductions in immigration or energy taxes), and more importantly use their control of the media to falsely portray populist parties/candidates as far Right Nazis and Fascists, even though the Nazis and Fascist boogeymen of history were all far Left in the “big government” policies.

    • Peter from Oz says

      Let me qualify that. Populists are people who vote against the small part of the elite that is on the left. Sometimes they will vote with the conservative mainstream party but other times they will vote for an alternative when they think that the Conservative party is not being tough enough in relation to the issues that cause them the most concern.
      The big problem is that conservative politicians can get what the British civil service call “house trained” where they let the bureaucrats persuade them that changing anything so that the bureaucracy has less power is too difficult or “courageous”.
      Look up “Yes, Minister” on YouTube and you will get a great understanding of how government really works. It is one of the great sit coms of all time, and certainly the greatest portrayals of the workings of politics.

      • E. Olson says

        Peter – the swamp devours everyone whether they are Left or Right, the only difference is the Right tends to resist a little bit in the beginning and around election time.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @E. Olson

      “High immigration to save the welfare state”

      To save it? Rather to bankrupt it, I think. And after all, it’s a global village, so why should any worker in the West have it better than one in Bangladesh? However we will insist on Virtue, thus workers around the world will be entitled to use the bathroom of their choice. I think the world is ruled by Davos and they fund the university’s descent into madness quite deliberately. Crazy, fragmented, disoriented people are easier to control. They will first create the chaos then they will come to the rescue and their solution will be (who would guess?) more globalization, rollbacks of the ‘welfare state’, and yet lower taxes for the billionaires.

      • E. Olson says

        Ray – but if you believe in the blank slate, then you can delude yourself that a Syrian or Afghani or Kenyan can come to the “magic dirt” of Sweden, Canada, Germany, or the US and immediately find a good paying job and then pay taxes to support all the old and retired white Christians who didn’t have enough kids to support the Ponzi scheme welfare state.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @E. Olson

          But I don’t believe in blank slate. Mind, if you extend the idea of ‘welfare state’ as you used it above to include state pensions, then I suppose there really are people who believe that a Somali refugee will one day pay enough taxes to support the aging whities who let him into the country. But again I suspect that they are useful idiots and the real agenda is to meltdown the entire social system. Why would the Davos people support retired workers with ‘gold plated’ pensions when that money could be so much better spent on yachts and $5,000,000 watches and private islands in the Bahamas? The Davos people deserve so much more and it’s past time that mere producers were put back in their place. Expired dairy cows are ground up for hamburger, why should expired workers expect better?

          • E. Olson says

            Ray – I know you don’t believe in the blank slate, but many on the Left claim to believe because then they can also believe all differences in achievement are due to racism, sexism, –phobia, etc. rather than differences in genes or culture. Pensions (public employees and social security) are welfare in most countries because money paid in by workers goes directly out the door to pay a retiree’s pension (or medical care), and those “senior” costs are what is bankrupting most western countries dreaming that immigrants will bail them out. The Davos crowd is largely immune from being on the hook because they can usually shield/hide the bulk of their income and wealth from taxation one way or another even as the often pay the majority of taxes, which is why raising taxes on the rich almost never raises much money.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @E. Olson

            “but many on the Left claim to believe because then they can also believe all differences in achievement”

            So let’s offer folks a sane alternative.

            “Pensions (public employees and social security) are welfare in most countries because money paid in by workers goes directly out the door to pay a retiree’s pension”

            Call it what you want, I don’t feel guilty about the fact that I’m not starving. We used to be able to fund pensions just fine and we’re told that productivity keeps rising. Yet we’re told we can no longer afford to feed retirees but we can afford tax breaks for billionaires.

            “they can usually shield/hide the bulk of their income and wealth from taxation”

            Which IMHO should be stopped. Nuts, if the mega rich paid half the taxes that they pretend that they do, that would probably be plenty. As Helmsley said: “Only the poor people pay taxes.” Somewhere between the Koch brothers and AOC should be a policy of economic moderation, don’t you think?

    • Tersitus says

      Pretty good outline, EO— being a quibbler, I would replace “protection and promotion of ‘victim classes’” with “designation and manipulation” of same. Their concerns for much beyond their own power is always conditional and insincere.

  13. asdf says

    The author notes something that was very important to my own enlightenment on this issue. Namely, that Asia doesn’t have any immigration and is generally “racist”, yet it doesn’t stop them from having an advanced economy and society.

    In the USA “racist” is almost a class signifier. If you’re a racist then you are some backward ignoramus, probably from The South, and your views come from ignorance that you need to be educated out of. People want to not be seen as racist as much for upward mobility purposes as anything else.

    But in Asia, nobody gives a shit about this stuff. Would importing a bunch of third worlders be good for Japan? Of course not. Duh. Dysfunctional foreigners would destroy this good thing we got going.

    It’s not that they are rude or bigoted (Japanese are extremely polite and helpful to people of all races they encounter in the street). And it’s not that they are ignorant (they would likely know more about the world than most). It’s that they call a spade a spade. The truth is what it it. If they aren’t good for Japan, they aren’t good for Japan.

    Asia also shows that it is possible to control immigration flows. Plenty of people would love to move to the Asian tigers, but they don’t allow it. Singapore CANES illegal immigrants and people who employ illegal immigrants. They can maintain pretty high levels of immigration and foreign population % without somehow getting a bunch of underclass illegal migrants.

    • Morgan Foster says

      “So long as mainstream parties manage the inflow of immigrants, they can keep the populist right at bay …” ………… “So long as progressive norms don’t paralyze the mainstream parties on immigration, as they did in the very recent past, democracies can successfully respond to political demands, limiting populist influence.”

      Words to the wise international socialist: “softly, softly, catchee monkey.”

    • Ray Andrews says


      “But in Asia, nobody gives a shit about this stuff.”

      Multiculturalists that we are, we should take heed that white-western liberal guilt is entirely the affectation of white-western liberals and no one else in the world practices self-hatred as a sort of religion. Asians, Muslims, Negroes, even Latinos and even Eastern Europeans do not long for their own replacement in their own countries. WWLG is actually a demonstration of White Privilege. The Japanese consider their superiority over Africans to be so obvious that it’s embarrassing to mention it, and so it is. Yet even in Japan:

    • Zaru says

      “It’s not that they are rude or bigoted (Japanese are extremely polite and helpful to people of all races they encounter in the street).”

      Japanese are racist, often very racist. Or maybe you think those “black trucks” there are driving around spreading happy thoughts.

    • JC says


      That’s about the level of bumbling idiocy I have come to expect on this website. No, being a racist southerner has never meant you probably live in a trailer park. What the hell are you talking about? That’s a dumb stereotype held by morons who fail to notice that the political class of the south is and has always been racist. They aren’t uneducated rubes today anymore than they were in the past, regardless of how many individual dummies one can point to who can also be found in every region of the country. In fact, the south has actually dominated thought on the Republican side since the mid-90s, see Newt Gingrich, Trent Lott, and Mitch McConnell, the most important modern Republicans outside of Reagan. No, being the right kind of racist behind closed doors is more likely to show one’s class, not pretending to not be a racist. Further, given the racist email threads that get revealed over and over again (see the Cubs owner’s email dump for example) from the most well off, you’ve got to be really stupid to believe that not being a racist/ not wanting to be seen as racist by your peers is a sign of your class. Not being seen as a racist by the public is the goal, because that hurts the bottom line.

      Secondly, up until basically Trump’s electoral victory, it was the Conservative business class which was most ardently supporting a version of open borders because it provided them with a cheap labor supply. Funny enough, it was the racist dummies in the rural areas (see Georgia for example) who decided to get tough on undocumented workers in the mid 2000s which of course caused a dramatic drop in their agricultural output because America did and does actually need the labor. It’s easy to point to areas of the world that are already extraordinarily over-populated and say that countries like America should have the same policies without feeling guilty about it. Fine, but I’ve yet to hear where the labor needed in America is going to come from since that is not our circumstance at this point in time. Further, everybody knows Japan is headed for a basically unsolvable problem short of increasing immigration given its population declines, so definitely a really smart choice to use as an example of a rational immigration policy the US should feel fine following.

      And now for some editorial commentary designed to annoy these readers, it is racism that has caused rural America to support policies that obviously hurt their own interests. It decided in the 80s to embrace Reaganomics because of their fear that a black person might receive one undeserved dollar from the federal government. As a consequence they were hit with de-industrialization and the destruction of a safety net that might have aided in keeping their communities afloat. My favorite moment in the 2016 election was watching these dumb rubes react so positively to anti-TPP rhetoric from Trump. Don’t get me wrong, I was with them, but virtually every Republican elected across the Rust Belt was in favor of it, including Governors Kasich, Walker, Snyder, and Corbett, each elected in their states in the racist Tea Party wave beginning in 2009 and voted in by the same dumb rubes who are sure they don’t support policies like the TPP. On the other side, only one Democrat elected in PA, OH, MI, and WI supported the TPP. So, you all can hate me for laughing at these morons for voting against their interest, but then you’re just ignoring how much they agree with me. See, it’s fun to know things like when stupid people vote for policies they’re sure they don’t support because they really care most about cultural issues, particularly race.

