Whither the Popuhst Wavernby Paul GottfriedrnFor at least a decade, a changing political climate has beenrnupsetting the media and the practitioners of politics asrnusual. Populist movements have been spreading through thernWest under such names as the Lcga Nord (Italy), the NationalrnFront (France), Freiheitliche Partei (Austria), the Reform Partvrn(Canada), and Pat Buchanan’s American Cause. Thoughrnthere are critical differences among these movements, theirrnshared characteristics seem more important. All of them attackrnelitist impersonal bureaucracy and treat established parties asrnshills for special interests. As the onetime theoretician of thernLega Nord, Gianfranco Miglio, points out, Italy has ceasedrnto be a country and has become instead a “corrupt feudalrnarrangement,” run by party bosses and their administrativernlackeys.rnPopulist movements feature charismatic leaders (an exceptionrnbeing the emaciated, bespectacled head of the CanadianrnReform Party, Preston Manning). Whether the Frenchmanrn}ean-Marie Le Pen, the Lombard Umberto Bossi, the AustrianrnJorg Haider, or the American Pat Buchanan, the people’s selfdescribedrnspokesmen rail against “undemocratic” forces, particularlyrnself-described democratic governments which insulaternthemselves against the popular will. Like their late 19th-centuryrncounterparts, today’s populists appeal to idcntitarian democracy.rnReal democracy, they insist, is abovit self-identified communitiesrnbeing governed by ancestral wisdom. Democracy isrnnot about being “sensitive,” as social planners and behaviormodifiersrnbelieve; nor is it about keeping one’s borders perpetuallyrnopen to newcomers who may fundamentally change thernPaul Gottfried is a professor of humanities at ElizahethtownrnCollege in Pennsylvania.rnsocieties they enter.rnAmong populist advocates, Pat Buchanan has elicited thernmost widespread and most panicky responses. Usually seriousrnjournalists have compared him to Adolf Hitler, and hardly anrnhour goes by without a public personality warning against hisrn”racism,” “anti-Semitism,” or “Catholic authoritarian personality.”rnAll such diatribes contain gross exaggeration or outrightrnlies, but they do fit a widely shared and not entirely fictive viewrnof populism. Some of the most frightened antipopulists arernJewish and assume a necessar}’ link between culturally conservativernmajoritarianism and anti-Semitism.rnIn response to this fear, based partly on true memories fromrnother times and places, Jews have associated their safety, asrnBenjamin Ginsberg and Stanley Rothman note, with highlyrncentralized bureaucratic government and with anticlerical politics.rnAnd one contemporary populist movement, the NationalrnFront, has solidified Jewish liberal opposition by respondingrnto its Jewish critics with brutal ridicule. In the last nine years,rnthe Front’s leaders have gone out of their way to insult Jewishrnsensitivities, as an expression of contempt for those they believernare defaming them. Despite this fighting, in which Jewishrngroups have called on the French state to suppress the populistrnright, Le Pen continues to have Jewish economic advisors. Hernalso wonders why French Jews intensely dislike him, given hisrnresistance to Arab immigration and the fact that French Jewsrnhave been targeted by Arab terrorists.rnBut America is not France and does not carry its anti-Semiticrnbaggage, which may nevertheless be exaggerated for ideologicalrnreasons. Despite abrasive remarks about AIPAC in 1991,rnBuchanan is not an anti-Semite. About half of his inner circle,rnwhich includes a Hasidic rabbi, is Jewish, and his praise for thern22/CHRONICLESrnrnrn