Globalism’s Scapegoat

Yeah, it’s The Guardian. Whatever. The consistent and global nature in the rise in populist rhetoric over the past decade is self-evident.

This means that the forces driving these trends should be global as well.

I think it really boils down to three big things:

(1) The Internet was first adopted by educated, higher IQ young people – all factors associated with greater liberalism. Then the less well-educated and lower IQ started joining, with their greater populist sympathies. This broke the “centrist” hold of the TV channels; since most people are conformists, they tend to cluster on ideologically aligned platforms (“enclave extremism“). One of the most significant results was the appearance of huge populist constituencies; in the West, these have been predominantly right-wing ones, as the Left became similarly radicalized and retreated into identity politics.

(2) Specific to the developed world: Poorer-educated, lower-IQ blue collar workers were the hardest hit by globalization; while the transnational oligarchs and the developing world (esp. China) benefited tremendously, and the Western middle classes also did quite well for themselves (budget airlines! Uber! Airbnb!), the Fishtowns saw minimal material gains and outright social regress.

(3) Specific to the developing world: The more religious and populist minded peasants have been flooding into the cities, replacing their higher IQ and more Europeanized, but low fertility old elites. With old school Marxism discredited, and globalist SJWism not yet having made major inroads, various flavors of populist-nationalism and/or religious revival are the natural result of this.

Put in these terms, the rise of populism seems inevitable in hindsight.

Of course it represents a challenge to the old order, especially in the West where neoliberal elites are strongly entrenched. But they couldn’t exactly blame the highest achievements and symbols of their civilization – the global Internet and economic globalization – for it. So you need to blame something or someone else.

That would leave China and Russia as the most feasible alternative culprits.

But China is far too central to the smooth running of globalism, so Russia it was fated to be so long as it didn’t fully fall into the Western orbit.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Poorer-educated, lower-IQ blue collar workers where the hardest hit by globalization;

    “Were,” not “where.”

    Also, who do you think would have been the scapegoat of the neoliberal elites had Russia indeed moved into the Western orbit?

  2. The US actually has an interesting parallelism to Khomeini-era Iran, where the US was the Big Satan (I assume still true) and the USSR was the Little Satan. Now, in the case of the modern US, Russia is the Big Satan and Iran the little one.

  3. Dacian Julien Soros says

    The thought that Romania had a vaguely populist government in 2016 beggars the mind. It was an unelected government, called in because the Parliament and the Presidency were controlled by opposing parties, who preferred to hide their temporary alliance under the guise of “technocracy”.

    Despite the decent economic growth, pre-dating it for almost 4 years, and despite the support of the putative “Socialist” party, the 2016 government did not increase any gibs for the poor. The PM was a stuttering moron, nominated by Barroso, his ex-boss in the European commission. (I am one of a few who uses variants of his name as nicknames in these comments.) Ciolos ended the year as a Spitzencandidate for a party filled with dual citizens, which got 6.5%.

    His equivalent is Mario Monti (Italy 2012), or Papademos (Greece, 2012, not shown, presumably because Greece never had populists in government).

    To the greater point: Saying that the internet has changed elections is like saying TV disrupted something. The same moneyed classes and the same unelected state officials control the message. Just because you type here some bull, and three people comment, doesn’t mean you have more impact that the guys on TV in Wayne’s World.

    Trump was more likely to lower the taxes on the rich, and so he got free air time from the “opposing” MSM. Even his goofiness is nothing new, as we’ve seen it before with Bush Jr or Reagan, similarly “mocked” by MSM. How come we don’t get that mmany jokes on Omar’s statements about Jews, or about Maher’s statements on 9/11 heroes, or about Todashev “resisting”?

    If chanting “build that wall” seems populism, so be it; but it was obvious, for the saner of us, that it’s just words, and nothing will be done. Once you see though his lies, Trump is no more populist than McCain or Romney. All had to say something on the campaign trail, and all offered vocal farts with no value. How is “build that wall” more believable than “47 percent of the voters will not vote or me, because they don’t pay taxes”?

    Rednecks heard what they wanted to hear in both cases. They always hear the Republican candidate “saying it like it is”. The only difference that makes Trump more of a “populist” that Romney is that Trump won. By that same token, he is a Nazi and a Putinist.

    “Populist” is what butthurt Democrats want to hear. Don’t give them satisfaction.

  4. Of course Israel is not mentioned. Funny how the mass media can go from making Israel the most important thing in the universe to suddenly pretending it does not exist.

  5. Cagey Beast says

    Martin Gurri’s recent book on this topic seems very interesting. He’s getting some positive attention for it as well:

    Trump and Brexit Proved This Book Prophetic — What Calamity Will Befall Us Next?