      So, readers like yourself can dismiss the idea that racism exists on any large scale and even come up with really stupid logic that racism is a good thing in America despite America having always been a pluralistic society whose racism has almost destroyed it in the very recent past, you know unlike China or Japan or whatever dumb crap you’re using to self-justify your racism. But, I just have to say, the idea that America should embrace immigration policies of other countries it has nothing in common with is among the stupidest arguments I have ever heard. I’m always impressed when I get an itch to come to this website just how delusional it can get. I suppose it is refreshing to read someone embracing his (very likely his) own racism. Normally it’s the BS above in the article about how racism has nothing to with… blah, blah, blah.

      BTW, I picked the Ricketts family because they hold a Governor’s seat in the Midwest (chair of the Republican Governor’s Association) and are prominent fundraisers for the RNC and have served in Trump’s cabinet. Because yeah, racism really hurts you in Trump’s America. You can’t get to any prominent position if you might be viewed as racist. That’s why Trump distanced himself from the Ricketts as soon as those emails were leaked and why Gov. Ricketts has lost so much standing in Nebraska. You’re a very smart observer of America, that’s for sure.

      • Timmy D. says

        ” See, it’s fun to know things like when stupid people vote for policies they’re sure they don’t support because they really care most about cultural issues, particularly race.”

        Fascinating that you’d call them stupid, when you admit right after they’re voting for what they care about most and putting other issues they don’t like to the side.

        That’s intelligence.

        • JX says

          Timmy D

          Yeah, nothing screams intelligence like destroying one’s own community because he or she can’t conceptionalize minorities as fully human.

          The logic of the Quillette board strikes again. This is definitely my favorite collection of dumbshits with delusions of grandeur. Racist temporarily destitute millionaires and racist suburbanites, the Trump coalition Timmy D so admires.

      • asdf says

        Fruit pickers don’t produce economic value. They cost more to educate (free whether they use it or not), provide healthcare for, police, and support in retirement than their fruit picking could ever make up for.

        The best countries in the world are those with the best genetics. You can’t replace good genes with bad genes and get the same outcomes.

        Asia does need to increase birthrate, but that is the solution. You can’t solve a lot birthrate deficit by importing worthless third worlders.

  14. Soul says

    Most places in Germany that voted AfD had nearly no immigration. Most places in Belgium that voted VB had no immigration except for the Dender area (mild immigration). Most places that vote RN in France have not much immigration and a lot of immigrants vote RN.
    Saying that poverty is not a factor is about the most ignorant view i’ve heard on the recent European elections when you know that European growth has been dismal precisely because of the absence of a fiscal lever to boost employment due to arbitrary fiscal constraints imposed by the EU.
    Many of those places have seen intra-EU immigration: white people from Eastern Europe working for less which puts downward pressure on wages.
    Sure there are deadbeat muslims in those countries but they live mostly in big cities which vote left-liberal.
    All this may be inconvenient for the author for some reason, but science should not disregard facts.

    • Peter from Oz says

      It makes sense that the areas that have a lot of migrants would vote for pro immigration parties. There are fewer natives in such areas. Migrants naturally don’t care about the culture of the host country changing. They are not going to vote for the parties that want to limit their numbers.

      • asdf says

        On top of that isn’t it obvious that people that are bothered by immigration would move away from immigrants! Duh.

        In the USA we have an issue with cities with high black % of the population. All of the middle class whites move out because the city is too dangerous and dysfunctional. All that is left are childless young professionals (who often move out when they have kids) and wealthy people living in segregated communities/private schools. Yes, they talk a lot about racism and cosmopolitanism, but their own lives and very walled off and they often have lots of disposable income to smooth out the edges. Everyone else fled.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @Peter from Oz

        It is disheartening that something so obvious can elude people. The way this is spun in the MSM is that sophisticated, educated urban people love immigration whereas backward, ignorant, deplorable country people are too stupid to see the benefits. But should we be surprised that Muslims are in favor of more Muslim immigration? I read that the horrible white folks in the areas around London (who tended to vote Leave) are largely people who have been driven out of the city either because they can no longer afford to live there, or because they were tired of feeling like strangers in their own country. So the lack of immigrants where they live may not reflect a lack of contact with them, but rather too much already.

        • Peter from Oz says

          The so-called sophisticates of the MSMalso find it difficult to understand that although illegal immigrants may commit fewwer crimes than natives, the overall crime rate would be reduced if the illegal immigrants had not entered and stayed in the country. Lefties seem to think that the amount of crime is somehow fixed, and if illegal aliens aren’t in the country some white blokes will step up and commit a few felonies just to ensure that the rate is kept up. One wonders how such lefties can be so incapable of logical thought.

          • JC says

            Peter From Oz

            It’s truly fun to find someone as stupid as you in a comment section. If Americans commit crimes at higher rates than immigrants, then having more immigrants reduces the overall crime rate. That’s basic math you dumb shit. See if my family commits crime at a 50% rate and the neighbors family commits crime at a 20% rate, the average rate of crime is lower than 50% because of the neighbors. What you mean you dumb racist shit is there are more crimes because there are more people. But the rate of crime is still lower. God you dummies never fail to entertain.

    • ratloser says

      That´s simply wrong. Today, there are no (!) areas in Germany without maligne forms of immigration. Not in the eastern states, not in the rural regions.

      I live in a small town in southern Germany. Most people don´t let their female children go out alone in the darkness. And that´s no paranioa.

      You can´t deny the social disruption by massive immigration of young men from arabian und and african regions.

      By the way, the AFD´s political positions are those of the CDU in 1990, don´t forget.

      It´s not all economic. It´s safety, social connectivity und identity. First!

  15. I know I’m not the only one who thinks immigration is healthy and that multiculturalism can be great, yet the importation of Islamic ideology is full of problem. Nuanced, perhaps, but it’s not that subtle.

    what precisely is healthy about having mass immigration and a welfare state? what precisely is great about grooming gangs, dysgenic fertility and watching the universities being violently occupied?

  16. Cynical Old Biologist says

    The international corporations and their unwitting allies, the progressives, want open borders but democracy is actually impossible under such circumstances. How can you justify limiting voting rights that determine law-making to only the people in a particular geographical area when anyone can move and work wherever they want? First the international corporate capitalists pushed free trade agreements and we have now seen how investor-state dispute settlement arrangements undermine national sovereignty (and, hence, democracy). Open borders is the final step in the removal of people’s control over their region and culture and the laws they put in place to regulate their lives, control behaviour, limit the exploitation of individuals to restrain inequality, and limit exploitation of natural habitats to preserve something of the natural world (that, ultimately, supports us). In an open borders world, the international corporations will set the standards, (as low and as cheap as possible), and people will be set against one another in a ruthless competition that will smooth out all differences for the great bulk of humanity (other than the corporate elites) and completely trash the natural world (leading ultimately to our self-destruction).

    • Hestia says

      I totally agree with you. It is the international corporations who need open borders and cheap labor to grease their capitalist wheel.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @Cynical Old Biologist

      Yup. The progressives are merely useful idiots, doing Davos’ work for them. Why fight the left — who used to defend the common person — when you can turn them into enemies of the common person? As Caesar and Hitler said: “Divide and conquer”.

  17. Pingback: How Progressivism Enabled the Rise of the Populist Right | TrumpsMinutemen

  18. Hestia says

    Actually, Salvini in Italy topped 34%, an unprecedented victory in a country with many small parties.

  19. Princess Underlove says

    Oh look, an article blaming progressives on Quillette, it must be a day ending in “Y”.

    The rise of the far-right has nothing to do with progressivism itself, racists as bigots have always existed, the only thing that changed now is the Internet. The largely unmoderated means of mass communications that Silicon Valley naively created and left open to the public allowed the far-right to spread conspiracy theories against women and minorities.

    YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and anonymous pornography forums such as 4chan and 8chan have served as tools of far-right radicalization and to spread conspiracy theories that characterize women and minorities as pests trying to ruin the world order of the straight white male. It all started with anti-feminist conspiracy theories and misogynistic harassment campaigns during the days of atheism plus and gamergate, then it moved to racism, anti-immigration and outright neo-Nazism promoted by the same people. People like Carlgon, Pewdiepie, Stefan Molyneux, Milo Yiannopoulos and a whole bunch of far-right racists, misogynists and bigots of every flavor have taken over social media and promoted victim narratives to straight white males, convincing them that they are the truly oppressed ones instead of PoC, women, Muslims, etc. They spread conspiracy theories like the Frankfurt School and White Genocide to millions upon millions of gullible young white males who then became angry and dangerous far-right loons.

