American Populism Shouldn’t Have to Embrace Ignorance

Rejecting Authority and Expertise Doesn't Make All Opinions Equally Worthy

Public ignorance is an inherent threat to democracy. It breeds superstition, prejudice, and error; and it prevents both a clear-eyed understanding of the world and the formulation of wise policies to adapt to that world.

Plato believed it was more than a threat: He thought it characterized democracies, and would lead them inevitably into anarchy and ultimately tyranny. But the liberal democracies of the modern era, grudgingly extending suffrage, have extended public education in parallel, in the hope of cultivating an informed citizenry. Yet today, given the persistence and severity …

More In: Populism

Emmanuel Macron’s Centrist Victory May Only Add Fuel to the Populist Fire

France’s Middle-of-the-Road Strategy Risks Alienating the Left, Enraging the Right, and Inspiring Almost No One

Last year, the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom and the election of Donald Trump as U.S. President sparked fears of a worldwide populist revolt. But when Geert Wilders’s right-wing …

Trump Is Right That the System Is “Rigged”—and He’s Stacking It More

Average Americans Are Losing Power While Self-Serving Elites Lose Public Trust

Pundits nearly always attribute Donald Trump’s success to right-wing “populism.” This conclusion is dangerously misleading. Trump’s rise is rooted firmly in his ability to make an old-fashioned word—“rigged”—work in surprisingly …

Are Trade Shocks to Blame for Our Extremist Politics?

Researchers Hunt for the Missing Link Between Import Imbalances and Populist Anger

Does economic competition from low-wage manufacturing countries like China make politics in Western countries more polarized?

The short answer is yes. The harder, unanswered question is: How, exactly?

A body of research …

VIDEO: Is Fighting Populist Anger a Losing Battle?

A Philosopher, Armed With "Crazy Optimism," Lays Out His Three-Front Counter-Attack

Populist anger is shaking the world, epitomized by the U.K.’s vote to “Brexit” the EU and even the election of Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines. In the U.S., …

Brexit Is Spelled T-R-U-M-P in America

A Hatred of Outsiders Unites Anti-Globalizers Around the World

Donald Trump is America’s Brexit. Whoever wins the presidential election, Trump’s candidacy has made possible a level of public incivility that we’ve not seen in this country for many years. …