On Populism

There’s a joke I once heard about the Bahamas government. If you ever find a good institution within it, don’t tell anybody. As long as it’s secret, it’ll be fine. But if it ever becomes public knowledge, run. Somebody with power will come along and redeploy the equipment and the personnel and share all that goodness around.

You see, we live in a society that believes in populism. Baldly put, populism is the practice of supporting the rights of the common person against the privileged elite. It’s a political philosophy that has governed the Bahamas since 1967. There’s no need to wonder where it came from; for almost three hundred years the needs and desires of the majority of the people were systematically ignored, to the benefit of a few. In reaction, the Bahamian governments that followed majority rule made it their responsibility to meet the needs of the people. And so we have eschewed elitism, making it a cardinal sin. We have all embraced populism.

And embraced it to the point of absurdity.


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