    That’s the real reason for the rise of the far-right, and the solution that tech companies are beginning to wake up to (if too slowly) is for them to take responsibility and start deplatforming hate.

    • Rev. Wazoo! says

      @princeswhy did a majority of women and 62% of working class women vote for Rump which BTW, I didn’t

    • Grant says

      It’s not a rise of the far right, their numbers are inconsequential. Progressives have made great progress towards their goals, but they continually move the bar. Conservatives react because they can’t integrate such notions as gender fluidity and open borders. It doesn’t make sense to them. Shocker, there’s a lot of men and women who don’t want men taking showers or going to the bathroom with their 10 year old daughters. They find themselves competing with Mexican labor that won’t provide them a living wage. They find the ideas of killing a 6 month old fetus horrifying. They look at California and are appalled by the degradation and homelessness. And now they find themselves censored by self righteous democrats who are hell bent on they views being suppressed.
      You deceive yourself if you think this movement is sustained by a bunch of neo-NAZIs.

      • Ray Andrews says


        That is exactly the case. I’m a natural born conservative socialist — let’s make the world a better place, but let’s be careful that our new ideas really are better than the ones they replace — but the lunatic left drives me away.

    • Ms Appercept says

      A century ago the Left (ComIntern) tried to take over Europe, in Trotski’s dream of global communism, using Lenin’s revolutionary strategy.

      Mussolini expelled the Left from the factories they had occupied with his Blackshirts. Similar movements in arose in Britain and France, for instance, and especially Germany (Godwin trigger alert: the SA Brownshirts) where the revolutionary International Socialist Left were opposed specifically by the National Socialists.

      When the global revolution failed, the Communist faithful, like Gramsci and his Frankfort School, decided to attack the institutions which had been so successful in repelling their ideology: the family, the Church and the institutions of democratic government. As these are the very entities that are now under attack, it is reasonable to assume that this effect and that cause are linked.

      Your solution of “De-platforming” is exactly the problem. By banning wrongthink, rather than debating it, the Left creates a persecution complex that will never be extinguished.

      “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”
      Margaret Thatcher

      “Truth is burnished by its collision with error.”
      John Stuart Mill, “On Liberty”

    • Peter from Oz says

      Who are these ”progressives on Quillette” who are being blamed?

      ”YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and anonymous pornography forums such as 4chan and 8chan have served as tools of far-right radicalization and to spread conspiracy theories that characterize women and minorities as pests trying to ruin the world order of the straight white male. ”
      Total bollocks. You are the sort who thinks that any slight disagreement with the left means that we are on the slippery slope to utter racism, white supremacy and women being made to go preganat and barefoot in the snow.
      EVerywhere we look it is left-wing nutters who are trying to censor and censure people for what they say. It is the left who offer real violence against those who don’t agree 100% with the latest crackpot ideas. And yet, wankers like you try to pretend that we on the right want to oppress you? It is hilarious. Your side actually wants to punish people for thinking differently to you. Our side wants a fair debate.
      The problem for you is that when it comes to fair debate your side always loses.

  20. They spread conspiracy theories like the Frankfurt School and White Genocide to millions upon millions of gullible young white males who then became angry and dangerous far-right loons.

    That’s the real reason for the rise of the far-right, and the solution that tech companies are beginning to wake up to (if too slowly) is for them to take responsibility and start deplatforming hate.

    actually the frankfurt school is not a conspiracy. The phrase “women and minorities” comes from Gramsci’s prison notebooks.

    • Grant says

      Never heard of the Frankfurt School or White Genocide. But they have a big influence?

    • Patricia Bonion says

      You accuse people of spreading conspiracy theories and then immediately shared your own about “millions” of young white men reading propaganda and becoming violent. As if that’s a thing that is happening.

  21. In the modern world, however, getting women out of the home and into work was not at all visionary, since the thing called “work” was now largely done in centrally heated offices in front of a computer. In the push-button world men had created, physical strength was hardly ever needed, especially in the more attractive jobs. Work had been the curse of Adam, parallel with childbirth as the curse of Eve, but work now turned out to be a rather agreeable shuffling of symbols in an office full of friendship and event. It was not difficult to present this kind of work—the kind that interested the humanities graduates who largely fuelled the radical movement—as a liberation from the confinement of family life and the tedious babble of the toddler. And it fitted into a wider socialist notion that a person’s value was the contribution made to the welfare of others. It had been an old dream of Zionist socialists and Bolsheviks (among others) to absorb the family into society with everyone living communally, restaurants and daycare centers replacing family arrangements, and women working each day alongside the men. Here this dream was reborn, no longer as an aspect of utopia, but as the final achievement of justice against an oppressive world

  22. bumble bee says

    What I believe is missed in this article is the role progressives play in alienating a vast majority of any countries citizenry. There is a brick wall with progressives in which they will not even entertain any other view, concern, or outright fact that contradicts their own magical thinking. They are so entrenched in their own self glorifying ideology, they have turned everything and everyone that has not swallowed their tripe whole into enemies.

    Well the people have had enough and are voting against the progressive agenda more so than support who they voted for. You’d have to be daft to not understand the hostility that comes from progressives. The Democrats are so tied up with identity politics, all their legislation and background noise consists of nothing else. Well that leaves a majority of Americans without representation and therefore people look for those will look out for their interests. In fact, I would not be surprised if this current state of the democratic party is actually hedging their bets for the future where minority/special interest groups will possibly be the largest demographic “group” therefore insuring a larger political base to come. This is why they not only tolerate, but support the ravings coming from the three new members of Congress that constantly spout nonsense and their own racist views.

    The same can be seen in the EU. They have negated their own citizens and their concerns with an agenda that is counter because for some reason the EU believes they, and they alone know what is best. It is not representative government, it is a form of communal dictatorship where citizens and member governments are forced into compliance. That is why Brexit occurred, that is why non-progressive parties are seeing political victories, as the people are voting against being told what will be regardless of impact.

    It is my hope that this current trend towards the right continues. That more people will rebuke progressive ideology, and people will realize that voting for the left leaves them and their concerns without representation as their default is to use their political positions to consist of only social justice issues. The prime example of this is the elections of the Bermuda Triangle of Congress, Omar, Tlaib and Cortez. None of these women are representing their districts or their district’s needs. They are hired SJW who are using their position to serve their own agendas. My hope again is that self-serving candidates are never elected to office again.

  23. Sean Leith says

    I am not a social scientist, I don’t tend to write an article to explain why this is happening. But sometimes instinct is better way to tackle complex issue. It is as simple as this: the left have always been wrong, from the beginning, it is just they hadn’t gone far enough to destroy themselves. Starting 5 years ago, the left have gone mad, nut, insane. They are no longer reasonable human anymore. When you look at any of 25 US presidential candidates, that’s the conclusion you draw. I am not kidding. I predict that there would not be an democrat government in US in the next 50 years.

    • asdf says

      The City of Baltimore is incredibly insane and dysfunctional, but it never changes and Democrats always win. The city is 2/3rds black. Once there are enough brown people, Democrats can win elections no matter how bad they govern.

      • EK says


        That’s because the federal government has been subsidizing dysfunctional city government with block grants and subsidizing individual city dwellers with programs like SSI and Medicaid since the Nixon Administration. The worse they do, the more money the get.

        Further, it’s in the federal government’s interest to keep local government weak.

    • cthoms says

      There was a recent event in DC where a rail-rider complained about an employee eating on the train (against a well-publicized rule). The complainer (an author) was ostracized and had her just-finished book de-platformed. The article I read about the incident pointed out that leftist domination of employment in the DC rail system had moved into a second stage. Being simply minority was no longer enough to gain employment or promotion. One now also needed to be incompetent. When identity itself is no longer adequate, and demonstrated inability is also necessary, making predictions about democrats not winning elections for the foreseeable future is probably premature.

  24. Everett Brunson says

    Does anyone else think it strange the author mentions the 30% average voter turnout in EU Parliamentary elections yet fails to mention there was a 51% turnout in Britain? That is an over 60% increase in participation. Further, he also failed to mention the meteoric rise of the Brexit Party–that gained 30 seats. Is it a case of “if ignored then it doesn’t exist?

  25. Morgan Foster says

    “How Progressivism Enabled the Rise of the Populist Right”

    Love the sly put-down in the headline to this article.

    Rather like:

    “How co-dependent wives enable their abusive husbands.”

