Matt Welch takes on “populism” at Reason. The piece’s tag line: “Roughly five times as many people live under populist governments now compared to ten years ago.”

But multiplying any number by zero returns a result of zero.

There’s No Such Thing As A Populist State

Populism as a political theory, in all its variants, pits the righteous masses against the power elites.
And monopoly political government, aka the state, is always run by, and for the benefit of, a political class, aka a power elite.
Yes, a genuinely populist upsurge may unseat and replace the membership of the existing power elite, but the replacements will quickly constitute themselves as a new power elite (and/or be re-overthrown by, or infiltrated by, the previous power elite).
So no, there are not, as Welch quotes the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change asserting, 21 populist governments ruling 2.8 billion subjects. There are no populist governments. Those 2.8 billion subjects are ruled by power elites just like everyone else.
But Welch’s piece is still interesting and worth a read.

Imported from the original KN@PPSTER