On Populism

“They’ve got a set of Republican waiters on one side and a set of Democratic waiters on the other side, but no matter which set of waiters bring you the dish, the legislative grub is all prepared in the same Wall Street Kitchen.”

Huey Long (1932)

Its hard to miss the rise in populism – examples on the right include Trump in America, Party for Freedom (PVV) in Netherlands, Freedom Party (FPÖ) in Austria, on the left Podemos in Spain, Five Star Movement in Italy. But populism isn’t something we’re familiar with or understand well, because it was last common in the 1930s. What is populism exactly, and what does history teach us? In an excellent paper, Ray Dalio from Bridgewater Associates and Economic Principles explains what populism is, and gives case studies in a dozen odd populist movements from the last century. (more…)

On Bullshit

One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit
– Harry G. Frankfurt

[Update: Sadly, labelling Trump’s lies as bullshit is too kind. Its more insidious. He’s a populist with authoritarian tendencies who lies in an ongoing and cynical fashion. Its more than bullshit, its propaganda.]

Donald Trump has the rational world equal parts baffled and dismayed (dear God I hope he doesn’t win the election). One reason is that he simply talks nonsense. He makes claims that are patently false and then doubles down defending them. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about yet believes it true because he said it. Kindly put, he is full of it. (more…)