    Progressives share the blame, maybe, a little bit for the rise of populism, but always remember that they are the true victims in this story.

  26. David V says

    Much of what’s discussed above can be put down to the following:

    “white guilt” took root in Western Europe, North America and Australia in the decades following World War II, with the exposure Nazi crimes, plus decolonisation, the Civil Rights Movement and Apartheid all playing a role in being the “canon” for the new Diversity creed.
    Eastern Europe’s experiences of Communism has meant they have no qualms about condemning it on the same level as Nazism.
    the socioeconomic and political settlement of the postwar period began fraying after the Cold War ended, and the collapse of the political centre is its logical outcome.
    the progressives, having learned to be patient in implementing their agenda, became increasingly impatient during the Obama years.

    • Serenity says

      David V,

      On one occasion kind and friendly young German woman of my acquaintance, a great supporter of modern liberalism, said out of the blue, as if she was talking to herself: “I don’t want to be German.” That was a sad revelation. Why would a German teenager of our time feel guilty and responsible for the Third Reich’s crimes?

      Progressive radicals denounce German culture expressed in national identity, patriotism and national consciousness as akin to nazism and thus follow suit and reinforce neo-nazis who propagate psychopathic ideology of the Third Reich as the quintessence of German identity to recruit young supporters, to gang up people based on their ethnical identity – and lead the struggle for power grab.

      Neo-nazis and their left-wing counterparts work in tandem helping each other to polarize society, to deepen social fractures – paving the way to political power.

      While right-wing radicals call to exterminate or to expel ethnical minorities, liberal extremists advocate open boarders’ policies – unlimited legal and illegal immigration turning minorities into majorities, marginalising national cultures, further disrupting the balance of labour markets – and again boosting the camp of left-wing disadvantaged constituency.

      • David V says

        The main issue is that in the UK, USA and Australia, we are now moving to a level where our history and existence is now treated as a moral equivalent to Nazi Germany. And much of this pushed by minority, indigenous and Muslim activist groups.

        We are treated to what amounts to a pop culture version of history which includes colonialism, slavery, segregation, Apartheid and Nazism. The positive achievements of the West and the colonial empires are ignored, downplayed or “deconstructed” to serve this narrative.

        For Jewish communities, the irony is that the West’s post-Holocaust guilt has enabled the migration and growth of some of the most rabidly anti-Semitic communities with the rise of Islamist and black power movements.

  27. Farris says

    Mr. Kaufman omits a large piece of the immigration pie conundrum in this article. Perhaps his book does not. Western countries sought immigrants as cheap labor and a means to perpetuate social programs as native birth rates declined. This is not unprecedented in history. The U.S. has had immigration waves in the past. What the progressives omitted this go around was assimilation. Progressives preferred multiculturalism to assimilation, considering the latter racist. Conservatives have been decrying the abandonment of assimilation since the early 1980’s. Bringing in people who are not encouraged to obey and conform the host country’s laws, customs, traditions, heritage and culture is the cause of the rise of populism (Mr. Kaufman’s term). Can one say that the response to the latest immigration wave would have been the same had the new arrivals been required to undergo citizenship requirements and learn to function within the host culture as opposed to having been encouraged to remain apart?

    • beyondyesandno says

      At last! Someone mentions birth rates.

      Regions with birth rates below the replacement rate:

      Central Europe and the Baltics (102M) 1.5
      European Union (512M) 1.6
      North America (361M) 1.7
      Australia (25M) 1.76
      East Asia & Pacific (2.3B) 1.8
      Latin America & Caribbean (644M) 2.0

      Regions with birth rates above the replacement rate:

      South Asia (1.8B) 2.4
      Middle East & North Africa (444M) 2.7
      Sub-Saharan Africa (1.1B) 4.8

      Support for multiculturalism is found nowhere outside the West. I’d love for someone to explain to me how it makes sense for small populations in decline.

  28. Funny that Quillette failed to note the unexpected jump in green and left party votes across Europe. It’s almost as if there is an agenda here.

  29. Gerry Van Kessel says

    This article supports a contention I have had for some time based on my experience with Canadian immigration and in Geneva, namely, public confidence in immigration is directly linked to confidence that their government is managing the issue rather than being managed by it. In Canada public support for immigration has been mostly positive in the postwar era. The times when this was not so was when the public concluded that immigration was being mismanaged. The current example is the large growth in asylum seekers from the USA arriving at non-border posts, thereby bypassing the safe third country agreement. Earlier examples include boat arrivals by the Chinese in 1999, Sri Lankans in 1986 and 2009, and Sikhs in 1987, and the arrivals of thousands of economic migrants claiming asylum from such countries as Portugal and the Caribbean in the 1980s. Pierre Trudeau’s Government’s first re-election was almost lost because of the failure to deal with immigration problems of the day. Support for immigration resumed once the government of the day took effective counter policy measures. In Western European a question that asks whether the immigration of the last decades has been beneficial would have numerous naysayers. An asylum policy that serves more as a bypassing of controls on economic migrants than as a protection for refugees (the great majority of asylum seekers are not granted refugee status but nonetheless remain permanently, making it common sense for them to apply as refugees in the knowledge that that will will be able to remain) and a guest worker program that dealt with even the third generation as “guests” are hardly the basis for public support for migration and refugees. In the 1980s and early 1990s asylum was a top issue in Germany and stoked populist the rise of populist opposition. This ended when a constitutional change in 1993 tightened the right to asylum in Germany. The situation today is one in which even the mildest expression of concern about the impact of immigration is regarded as hostile act by the pro-immigration forces, including those in mainstream political parties. This provided the opening for those politicians who were outside the mainstream but now increasingly are in the mainstream. Those politicians responding to these concerns, starting with Donald Trump and Victor Orban, are doing well politically. A failure to manage immigration by current governments will lead to governments of those promising to manage it in the future.

  30. justincorrigible says

    “Post 1960s liberal left” were just that, liberals, and they did a 180° within little over a decade. But, hey, nice charts.

  31. TheSnark says

    The article misses the root cause, which is the EU’s official goal of an “ever-closer union”. This might have made sense in 1956 when any integration was beneficial, but where does it lead to? If you are always getting “ever closer”, does Europe eventually wind up as an undifferentiated blob?

    That does seem to be the Brussels bureaucracies aim, to slowly take over the regulation of everything. The Euro and the Schengen agreement are the more prominent examples, both of which led directly to the most visible problems in Europe today: the economic stagnation of the South and the immigration crisis. Both are wonderful ideals, and maybe in 50 years Europe will be ready for them, but they were implemented far too early and without any consideration of the risks.

    • TheSnark says

      What is interesting is that after watching the idiotic mess that is Brexit, the other European populist parties have become much less anti-Europe, but now want to reform the EU from within. They now realize that the EU does bring many benefits, but the also realize that there are many issues that the voters prefer to handle at the national level, and are not ready to hand off to the EU. This is good.

      • bumble bee says

        You didn’t think that Brexit was going to be dealt with by the EU or even UK remoaners with good intentions did you? NO, the EU was going to make it a difficult process so that other countries would not want to follow suit. The UK remoaners have been doing their best to thwart Brexit at a every turn. The other countries who have thought about exiting themselves, will have as their example how successful the UK is after it has left.

        If the EU wants to survive it is going to have to listen to what people want, not what those “elected” think the EU needs. That includes countries being allowed to develop their own immigration laws, as well as other laws that may work for Germany and France but not their own people.

        • TheSnark says

          bumble bee:

          (1) Of course the EU made Brexit difficult. What did you expect? Duh.

          (2) The question for Brexit is if the benefits outweigh the costs. The Brexiteers have denied that there are any real costs, which is an outright lie. That’s what the European populists have realized. They have also realized that they can stop, and to some extent reverse, the “every closer union” to a more popularly acceptable level, without the economic costs of leaving.

          My point is that England’s bumbling example might actually turn out to be a long-term benefit to Europe. It seems to have turned the populists from trying to destroy the system from the outside to working to change it (albeit radically) from within. And whether the elites like it or not, it is likely to bring the whole EU project more into line with popular opinion.

        • Rev. Wazoo! says

          @Bumble Bee
          Good points, especially that no system works (immigration, monetary etc) if its not applied or misapplied. Schengen can only work if the edges are secure; Hungary and Poland accepted unlimited migration from Germany and Austria, previous invaders now in but not from Afghanistan and Nigeria. Only the UK has problems with inside EU migration and they’re not in Schengen but they foolishly allow jobseekers, housing allowance, health cover etc allowance (unemployment from day one leaving school or arriving in country.

          Here in Lux everyone needs to work 6 months before any unemployment, health coverage when a worker or dependent of one etc. So the Brits draw people to work under the table and collect benefits.

