Pope Francis warns against sovereignism: “It leads to war” - La Stampa

I think you’re pulling it way too far when it comes to attributing ethnocentrism to American “populism”. You’re going off into the cultural again.

In Americans’ case, certainly, there is some distrust of “the Swamp” (and rightly so at times, e.g. the likes of Strzok, Page, Brennan, Comey, McCabe, Ohr, Clapper).

But that’s a different thing. “Populism” in the U.S. has generally had an economic meaning, and while “Wall Street” is sometimes posited as a vague generality, the “elites” are generally better identified than that, e.g. “big agribusiness”, “big pharma” or even “Monsanto”. As a “movement” it’s not what it once was, but sort of ebbs and flows with time. There was a whole literary movement in the U.S. based on it, but I don’t think it was so in Europe.

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That sword cuts both ways, my friend.

When “your country, your race, your religion, are pilloried” merely because of skin colour (eg. white skin) and for no other reason, that too can be tinder for the flame of violence.

Best defuse the rhetoric and begin discussing issues reasonably rather than skin pigments lest the entire discussion becomes a tinder box. Calling people racists merely because they happen to have a particular skin pigment is itself racist.

No doubt.

Absolutely. That is certainly my point of view.

Of course it is.

Happily, I see nothing in your comments which does concur exactly with mine.

Ah, here is an example of leftists in California teaching students that capitalism and father figures are both racist.


I won’t argue based upon human history, but based upon the current social and cultural climate where progressive leftist types are using all kinds of differences to actually foment violence and hatred in the name of stopping violence and hatred by shutting down anyone who happens not to agree with their agenda.

Well if this is true, then you seem to be agreeing with me again. Excellent.

So you might want to explain how the above indoctrination in the California educational system is NOT a blatant example of “stoking fears of minority groups or outsiders: the Other.” In this case it is stoking the fears minority groups have towards the traditional American system of governance based upon the Constitution in order to foment political change towards what would indeed be a nightmare world of progressive leftism.

Progressive leftism being pushed by the globalist elites is indeed a nightmare world.

Well there can be little doubt that most of the Founding Fathers were racists, to one extent or another. The claim that capitalism is racist is a pretty typical Marxist trope, and while I’d argue that some capitalist systems have had an inherent racist component, that has more to do with the culture in which the free market operates, and it is factors external to a capitalist market that make it racist (i.e. not giving mortgages to African Americans in certain neighborhoods). In fact, I’d argue that whatever capitalism’s flaws, the one thing, if the market was reasonably free, is the real bias will be against economic class (which, again, through external factors, may be tilted in certain “racial” directions" and away from other certain “racial” directions).

Why might I want to explain this? I have no knowledge of the California education system, but if they are stoking fears in the way you suggest then you are quite right to condemn them. We seem to be agreed. So why are you arguing with me?

Oh deary me.

Fair enough. I was asked to explain my understanding of populism, and I can quite understand that it is used differently in America – after all the word started out in the US, I believe, and your use is quite as good as mine. Mine is just the way it is commonly used in the UK today.

I should add that opposition to the actions of the “elites” is by no means necessarily ill-judged. There may well be, I suspect there is, a culture in Washington where public servants tend to become excessively concerned with their own welfare. There almost certainly are practices by large pharmaceutical companies which put profit much too far ahead of medical need. And of course it is the job of politicians to expose and reform corrupt practices.

The difference between that proper political concern and the phenomenon we (in the UK) call populism is that with populist politicians and movements those grievances are portrayed as existential threats to the people, and rhetoric about them is turned up to maximise fear and mobilisation.

Since this thread is about the Pope’s words, which I have suggested is a criticism of populist Europhobia, I will use examples from Europhobic rhetoric turning the debate into a threat to the people by the elite:

Elected MPs are being accused of trying to thwart “the people’s will”. Judges who delivered a ruling mildly inconvenient to Brexiteers were described as “enemies of the people”. The government is said to be planning a “people versus parliament” election. The prime minister today accused MPs of indulging in a “terrible collaboration” with the EU. The new leader of UKIP said today there was a powerful establishment in Britain doing the EU’s bidding. The media were, he said, “being controlled by an EU federalist class. I would go so far as to say a traitor class, people who are conspiring with foreign powers against the people of this country”.

Enemies of the people, a traitor class – perfect populism, could have come from the mouth of Comrade Vyshinsky.


The Dear Leader, only today, spoke of a “terrible collaboration” between his opponents and the EU.

I think the fine folks of the UK observing how Johnson seems intent on replicating Charles I’s attempts to get around Parliament. If it was seen as infamous in the 17th century, one would think it would seem all the worse now.

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I think we can be confident that he won’t get away with sidelining Parliament. Although I suspect he will not lose his head.

Well yes, the remedies are a tad more restrained these days.

For example:

But we stand here representing people who are the equals before the law of the largest cities in the state of Massachusetts. When you come before us and tell us that we shall disturb your business interests, we reply that you have disturbed our business interests by your action. We say to you that you have made too limited in its application the definition of a businessman. The man who is employed for wages is as much a businessman as his employer. The attorney in a country town is as much a businessman as the corporation counsel in a great metropolis. The merchant at the crossroads store is as much a businessman as the merchant of New York. The farmer who goes forth in the morning and toils all day, begins in the spring and toils all summer, and by the application of brain and muscle to the natural resources of this country creates wealth, is as much a businessman as the man who goes upon the Board of Trade and bets upon the price of grain. The miners who go 1,000 feet into the earth or climb 2,000 feet upon the cliffs and bring forth from their hiding places the precious metals to be poured in the channels of trade are as much businessmen as the few financial magnates who in a backroom corner the money of the world.

We come to speak for this broader class of businessmen. Ah. my friends, we say not one word against those who live upon the Atlantic Coast; but those hardy pioneers who braved all the dangers of the wilderness, who have made the desert to blossom as the rose—those pioneers away out there, rearing their children near to nature’s heart, where they can mingle their voices with the voices of the birds—out there where they have erected schoolhouses for the education of their children and churches where they praise their Creator, and the cemeteries where sleep the ashes of their dead—are as deserving of the consideration of this party as any people in this country.

It is for these that we speak. We do not come as aggressors. Our war is not a war of conquest. We are fighting in the defense of our homes, our families, and posterity. We have petitioned, and our petitions have been scorned. We have entreated, and our entreaties have been disregarded. We have begged, and they have mocked when our calamity came…

…If they dare to come out in the open field and defend the gold standard as a good thing, we shall fight them to the uttermost, having behind us the producing masses of the nation and the world. Having behind us the commercial interests and the laboring interests and all the toiling masses, we shall answer their demands for a gold standard by saying to them, you shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold!

(The cartoon is criticizing Bryan of course)

Lots to be said for that, and for Bryan.

The literary movement itself was called “American Literary Naturalism”. There were aspects of it that were sort of dreamy, even Marxist at the far edges, but it was characterized by such writers as Hamlin Garland, Upton Sinclair, Jack London, Frank Norris, Stephen Crane and others. Some of those writers pegged some of the abuses of capitalism very well.

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