PolPsy class notes re Jan-Werner Müller (2015).
“The major differences between democracy and populism should have become clear by now:
|one enables majorities to authorize representatives whose actions may or may not turn out to conform to what a majority of citizens expected or would have wished for;||the other pretends that no action of a populist government can be questioned, because ”the people” have willed it so.|
|The one assumes fallible, and contestable judgments by changing majorities;||The other imagines a homogenous entity outside all institutions whose identity and ideas can be fully represented.|
|The one assumes, if anything, a people of individuals, so that in the end only numbers (in elections) count;||the other takes for granted a more or less mysterious ”substance” and the fact that even large numbers of individuals (even majorities) can fail to express that substance properly|
|The one presumes that decisions made after democratic procedures have been followed are not ”moral” in such a way that all opposition must be considered immoral;||the other postulates one properly moral decision even in circumstances of deep disagreement about morality (and policy).|
|Finally—and most importantly—the one takes it that ”the people” can never appear in a non-institutionalized manner and, in particular, accepts that a majority … in parliament is not “the people” and cannot speak in the name of the people;||the other presumes precisely the opposite.”|