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The dangers of populism

Interview with Jan-Werner Müller
10'50" 28 February 2017 Council of Europe Strasbourg

Professor of Politics at Princeton University and leading expert on populism, Jan-Werner recently gave a lecture at the Council of Europe entitled "How Populism endangers Democracy – and how to fight it".

One of the world's leading experts on populism, Professor Müller defines populists as a kind of "moral majority" who regard anyone who disagrees with them as either illegitimate or disloyal to the "will of the people". According to Professor Müller, this approach represents a real danger to democracy, because it could lead to the tyranny of the majority over the minority.

Speaking about the European Union, he advocates the upholding of basic democratic standards in all of its member states, including Poland and Hungary, even if this requires the imposition of sanctions.

Further afield, he urges democrats to call out contradictions and expose misleading propaganda espoused by the populists, and to put pressure on supporters of populism within mainstream parties, who either adopt populist policies themselves, or who allow populists to gain power.


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