Based on Harari, it is no surprise that you come to this hypothesis. It is our beautiful liberal democracy that produces the greatest challenges for the very reason you say: the populist politicians are just going the way the majority, or at least a majority at a specific moment, of the people think. Trump’s policies are totally irrational from any kind of political or economic ethics, but they have the support of a majority, even in an electoral system that manages to cut the popular vote from the real electoral result. What you do not see really is that the minorities who want to impose their views in such a system will use violence and escalate in that direction to impose their views on a frightened majority. What you are saying is not different from what Hitler did. He used anti-semitism on one hand and the “hostility” to the divided left on the other hand to capture a “majority (33%) vote” and due to the divided left between communists and social-democrats, he captured power since the communists refused to vote for a social-democrat and the social-democrats refused to vote for a communist, and what’s more when Hitler came up in the Reichstag, so many left representatives abstained, refusing to choose between two evils, the nazis or the social-democrats. That’s what is happening right now in Hong Kong: a violent minority, the black-clad rioters, are trying to impose their point of view onto the majority of the population and they expect “free” election under duress would force the silent majority to either vote for them or abstain. That’s what happened in France with the Yellow Vests. A minority tried to impose their will by systematic social disturbances opening the gates to looters and criminal “activists” putting the society under duress to try to force democratically elected people to resign. Every time they tried to run in any election since then they were thrown out because that kind of duress did not work. That was our chance or should I even say luck? The government, and in fact the President, took a stand that said no to this movement and called for a real debate among the people. Even so, they go on believing and defending the idea that since they believe they are right, they must be right, and thus it is only a question of pressurizing the authorities and the people to obtain the proper result in the ballot boxes. It worked in GB with Brexit. It worked in the US with Trump. It worked in Italy with the two populist movements who won and then ran apart. It brings up a fascist extreme right (and extreme left or autonomist movements) in Germany, in France, in Austria, and some other countries in Europe. So why should it not work everywhere? Why shouldn't an active, vocal and vociferating minority have the upper hand on the majority of the people who are anyway cowards since they are not in the streets building barricades and looting stores?

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Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, PhD in Germanic Linguistics (University Lille III) and ESP Teaching (University Bordeaux II) has been teaching all types of ESP

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