          The euro was misapplied (too broad, Greece etc not suitable) but also not applied; Germany’s huge trade surplus with Med. countries is a violation snd they can be fined but aren’t.

  32. Andreas K. says

    Immigration and the laborforce make for an equally interesting and tempestuous topic. Especially today in a world simultaneously (perhaps even incompatibly…?) dedicated to sovereign nation states, whose very borders claim legitimacy from ethnic or linguistic distribution, and cosmopolitan states which nominally stand for universal rights and equality regardless of borders and regardless of ancestry, language, or culture. Moreover, as birthrates and levels of civic and economic development continue to vary wildly around the world, as globalization continues more and more, we continue to see entire countries, entire regions, that have their complex societies and prosperity in no small part thanks to the human labor somewhere else in the world.

    For an easy example, I work in a warehouse that prints T-shirts. We can sell three dozen printed shirts for $10 apiece. That covers the cost of the equipment and our wages, while keeping our employers happy with their profits too. Well, I looked up the brand shirt we print on. Turns out it is manufactured in Haiti, where wages are 50 cents per hour. That isn’t great money for Haitians, but apparently it isn’t so terrible that their country has collpased entirely. Nevertheless, it is absurd and irrational for me to expect that Haitians will settle for that poor standard of living forever. That is why we call them developing countries, present tense. Someday, their wages and cost of living will rise, and there won’t be a soccer mom in my country willing to pay $50 per shirt just to celebrate their kid finishing 4th grade.

    Once upon a time, not so very long ago in the late 1700s, all the data I can find indicates that any given country’s demographics could be broken down thusly: 2% aristocracy, 1% clergy/clerks/teachers, 2% soldiers (and families), 10% merchants and townsfolk of all trades, 5% others, and a solid 80% peasants, serfs, slaves, etc. This essentially corresponds to the demographics known all the way back into the Middle Ages and earlier. Society could afford literally no more than 20% of the populace not being farmers and laborers toiling to provide the food and raw materials needed for everyone to survive.

    Based on all the books I can find, especially 19th century anthropology studying the transition of that world into our modern times, all kinds of secondary consequences resulted from it. Things like womanhood being endless motherhood simply from the necessity of having as many children as possible, since easily half wouldn’t survive childhood anyway, in order for anyone to exist to help your work and care for you in sickness or injury or old age. Things like the great social significance attached to legitimacy of being bornn wedlock, because inheritance laws literally were a matter of acquiring the pittance of land and tools needed to survive at all. All that is worthy of a hundred different books devoted to the subject.

    However, now we are in a very technogical, increasingly post-industrial, civilization. In the most advanced countries, hardly more than 5% of the workforce (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) is engaged in agriculture or resource gathering like mining or lumber. Automation and outsourcing have combined to reduce the manufacturing portion of the workforce to 10%. In 1919 some 2,500,000 souls worked jobs related to the railroads. Today, in 2019, thanks to technology, they number only 250,000. Two million souls work in trucking right now instead. And once again technology is changing everything again.

    On one side, the economists cry out that the most advanced countries need more immigrants, there aren’t enough workers to fill all the jobs! On another side, the businessmen and entrepreneurs cry out that computers and robots are making millions of jobs obsolete! On yet another side, demographers shout that fertility rates are declining, so we need more people to avoid a population collapse! On still another side, people reply that the hardwon opportunities and liberties for women can’t simply be discarded for them to devote their entire lives to pregnancy and raising children to be the future laborforce, certainly not for something so abstract and indifferent as The Economy.

    It has taken thousands of years for humans to reach an unprecedented point where more than 20% of the populace can be spared from hard physical toil barely beyond subsistence and an animal state of Nature. For many of us, we can look towards more while enjoying a modern life even now only because someone else somewhere else in the world has accepted, temporarily, a lower standard of living that supplies us.

    In such topsy-turvy, fragile conditions is it any wonder that people respond, even if only subconsciously, even if only counterproductively, to a serious sense that something bigger is going on?

    • Rev. Wazoo! says

      @Andreas K
      Excellent observations on the “6 contradictory things” we’re required to believe before breakfast.

      Let me add having more dependents over 65 than under 25 is bad but that a growing population is also bad. That a diverse workforce brings valuable differences in viewpoint and bahaviors but that there is no difference between diverse people so all employees must reflect demographics.

      That indigenous peoples and the formerly colonised should seek to preserve their cultures and land from intrusion/integration but Poles and Hungarians shouldn’t. That subsidised childcare is an in-alloyed good so long as the person who actually cares for the child isn’t the mother or father.

      • David V says

        That’s just it. Identity politics reveals the duplicity of its activists who believe that non-Western people and nations are entitled to their identity and independence, but Western nations are not.

        Nationalism is denounced by the Left unless it fits its anti-West worldview, so Third World post-colonial nationalism is acceptable, as are Palestinian, Scottish, Irish and Catalan “nationalism”.

  33. jhan says

    So why should those ‘populists’ be ‘held at bay’?? since all they want is stop migration and native population decline? What is the narrative in which they still supposed to be toxic? And what on earth is there ‘progressive’ about supporting Islamization?

  34. Pingback: How Progressivism Enabled the Rise of the Populist Right | CauseACTION

  35. mr. watssssson says

    One system of extremist beliefs in a direction reaction to another system of extremist beliefs. If this can’t be stopped, political systems implode and soon countries end up third-world. It’s an old story.

  36. dfdsfsd says

    Something visceral happens in a good fraction of the human race, all over the world from Europe to Asia and Modi’s India, when you step outside and you feel like a stranger in your own country. It’s something at the level of animal fear. Mass migration triggers animal fears in a good chunk of the human race, but not everybody feel this, and the people who don’t feel this fear are members of the global human race.

  37. Alan Gore says

    Like the US, European countries have been used to welcoming refugee streams from places that have fallen on hard times. But in the past, each of these streams have come from one country at a time. During my part of the twentieth century in the US, I remember the Korean refugees arriving, then the Hungarians, then the Cubans, then the Haitians, then the Vietnamese, and then the Iranians. When immigration officials familiarize themselves with one incoming culture and the reason people are leaving it, it doesn’t take long for the immigrant vetting process to adapt to each new stream and filter out infiltration by unsavory characters, even when such people were intentionally added to the stream by national policy. Remember the Marielitos?

    What Europe faces right now is a “Camp of the Saints” attempt by the whole developing world to dump the people it can no longer support into what it sees as a compliant Europe whose left no longer supports the old concept of official vetting of immigrants. Even if vetting were still a thing, having refugees swarm in from many countries at once prevents officials from learning enough about each component ethnicity to judge good from bad.

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  39. Orion Buttigieg says

    ENOUGH with the “right-wing” moniker! La Pen, Farage, et al … Are classical liberals, probably more left of centre than not since I don’t recall hearing any of them calling for a complete shut own of the current welfare state. Want to know what “right-wing” looks like …take a stroll over Saudi, Iran, et al …and if you want to look at modern authoritarianism walking the fine line of fascism then I’d look no further than where the “modern” progressives are currently trying to take us. You did notice the current war on free speech…right…or did you miss that little detail?

  40. Morgan Foster says

    “… democracies can successfully respond to political demands, limiting populist influence …”

    Are we assuming that everybody wants populist influence to be limited by progressives?

  41. Pingback: How Progressivism Enabled the Rise of the Populist Right | Big Sky Headlines

  42. Victoria says

    “the shift from national to cosmopolitan liberalism.

    Cosmopolitan liberalism is an unsustainable conceit that can sustain itself only by feeding upon the societal capital created by nationalism.

    Contra the popular usage of “progressivism,” from a political philosophy standpoint, “progressive liberalism” means a state-interventionist political program based on individual positive rights, which separates it from classical liberalism, based on individual negative rights.

    Both liberalisms rely upon, but have an ambivalent attitude towards, the state.

    A large body of political theory and analysis shows how progressive liberalism fundamentally depends on nationalism. History has shown that only a state built upon a socially-cohesive “people” can socially engineer effectively.

    Cosmopolitanism is an end state of totally atomized individuals. There’s no evidence that ideological commitment to universalism can sustain political institutions.

    Cosmopolitans are gambling the entirety of Western Civilization based on the feelings of goodness produced by universalism. I predict the Han will be the winners of this wager.

  43. Douglas B. Levene says

    Leftist opposition to assimilation as the ideal to which immigrants must aspire has fueled a great deal of the opposition to immigration in the United States.

  44. SteakAndChips says

    This is a narrative short on real evidence and long on non-sequitur. Take the conclusion that economic conditions are not what motivate anti-immigrant sentiment because personal economic circumstances don’t correlate with ideological belief. This ignores the reality that people can have ideological beliefs that are motivated not simply by their own personal circumstances. A rich person for instance can be progressive because they care about the less fortunate, so too someone can be anti immigrant because they genuinely believe it is what is hurting other people. When they see deteriorating economic conditions they start to feel that their solutions are even more of a priority regardless of whether or not they personally are the ones suffering.

