Most explanations for populism today are political or economic in orientation. If the political party system better represented its members the populist temptation would be quelled. Or if there was a better system of wealth distribution and less wealth inequality the populist temptation would not be as appealing. This talk argues that the religious and existential dimension of populism has been under analyzed. The world wide populist revolt might also signifying a crisis of the human condition, which might in part explain why so many religious believers find authoritarian populist leaders so meaningful. The paper argues that those on the Left would do well to turn their attention to the existential/religious dimension of the populist revolt. As such, it suggest that an older attempt to make existentialism compatible with Marxism is in need of renewal today.
Comment: Gene Zubovich, Visiting Fellow, Emmanuel College, University of Toronto