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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > March 2017 > Posturing behind “the people”

Posturing behind “the people”

The populist insurgency is a veil—masking money and power

Propaganda hides best behind simple words. The plainer the language, the more devious it can be. A speaker’s apparent lack of pretence promises the audience that in front of them is a man of “the people”, who scorns political correctness, and “tells it like it is.”

Ah, “the people.” What lies are told in your name. To be with “the people” is to be a good neighbour and a good citizen. To be against “the people” is to be against the sole source of legitimacy in a democracy. If you are not a traitor or an agent of a hostile foreign power, you are at the very least an “enemy of the people”; an aloof member of “the elite” that fixes the system for its own benefit. Who does not want to be on the people’s side? Who will admit to standing with their enemies in the “elite”?

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s March issue: Sam Tanenhaus, George Magnus and Dahlia Lithwick examine the state of America after Donald Trump’s first couple of weeks. Tanenhaus looks at the situation faced by the American press, Magnus looks at the state of global trade and Lithwick inspects the diminishing right to choice women face over abortion. Anne Perkins explores the rise of Theresa May through the political ranks and David Edmonds looks at how empathy affects our decision making. Also in this issue: Jay Elwes on Trump’s relationship with America’s intelligence agencies, Anita Charlesworth on the state of the NHS and Nick Cohen on what is done in the name of “the people” by politicians