    The narrative that right-wing populism exists because of progressives also ignores the fact that the argument can be framed in reverse order: progressives exists to counter right-wing populism. The author tries to make this argument work by treating right-wing populism as some sort of traditional and natural default while progressives are some sort of weird “new” aberration. However, society has always been in a state of evolution with the forces of progressive change on the one hand, the retrograde forces on the other and the forces of the status quo in the middle. The specific issues may change, but the social structure remains much the same.

    The relative popularity of the progressive/retrograde forces is motivated by the failures of the establishment and the status quo. The fact of the matter is that the flood of refugees stems from vested interests bombing the life out of people for the personal profit of corporations that thrive on misery and destruction while expecting the general public to shoulder the cost of their activities. It is these same forces that concentrate all the wealth amongst themselves through a rigged economic system while disenfranchising the great majority of working class people. So in actual fact the rise of right-wing populism has everything to do with economic structures which is why this all coincides with a rise in inequality, a financial crisis ten years ago and the fact we are heading towards another one right now. When we look back in history we see a similar correlation between economic inequality and the rise of fascism. These are not coincidences but fundamental relationships.

    Blaming the progressive left is a desperate attempt to salvage a status quo that is fundamentally broken. Not only is it desperate but it is also pointless. Society becomes immune to this sort of desperate narrative control by the establishment. I believe this is an in-built defense mechanism that society has against failure. When the status quo fails to deliver, people go in search of alternative answers.

    • beyondyesandno says

      Except that “the flood of refugees” to the EU in the last ~5 years are economic migrants.

  45. ian says

    I think it’s deeper than just immigration. It’s the sense of being irrelevant, of not being consulted. With immigration, it’s like your neighbor offering to put a stranger up in your house without asking you. You’d be happy to help out, but no one is asking you with respect.
    Electing right wing populists is a huge ‘F you’ to the elites – it’s people who have been told ‘we know what’s best for you, don’t worry your pretty little heads over things’ saying ‘I matter’.

  46. David Wall says

    Populism = Democracy that isn’t going the way I want it to.

  47. Klaus C. says

    Hmm, seems nothing unfortunate ever happens these days, anywhere, without it being the fault of “progressivism”.

    In making these claims, the conservatives are actually insisting that their own views and policies, being nothing more than a “reaction to the excesses of their opponents”, can’t be expected to yield worthwhile outcomes. But that’s “not their fault”.

    They’re making feeble excuses for the fact that ill-conceived conservative reactionary policies – such as Brexit – are creating unprecedented levels of chaos and conflict that will take years to heal.

    • Morgan Foster says

      @Klaus C.

      It takes years, sometimes, and suffering to survive cancer.

  48. jolly swagman says

    “Since the EU has little power compared to nation-states …”
    Not so – the EU bureaucracy and the elites which rule over it (as opposed to the EU Parliament, which is mere theatre) has enormous power and is an existential threat to the nation-states of Europe. Indeed, its what the whole nationalist revolt is about

  49. Peter from Oz says

    If a left wing political party were to win an election with a strong majority, would that be evidence of left wing populism?
    Surely, populism is just a code word for a politcal outcome with which you disagree. After all, in a democracy being popular is what it is all about.

  50. Peter Barber says

    Immigration is an economic issue.

    People are worried that the reason their livelihoods are declining is because they are being forced to compete with cheap labor from abroad.

    That’s not (primarily) the real reason their living standards are plummeting, but it is the reason they believe to be primarily responsible.

  51. Immigration can be a good thing, However, caution must be used, foreign governments could use immigration as a weapon!

  52. Jyll Nocel says


    Everybody says there is this RACE problem. Everybody says this RACE problem will be solved when the third world floods into EVERY white country and ONLY into white countries.

    The Netherlands and Belgium are just as crowded as Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan must solve this RACE problem by letting in millions of third worlders and quote assimilating unquote with them.

    Everybody says the ultimate solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY white country and ONLY white countries to “assimilate,” i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites.

    What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries?

    How long would it take anyone to realize I’m not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the ultimate solution to the BLACK problem?

    And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn’t object to this?

    But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

    They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white.

    Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

  53. Jyll Nocel says


    Everybody says there is this RACE problem. Everybody says this RACE problem will be solved when the third world floods into EVERY white country and ONLY into white countries.

    The Netherlands and Belgium are just as crowded as Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan must solve this RACE problem by bringing letting in millions of third worlders and quote assimilating unquote with them.

    Everyone says the ultimate solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY white country and ONLY white countries to “assimilate,” i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites.

    What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries?

    How long would it take anyone to realize I’m not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the ultimate solution to the BLACK problem?

    And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn’t object to this?

    But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

    They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white.

    Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

  54. AnonAnon says

    This survey indicates that in Australia, the ratio of unfavourable to favourable attitudes to Islam is about (my guess from the graphics) 6 times higher than the average for the nine other religions surveyed.

    The progressive Left have rocks in their heads for promoting or tolerating large scale Muslim immigration and for pathologising criticism of this or of Islam as “Islamophobia” or racism. (People are entitled to have their own views of different races anyway, and in a democracy these should be both respected and subject to reasoned critique.)

    I think the real problem is with fundamentalism, such as those who regard the Torah (Genesis to Deuteronomy – ca. 600 BCE “myth and propaganda” as one Amazon reviewer described it – see “The Bible Unearthed”) as historically accurate. They tend to pathologise non-believers and anyone who doesn’t fit their male/female roles – to the point of wanting them suppressed, punished or killed. They tend to be at odds with the separation of church from state, such as with Sharia law and the call from some Christian fundamentalists in the USA for prayer in school.

    Having any significant, influential, number of such people in a Western country is at odds with many of the Western values which make the country worth living in. We spend billions on defense – since any country worth living in, like any such house, needs strong borders to protect it. So why invite in large numbers of people who are generally at odds with our fundamental principles and for genetic, cultural or other reasons less likely than other, more carefully chosen, immigrants to contribute economically?

    If there were a significant number of generally non-fundamental, highly educated and capable (some or many professionally employable, with reasonable English skills) immigrants, such as from Turkey, then their Islamic beliefs would not be viewed with such alarm. It is the combination of fundamentalism and poor compatibility with employment and integration that is the problem with current Islamic immigration, not which God and prophets they believe in, which are nor more wacky than those of any other religion.

    Today’s Islamic immigrants come largely from countries of poverty, war, and inadequate education, most if it due to Islam itself, high levels of cousin-marriage (the Saudi government now warns against it) and its deadly conflict between Sunnis and Shia, which began a generation after the founding of the religion.

    Protecting the nation from those who would weaken or destroy it is a fundamental responsibility of government. The government’s clientele is the citizens of the country. The Left tends to see the government as an inexhaustible source of money and authority, and has utopian goals of improving the lot of every person on the planet (except their wealthy opponents), without offending anyone except those who oppose this ideology. (This is a generous view. Another is that the most effective influencers on the Left are guilt-mongering social climbers virtue signalling their way in life, and so trying to offend anyone with less lofty ideology than their own.)

    The fact that politicians who oppose these self-destructive notions are getting voted in, and that some establishment parties are being much more cautious with immigration, shows that democracy is functioning at least partially as intended.

    The sooner the Left abandons utopia and prioritises the citizens of their own country, the less risk there will be of people voting in more unsavoury types with their own pernicious forms of intolerance, corruption and totalitarianism. Alternatively, the Left will be further sidelined, and some new more sensible political alignment will hopefully take its place rather than the currently most obvious choices: the right-leaning politicians who explicitly reject politically correct utopian orthodoxy.

  55. Jeremy says

    I would agree with the author of this article if it weren’t for the history of colonialism by these western countries. The reason many immigrant-sending countries are poor in the first place is due to colonialism. Historically, many of the same nations that are seeing populist surges have forcibly conquered, enslaved, and taken resources from these “developing” countries. In more modern times western corporations, the World Bank, IMF, etc. have economically devastated these countries. One example of colonialism is Plan Condor, where the US put military support behind brutal dictators throughout Latin America who would privatize resources and make our corporations lots of profit. So what’s left are countries where traditional ways of life aren’t feasible anymore, so they are stuck in our globalized economic system without the resources to succeed.

    This leaves us with a big ethical dilemma. Countries can limit immigration and keep more of a semblance of a national character, which I think would be ideal in a world without this level of inequality and history of colonialism. But by refusing to take in immigrants from poor countries, we are abandoning our moral debt and further screwing over those we’ve already screwed over.

