Talking about Populism

Philip Manow at Eurozine:

Disregarding the substance of populism and focusing exclusively on its exclusionary rhetoric may succeed in protecting the definition of populism from everyday polemic, however it also allows one to ignore the political issues, in other words what populists are actually saying and why. This, at least, is compatible with the prevailing view that populist positions are so obviously irrational that there is no point in bothering to discuss them anyway. However, this is nothing but the abjuration of the pluralist claim bandied about to characterise populism in the first place. In particular, it enables avoidance of basic questions of redistribution and scarcity, such as that of the losers of cosmopolitan humanitarianism: a question that the (German) middle class no longer likes to talk about, because it hardly comes into contact with them.

more here.