Why Modern Populism is Advancing Purist Liberalism

by Lucas Witherspoon

As has held true throughout many historical eras of economic depression, the concept of populism–essentially, the belief that it’s “the people” (the 99 percent) versus “the elite” (the one percent)–has experienced a resurgence amongst the general population, given our current plight. It’s not hard to see why an ever-disseminating middle class would find the concept of populism attractive, given their one-percent counterparts continue to profit in record-breaking numbers, even during the worst of economic times.

Conservatives attempt to curb this influx by introducing catchy terms into the political vernacular like “wealth redistribution” and subsequently demonizing them as fervently as possible (along the lines of faux-“death panels” in opposition to the Affordable Care Act), in hopes that they’ll be able to disillusion the notoriously attention-deficit American population into adhering to their beliefs by blinding them with brash ostentation. It’s the political equivalent of an unmasked serial bank robber throwing glitter in the faces of witnesses and hoping they’ll forget he just committed a heist. The very rightists who allowed greed-soaked capitalists to almost single-handedly decimate the U.S. economy are now attempting to save face by preying on the ignorance of the general population.

To be clear, liberalism overall doesn’t advocate taking from the rich to give to the poor, as many conservatives would have you believe; rather, it promotes the idea that everyone should pay their fair share. GASP! A novel idea, I know. Mention the idea of a tax proration to a conservative, though, and suddenly even the poorest among them paying some of the highest tax percentage rates become advocates for the rich.

Convervatives’ attempts have been somewhat fruitful within their base, but as has been consistently proven, American moderates, the sheeples they may be, do wield some influence, which is why the fact that a lot of them have unwittingly subscribed to populist beliefs is noteworthy. They’ve finally come to the realization that it’s unfair for wealthier people to receive innumerable tax breaks and a lower rate of tax than them, all the while they’re reduced to living in relative squalor while the likes of Harold Simmons continues to raise his $9 billion net worth.

More and more, people are coming to refute the conservative ideology that the rich must be richer in order for us all to be better off. Even outside of basic human logic, mathematically and economically that doesn’t make sense. That shift in credence is representative of the fact that Americans are slowly but surely coming to realize that the conservative ideals that in large part led to economic collapse is not the archetype that is going to save us from it.