    • beyondyesandno says

      “abandoning our moral debt”

      Congratulations – you have reduced the case for third-world immigration to a vapid act of affirmative action. Which, of course, is what it is.

    • Denny Sinnoh says

      So Sweden colonized Somalia? When?

    • Morgan Foster says


      “The reason many immigrant-sending countries are poor in the first place is due to colonialism.”

      No. You have it completely the wrong way about.

      They were poor before colonialism. They are less poor today because of colonialism.

    • GSW says

      “The reason many immigrant-sending countries are poor in the first place is due to colonialism.” @Jeremy

      This view is widely shared amongst the Western intelligentsia but the facts don’t support it.

      A whole army of academics, drawing inspiration from the 1950s and 60s writing of Andre Gunder Frank and Franz Fanon, has never let go of this mostly false charge against the West even though the last European colonies achieved independence 50 years ago or more and so it’s an opinion way, way past its “best before date.”

      Stripping any agency/responsibility from the people and governments of the poor countries, its logic encourages us to infantilize many hundreds of millions of non-Westerners.

      Ironically, where we end up if we go down the ‘it’s all the fault of colonialism’ path is a contemporary retelling of Kipling’s “White Man’s Burden” – “To wait in heavy harness, On fluttered folk and wild… Fill full the mouth of famine, And bid the sickness cease.” etc. etc. etc.

      • David V says

        What has been done is little more than blood libel against the West, a product of Cold War era Communist propaganda.

        Post-colonial “liberation” in Africa brought dictators like Mengistu, Nkrumah, Toure and Mugabe. They turned their countries into prisons and tortured and killed vastly more people than Apartheid South Africa.

        • GSW says

          David V – you greatly oversimplify; the many negatives of western colonialism weren’t just “Communist propaganda” and bringing Apartheid South Africa into the equation confuses matters as it was a self-governing colony within the British Empire and left the British Commonwealth completely in 1961.

          • David V says

            The alleged wrongs of colonialism and trashing national identity in countries like the UK, Australia, NZ, Canada and the USA despite the unparalleled inheritance of democracy, common law, free enterprise and whatnot, all of which are of immense benefit.

            “White Guilt” was largely a project, long-term, of Soviet propagandists to exploit racial division and demoralise the West. It’s out there.

  56. Nakatomi Plaza says

    No, Quillette. No, you don’t get to stoop to this level of bullshit. You’re going to completely dismiss income inequality as the cause of political tumult and blame it on 1960’s liberals? Based on one website and a handful of polls? That is total and complete horseshit.

    Quillette’s agenda has been painfully obvious for some time now, but this is a new level of deceit. You’re now blatantly carrying water for the 1%? For a place that prides itself on embracing rationality and evidence-based debate, Quillette has totally exposed itself as an ideological organ of the right. This place is Breitbart for people who aren’t functionally retarded, that’s all.

    • mitchellporter says

      Is there some other place or some other worldview you would recommend? I’m serious, you’re here mostly as a critic, here is a chance to say what you affirm.

    • Morgan Foster says

      @Nakatomi Plaza

      Someday, you will shame so deeply that I will reassess everything I believe in and say, “Nakatomi Plaza, you’re right. I will never read anything on Quillette again.”

      We’re not there, yet, but keep that shame-train rollin’. Any day, now. Any way, now.

  57. A C Harper says

    “Right-wing populists…”

    Stop right there. Although populist groups tend to have ‘right wing’ views they also have other views too. They are trying to establish themselves against a progressive/populist spectrum, not an established left/right spectrum. While many of the attitudes and policies may be similar to those of the left or right they are being attended to outside the comfortable strictures of the last 40 years.

    There’s no need for the populist parties to load up with the previous political establishment’s baggage, and trying to critique them against what has gone before shouldn’t ignore the differences.

  58. Psalmon says

    It is not just progressivism…it is that they are on the take…In Austria…In Romania…Probably in UK to sabotage Brexit…You wave a little money in front of these people and they will do anything, they have no ethics, no morals, no souls…they will sell their Countries and their History out for pennies. People died in the millions for many of these countries, endured murder and genocide and oppression, and along comes these brainwashed robots to sell it out for pennies. Unconscionable.

  59. martti_s says

    How is Islamism not a populist movement? Why did nobody call the ISIS supporters ‘nationalists’?
    Like so many terms, ‘populism’ has been hijacked by left-oriented academics and journalists to be used as a dark, mystical catchword that carries the shadows of the Führer and Il Duce.
    The social scientists have been trying to define ‘populism’ in neutral terms, but to nobody’s surprise have not been able to come up with anything satisfactory. It might be a coincidence that social sciences are 90+ per cent oriented to the Left.

    Reading from Wikipedia the following:

    “A common approach to defining populism is known as the ideational approach.[24] In this definition, populism is applied to politicians and groups which make appeals to “the people” who they then contrast against “the elite”.[24] Daniele Albertazzi and Duncan McDonnell define populism as an ideology that “pits a virtuous and homogeneous people against a set of elites and dangerous ‘others’ who are together depicted as depriving (or attempting to deprive) the sovereign people of their rights, values, prosperity, identity, and voice”.[11]”

    I cannot help but placing the Ummah here as ‘the people’ –virtuous, homogenous, and oppressed– while the dangerous others, the elite are us, the Westerners, depriving them of their rights, values, identity, and voice.

    Why is nobody calling the Islamists ‘populists’.
    This might be because of the unholy alliance of the so-called Progressives (siding with the enemy of their enemy) and the Islamists, where women’s rights, freedom of religion and the right to be able to keep your genitals intact and marry the person of your choice are thrown under the bus. The struggle against the Establisment is the first priority, humanity comes in second.

    If somebody now calls me a populist and an Islamophobe, using these words he defines his own standing while saying nothing of mine.

  60. CA says

    To say that “progressivism enabled the rise of the populist right” is like saying poking a hornet’s nest enabled the wasps to sting me.

    Pupulism may take all kinds of forms but populist uprisings all have this in common: A failure of leadership.

    There seems to be a great deal of hand wringing and speculation by our educated classes as to the nature and meaning of populism – are they racists, xenophobes . . .?. Why do these populists seem so irrational?

    Here’s a suggestion to our “leaders” which may actually serve to calm the populist revolt (at least here in the US): Obey the laws.

    • Rev. Wazoo! says


      An very powerful injunction: to obey the law. As a young do-gooder, I found better results helping the disadvantaged enforce the law than in passing new ones.

      Much popular discontent now results from a bait-and-switch through re_definition method; join the EU and you get/accept free movement of people inside but not from outside then switch that for mass immigration from outside. Hey, what?

      Abortion is terminating a pregnancy early, when it’s at least arguable it’s not a child yet as most would understand that term then redefiine/switch in “abortions” at 9 months. Hey, what? Liberal me wants no roll-back of Roe vs Wade and might be up for pulling the plug on a non-viable newborn in a vegetative state (and I’ve got my “do not resuscitate” certificate handy so they can pull the plug on me) but it just plain isn’t an “abortion” at 9 months, so-called late-term or otherwise. Is a Caesarian an abortion if the child dies?

      You want to change your gender-role appreance and self-identity? Sure, more power to you, good luck with any cosmetic surgery you elect to have and I’ll (try to) remember new pronouns but if you redefine/ switch in sex for gender then Hey what? You’re not in fact a woman and cracking women’s skulls in a boxing ring or winning gold medals in women’s competitions isn’t suddenly I signed on for.

    • martti_s says

      Enabled is a wrong word.
      Provoked would be more accurate.
      The politics actually were bad and still are.
      People react.
      Which is why we are getting more and more controls and restrictions.
      You do not have to break law to get thrown in jail.
      All in the name of tolerance.

  61. Charlie says

    Orwell said ” Patriotism is the preference for one’ culture without a desire to impose it upon others . Nationalism is the belief in the superiority of one’s culture and a desire to impose it upon others.

    Orwell described the Left as having certain characteristics: despise patriotism, physical courage, British culture , were totalitarian, possessed of a shallow self righteousness, took their politics from Moscow and food from Paris. Intellectuals were capable of believing that which the common considered absurd. He considered Socialism could only be based upon the common decency of the ordinary man. He considered the rifle hanging up in the workingman’s home helped to guarantee freedom.

    There is an old Saxon saying ” We will not be druv ” which means we will not be driven.

    The Anglo Saxons along with the Celts chose their leaders who were first amongst equals. Continental Europe via the Church adopted the Divine Right of Kings as exemplified by Charlemagne. The AS developed laws from 657 AD – Aethlebert ad the King was chosen by the Witan. William banned the sale of peoples. William gained the consent of the AS by agreeing to rule using their laws.

