Much as a depressed market may hold extraordinary opportunities for savvy investors to buy up under-priced stock, in a similar way, a failing political system may well hold out unique political opportunities that require a bit of imagination and daring to recognise and tap into.
The spate of electoral successes that populist, anti-establishment movements have harvested in recent years, from Brexit in the UK and Trump in the USA to Meloni in Italy, Milei in Argentina, and Wilders in the Netherlands, demonstrate that Western voters have grown increasingly impatient with the status quo, and unusually open to voices that buck the system.
One need not be a Trump, Brexit or Wilders fan to recognise that the political systems of the West are in a state of moral and institutional decline, and suffering from a gaping vacuum of political leadership. Leading politicians are abandoning the values that define Western democracy at its best, such as democratic accountability, rule of law, freedom of expression, and informed consent, in favour of an ugly blend of moralistic “Wokeness,” authoritarian technocracy, and WEF internationalism, rapidly rendering formerly right and centre-right parties utterly unrecognisable to their own constituents.
Politicians of the “old guard” scrapped the rule book of constitutional democracy and threw standard pandemic protocols out the window, in the face of a respiratory virus that made a relatively marginal impact on average life expectancy. When the disastrous medium to long-term impact of lockdown policies on health, education, and economic development became apparent, most public officials just shrugged their shoulders and refused to acknowledge the enormity of their mistakes.
Given the arrogance and smugness shown by Western politicians and public officials during and after their disastrous pandemic interventions, it should come as no surprise that the political establishment is tone-deaf to citizens’ needs, and increasingly out of touch with a large bulk of their citizenry on key issues, including immigration policy, a failing health service, the dearth of affordable housing, “hate speech” laws, the infiltration of education by woke and transgender ideology, climate policy, 15 minute cities, and plans for a centrally controlled, cashless economy. Instead of registering the disconnect and correcting course, they seem to just dig in, and do their best to tarnish their critics as “far right” nuts.
But this strategy of denial and gaslighting is not likely to protect the Establishment against voter discontent and frustration. Trust in politicians and public institutions is at an all-time low. This trust has been dwindling over several decades, as opinion polls in both Europe and the United States attest.
Many citizens feel politically disempowered and sold out by their political representatives, who seem more worried about living up to the expectations of the WEF (World Economic Forum) or the NGOs that have their ear than serving the citizens who elected then.
This is obviously no cause for celebration. However, it makes the current political Establishments especially fragile and vulnerable to shocks from political challengers. There could hardly be a more opportune moment for the formation of a political movement that breaks the mould, condemns the morally and politically bankrupt policies of incumbent regimes, and offers citizens a live political alternative to globalist technocracy.
But what might such an anti-Establishment political movement look like? It could adopt a pro-freedom, power-to-the-people platform, promising to do everything in its power to restore the primacy of civil liberties that were dismantled during the Covid years, close the growing gap between governing elites and ordinary citizens, bring immigration and public service into equilibrium, and restore a sense of fiscal responsibility after the spending spree governments engaged in to buy lockdown compliance.
One way to begin to reduce the chasm between ordinary citizens and ruling elites would be to take back power from international organisations like the United Nations, World Health Organisation, World Economic Forum, and European Commission, which have forfeited their legitimacy by advocating illiberal and harmful policies like lockdowns, political censorship, coercive mass vaccination, and centralised digital currencies.
Another way to repair the democratic deficit would be to support the progressive devolution of key political functions, including taxation, housing, and healthcare, to local governments. The details of such devolution would obviously depend on the capacities and resources of local, regional, and national governments, but the principle, to make policymaking and taxing more transparent and responsive to local communities, is hard to disagree with, and is already observed, to a significant degree, in Switzerland’s cantonal system.
Like any political initiative, the fate of a pro-freedom, power-to-the-people movement would depend on the quality of its leaders and the usual contingencies of electoral politics, such as unfolding events on the domestic and global stage, fluctuating voter sensibilities, and the state of the economy. It would have no guarantee of success. However, with unprecedented levels of voter disaffection from “politics as usual” and a wave of successful bids to challenge the Establishment sweeping across Europe, the winds are definitely blowing in the right direction. It is now or never!
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