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Who Are the People?

The global revival of populism shouldn’t come as such a shock—or be seen as such a threat.

Published on: April 12, 2018
David Polansky received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Toronto. He is at work on a book manuscript on the origins of modern conceptions of peoplehood.
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  • QET

    A nice presentation. Ultimately it is a metaphysical problem, an example of the sorities problem or the more general philosophical problem of being in the sense treated by the Platonic dialogue whose name escapes me at the moment whereby I am not the same being I was when I got up this morning or the “we never step in the same river twice” of Heraclitus.

    But I believe the We the People concept announced in the US Constitution was the first of its kind, and I think it is safe to say that We the People bears no similarity whatever–either conceptual or political–to “the people” of Communist China’s “constitution.” We were also the first to enshrine in a charter document the permanent separation of “We the People” from our government, treating the two as ineluctably, qualitatively different, incommensurable, with the latter being unequivocally subordinate and inferior to the former.

  • Arkeygeezer

    Who are “the people”?
    In our political system, they are the people that cast votes to elect their representatives to rule over us. Our political and cultural elites seem to have forgotten this. “Populism” is the people expressing themselves.
    President Trump is reminding them.

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