The future of authoritarian populism
This sort of increasingly virulent reactionary politics forms one of the “ideologies of the future,” imagined by co-authors Alex Hochuli, George Hoare and Philip Cunliffe. They posit a future authoritarian populism fusing a longing for “strongman” leaders with a “Malthusian narrative.”
This narrative sees pressing global challenges as an opening to build up a zero-sum ideology that emphasizes “limited resources” and a “need to reduce surplus populations” by “removing outsiders and other elements” that corrupt the “indigenous” population, as the Real Answer to those challenges.
What’s relevant for us here is the book’s argument that covid has provided this form of politics with a new reason for being, a moment it will seize by telling a “nationalist” story of the global pandemic: A nationalist interpretation would see a forceful rejection of globalization and cosmopolitanism: the organic body of the indigenous nation is threatened by deleterious outside influences, and limits on resources necessitate their exclusion.
I think something like this may be developing in the U.S. right now. There’s a peculiarly ominous signal in the way GOP governors such as Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida are fusing their rejection of collective public health solutions with demagoguery about migrants.”