Populism is presently understood to mean a movement against global elites. The misunderstanding and hypocrisy involved in this understanding are formidable. A more simple and garden-variety definition would simply be ordinary people. That is wrong too in the sense that there is no one who at times is not more than ordinary, even extraordinary. What is a Global Elite? Who is a populist? What does any of it mean?


The media have no problem answering and they are followed by the various talking heads of the world. Global elites are people who think beyond national boundaries and who are probably meant to be seen as dangerous because they are a subgroup that may possess the power to do harm.

This is complete supposition. Are Doctors without Borders a global elite? They are a subgroup that explicitly denies borders. Is Colgate or Tesla part of a global elite? What is its name. What does it believe? We are at sea in an ocean of verbiage that has no meaning save that which appeals to preexisting feelings because of assigned meanings that make no real sense.


Likewise, the definition of populist would lead you to believe that a populist is someone who hates all foreigners and thinks like Pam Geller or Steve Bannon or Donald Trump. In other words anti-Muslim, anti-black, anti-establishment.

But if there is an establishment would it not include people of wealth and power? I solve this problem quite simply, by applying three questions to any individual or group of so-called ideology. I ask is it tolerant? Is it helpful, meaning does it enable and educate? And is it democratic, meaning does it acknowledge the universal rights of all?

I conclude that people who answer no to these questions are more likely to be harmful than those who are inclined to say yes.


The inference from this is that values whose meanings are explicit are perhaps the only way we have of moving to an accurate sense of what we should applaud and what we should question and perhaps reject.

Harm and hurt are the measures of evil. Respecting the values I have mentioned seem to me to lead toward positive results. There is a simple benchmark that seems useful in determining the value if any course of action. If it is based on conflict and possible violence, say no. If it is based on the quest for a peaceful and tolerant decision say yes. If the answer is no, withdraw. If yes, persist. We do not teach ethics these days. We should. Along with aesthetics, ethics is what makes progress take place.