Trumped! The Rise of the Populists and the Great World Shift
Free Public Lecture
Public Lecture Theatre
T: (03) 9035 5092
Brexit, Trump, the rise of Le Pen, Putin, Viktor Orban in Hungary, Geert Widers and even Pauline – the rise of the populists has been taken as a measure of the failure of 'progress', and a surrender to irrationalism.
But is this the case? Or do these political earthquakes represent a shift in the basic social and political structure of the west, that we need to understand, prior to passing judgement?
This lecture is part of a series: The Wednesday Lectures 2017: The Intelligentsia in The Age of Trump, hosted by Raimond Gaita.
It began with Brexit and entered another dimension with Donald Trump's election campaign. Many of the intelligentsia – those who choose or are required by their profession to comment on political affairs – were shocked. Hardly any anticipated that resentment, anger and even hatred could go so deep in parts of the British and American electorates almost unnoticed. When it was noticed few foresaw its transformative power.
In the case of Trump, many were incredulous that someone who had a good chance of becoming president of the US could be so radically disdainful of the practices, conventions and institutions that express and underpin democratic political civility, and pile lie upon lie so fast and shamelessly as to make the idea that reality mattered quixotic. He hasn't changed as president.
But commentators were not only shocked that they didn’t see Brexit or Trump coming. They were unsettled by a suspicion that some of the many reasons they didn’t played a significant role in ensuring that they did. Do we, even now, understand what has happened and why it did?