Populism—a regime where the people rule—is impossible because it is not clear who “the people” are and what they want. Populism requires the illusion of a ruler who incarnates the people but who, in reality can rule only a part of the people to the detriment of the rest. The only way populism would be possible is if the people is—or rather are—conceived as a set of separate individuals, each of whom governs himself or herself.

Pierre Lemieux is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and an Economist in the Department of Management Sciences at the Université du Québec en Outaouais (Canada).
Other Independent Review articles by Pierre Lemieux
Winter 2015/16 From Lemonade Stands to 2065
Summer 2015 The State and Public Choice
Summer 2006 Social Welfare, State Intervention, and Value Judgments
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