    Fromm 1100 and the Charter of Liberties the idea of Law and the concept of rule via consultation and consent was re-introduced from the AS. Magna Carta in 1215 and then The Model Parliament brought representative government. Edward the First dictum ” That which affects all must be consulted by all “. The compulsory arming of the people through the laws of 1182 and 1252, re-introduced the Fyrd. By 1300, Parliament comprised 294 knights and burgess who represented a population of 4 million and had the power to limit taxation. The King had to negotiate with Parliament to raise taxes on wool for his wars. By 1340, the army comprised volunteer archers who were paid up to 6x labourers wages to fight for a fixed time. England did not comprise a feudal military aristocracy imposing their will on unarmed serfs. Sluys, Crecy, Poitiers and Agincourt were won by extremely strong highly skilled archers.

    The Civil War and the American War of Independence were a result of Kings believing in their Divine Right and ignoring Edward’s Dictum ” That which affects all must be consulted by all”.

    There is now a group of people who consider themselves “progressive and morally and intellectually superior ” to others which they consider gives the right to rule others thoughts, feelings , words and deeds. Parliament is means where those elected represent all those from their constituency and via consultation and consent come to decision. It does not work if people decide to ignore groups because they consider they are inferior.

    In Britain, Progressives ignore history and Orwell, no wonder they have problems; Elizabeth the First had a better grasp of how to obtain support , than Progressives; for a start she described the population ” As my loving people ” not deplorables.

    “I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good-will of my subjects; and therefore I am come amongst you, as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live and die amongst you all; to lay down for my God, and for my kingdom, and my people, my honour and my blood, even in the dust.”

    It is absurd that Elizabeth the First had a better understanding of people than most upper middle class affluent Progressives living in their exclusive homes. For a start she toured the country in summer and listened to a wide range of opinions..

    When it comes to immigration the question is whether people are a liability or asset on those on average and below average incomes. Salman Rushdie was Muslim born from India was educated at Rugby and Cambridge ( as was his Father ). Those people calling for his death were Muslims of Pakistani descent . Immigration is acceptable if people assimilate: do not use welfare; do not reduce wages especially for those on average and below average wages and do not commit crimes. Rushdie did not use council houses, turn up not speaking English, reduce peoples wages or take part in grooming gangs. Welfare is the duty paid by the affluent to those less well off for fighting in wars of national survival.

    • David V says

      One thing I have often encountered is that the most hateful and radical of Islamists are nurtured not in the Middle East but in the West. Some of the vilest hate propaganda is produced in by Muslims living in the West and it’s often directed against other Muslims.

    • CA says


      ”That which affects all must be consulted by all”.

      Thanks for the examples of historical notions of law. The fool’s observation to Lear that he had “become old before becoming wise” seems to have escaped many of our best and brightest. Whatever form the law takes it seems what’s most important is that it be generally respected.

      I have a liberal friend who tried to convince me that most citizens are stupid and don’t really know their own best interest. In response I echoed what C.S. Lewis once said about why he believed in democracy – there are many people who deserve to be enslaved but virtually none who deserve to be masters.

      • Charlie says

        Our best are not bright. Gladstone and Palmerstone had double firsts in Classics and maths.

        Watch Dr David Starkey’s Monarchy Episode 1 where he describe how continental Europe evolved after the collapse of the Roman Empire. Starkey describes the dialogue between the Kings and people. Where this failed , Kings were removed( Edward 2, Richard 2 ) and war resulted , Civil War and American War of Independence

        Basically the RC enabled the Divinity of the Emperor and all power belonging to him to be passed onto the barbarians Kings as Divine Right of Kings. The Anglo Saxons in England elected their Kings who ruled via consultation and consent initially via the Witan as did the Celts. The Celts and AS Kings were first amongst equals , not divine. The rigid absolute feudal system only lasted in England from 1066 to 1100, when Henry 1 introduced the Charter of Liberties which re-introduced the AS laws of Edward the Confessor to obtain the support of the ASs. Magna Carta of 1215 was explained as an update C of L of 1100. As Dr D Starkey has pointed the was an evolution and development of law and representative government throughout the 13 th century. The American War of Independence and Constitution plus the ideals it represents can be traced back to the laws of Aethelbert of Kent of 657 AD. Some say there is the Tex of Freya from Friesland which is the earliest AS laws.r

        The laws of the AS were drawn up by the people combining AS traditions and The Bible. One of the most important qualities of the As was to tell the truth. I would suggest that a farming community where everyone was free ( serfdom only arrived latterly ) where men were armed and elected the king and lived under laws they agreed upon produced a free, prosperous and honest society. AS England became the most prosperous in Western Europe

        The situation we find ourselves in today is the abysmal knowledge of history, especially when it requires a knowledge of Latin , Norman French and Anglo Saxon.

        2Noble Prize winners in physics, one in literature and M Heidegger supported Hitler and GB Shaw, the Webbs, Dean of Canterbury, Sartre, Hobsbawm supported communists. One cannot obtain common sense at university.

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  63. David of Kirkland says

    The West is eating itself while Asia will be the dominant economy and power of the latter part of the 21st century. The demographics are clear, as education and capitalism are not something only the West controls as it once did. Failing to maintain alliances will diminish power faster, like the UK’s quick dive into complete obsolescence. The western empires are frittering away their wealth on military adventurism, allowing their cultures to diminish rather than have newcomers assimilate, while native westerners themselves seem to loathe their own culture and history and head towards minority status and insignificance.
    People of faith reject the reality of life’s survival of the fittest and that self-interest drives more goodness than does centrally planned “government love.”
    Globalization isn’t likely to slow; automation and AI will continue to advance; hoping to support the least of our citizens and immigrants over the future is typical of the road paving to hell.
    Democracy is showing all the warts history has shown to be real, as Liberty and Equal Protection are hard, and modern Westerners are soft. They know nothing of the sacrifices, hardships and deprivation of the past and think all that exists today they did, in fact, build, when it’s clear that society/culture built them over hundreds of years.
    Normally, I figured the authoritarianism of China and India, the love of a despot leaders, would eventually fail. But the West also seems to now prefer authority over Liberty, with redistribution towards the least (sick, old, drug addled, ignorant) and special protections over Equal Protection.
    My western idealism has eroded because so few in the west have these ideals: 1) stiff upper lip; 2) hard work; 3) care for yourself and family first; 4) being embarrassed by receiving charity; 5) community and charity for those around them.

  64. Timmy D. says

    “We are at the beginning, not the end, of a demographic shift in Europe that will see white majorities decline to half the total in many West European countries by the end of the century.”

    It’s not going to end how Kaufmann thinks.

    The indigenous peoples of Europe (who you deride as the ‘white majorities’) are not going to give up our countries willingly.

    Eric Kaufmann seems to think whites should just bend over and give up our countries, and that to do otherwise is racist.

    My reply is simple, “No.” If I have to vote for ‘nazis’ to stop it from happening, I will. It is not about ;managing an inflow’ of non-white immigrants, it is about stopping and reversing them.

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  68. w2 says

    I would like to call out a few glaring blind spots in this article, then offer a little optimism and a suggestion.

    First, Angela Merkel is not a leftist. During the immigration wave, she and Hollande vehemently defended the post-WW2 consensus towards respect of cultural diversity and away from the overt use of race for political purposes. Neither concept is exclusively leftist. Europe certainly has a problem with the reactionary right, but it would be useful to stop pinning the genesis of neofascism on the left or progressivism — which inexplicably excuses moderates from the center and the right.

    On the positive side, given the demographic trends in predominantly white Europe, the ultimate irony is that the recent and ongoing wave of migration will refresh the workforce of Europe with highly-motivated, working-age families whose primary desire is economic stability. Culturally, some in Europe will continue to suffer a loss of identity, and perhaps a temporary exacerbation of the drop in standard of living for the middle class that has roots deeper than immigration. But in the end, migration will save their economies.

    When it comes to lasting solutions (imagine the thought!) I don’t anticipate much from the neofascists, or from articles like this — just more stark divisiveness. The antidote to that kind of poison is a meaningful politics that connects with the needs of citizens.

    Finally, a suggestion. If Quillette really wanted to be radical, perhaps it could start publishing stories about how political factions come together to forge new solutions to vexing problems. Just a thought.

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  70. John Devalle says

    Mr Kaufman is wrong to downplay economic factors. In my country, Britain, immigration has never been an issue. The problem was freedom of movement, required by European Union law, and states from eastern Europe joining the EU in 2004. Vast numbers from the east came to Britain, and it dramatically lowered the market rate for pay in some occupations. Racists have not been able to exploit this to gain support, though they’ve tried, but the impact of FOM on the wages of so many caused great anger, and was one of the reasons why we voted to leave the EU.

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