POPULISM AS A POLITICAL STRATEGY: IS IT A THREAT TO DEMOCRACY?
Keywords:Populism, ; Democracy
Some authors have been highly critical of populism and naturally, this has raised the question of whether populism is dangerous for democracy or not. I wish to provide a critique of this claim and instead suggest that populism is sometimes necessary for established democracies. Developing this argument, this paper proceeds as follows: Firstly, I will outline Urbinati’s criticism of populism. Secondly, using Popper’s paradox of tolerance, I will show how Urbinati’s view is teleological and becomes a defence of the status quo thereby impeding political progress. Thirdly, I will show how populism’s relationship with democracy is best conceptualised as a creatively destructive one and how populists, once having accepted the Popperian condition of tolerance, can be a force for good in democracies by illuminating issues which were previously
left outside the realm of mainstream politics.
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