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February 3, 2017 / Congau

The Establishment

What remains through the shifting tides, periodical elections and changing daily agendas, that is the establishment. It will always stick to its dominant position unless there is a profound social overturn; a revolution. In that case the basic structures of society crumble and something new (a new establishment) will have to be built in its place. If there is a revolution, that is.

The new populist movements are a curious brand. They are anti-establishment, that is their one common denominator, but there is no talk of a revolution.

It makes sense to be anti-establishment if your ideas about society differ widely from what exists in your country today. Then, in order to achieve the society of your dreams, the establishment will have to go. But the change of these structures would then only be a means to an end. The problem is not the establishment per se, but the fact that its frozen architecture is an impediment to the construction of your ideal society.

For the populist movements, on the other hand, the attack on the established order seems to be a purpose in itself. The dissatisfaction is general and without direction. They know something is wrong, but not quite what it is, and they imagine that curiously diffuse establishment to be the cause of their diffuse problems.

It is of course true that whenever there is something profoundly wrong in a society, the cause is to be found in its basic structures, in other words the establishment. But if one doesn’t know the essential content of what should be put in its place, a mere replacement of people in position is without meaning.

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