Gheorghe-Ilie Farte
Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi
The central thesis of this article is that populism is a side effect of liberal democracy and a reliable indicator of the relationship between liberal democracy and its polar opposite ‒ illiberal majoritarianism. As long as liberal democracy prevails over illiberal majoritarianism, populism remains dormant. Populism rises and becomes conspicuous only if certain manifestations of illiberal majoritarianism or illiberal elitism reach a critical point in terms of number and impact. More exactly, populism becomes active when there are too few reasonable and effective responses to the growth of illiberal majoritarianism. Illustrating the defense mechanism of compensation, the rise of populism correlates with a cluster of exaggerated or overdone reactions to actions inspired by illiberal majoritarianism. These reactions vary sharply from one society to another according to (a) the specific challenges of illiberal majoritarianism, (b) the reactivity of people who bear the liberal democratic values, and (c) the credibility enjoyed by the mainstream liberal democratic forces in that society. In brief, although illiberal majoritarianism sets off a cluster of populist reactions in any society, the rise of populism always takes distinct forms. Thus, it is confirmed the status of populism as a chameleonistic phenomenon. The argumentative thread has four main parts. Firstly, it is developed a constitutive model of liberal democracy as an ideal political system that is underpinned by the following organizing principles or attractors: inclusiveness, political equality, political participation, predominance of concurrent majority, the containment and predictability of the government power, and the enforcement of the non-aggression principle. Secondly, the attractors of liberal democracy are contrasted against the recent state of affairs in the Euro-Atlantic space to illustrate the assertion presented here that today illiberal majoritarianism tends to prevail over liberal democracy. In the third step, it is argued that the countless definitions of populism only emphasize different symptoms of the rise of populism, depending on the particular circumstances in which society evolves. Finally, it is substantiated the claim that populism and populists can and should be integrated into the democratic political system, in particular into the democratic public sphere.
Keywords populism  populistness  liberal democracy  illiberal majoritarianism  attractor  polar opposite  side effect  overdone reaction
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References found in this work BETA

Inclusion and Democracy.Iris Marion Young - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
What Can We Hold Against Populism?Fabio Wolkenstein - 2015 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 41 (2):111-129.
The Principle of Peaceable Conduct as a Discrimination Tool in Social Life.Gheorghe-Ilie Farte - 2015 - Argumentum. Journal of the Seminar of Discursive Logic, Argumentation Theory and Rhetoric 3 (1):95-111.

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Citations of this work BETA

Comment les Médias Grand Public Alimentent-Ils le Populisme de Droite?Gheorghe-Ilie Farte - 2019 - Argumentum. Journal of the Seminar of Discursive Logic, Argumentation Theory and Rhetoric 17 (1):9-32.

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