Philosophy Coffee: Populism Best Expression of Democracy?
Since this summer, we’ve witnessed a rise in popularity for “anti-establishment” candidates on both sides of the ideological spectrum (Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders). Many of their supporters openly state that they admire these candidates not just for their policies, but for the act of “going against” their respective parties itself. Political parties are viewed as a centralizing structure in US democracy, and while they take the opinions of voters into account, ultimately a small group of political elites makes decisions. Many political philosophers, from Plato to Hobbes, argue that a central decision-maker is necessary for society. Is the party system a good compromise between the Platonic/Hobbesian model and Locke’s stance that the people should have all the power? Or is democracy best served when we reject such centralized structures?
All are welcome to join in the conversation, and complimentary refreshments will be served!