In Ivaylo Ditchevs opinion, professor of cultural anthropology at Sofia University, as the globalized world becomes more complex, the tyranny of specialized knowledge becomes ever harder to support. Take the European Union. Few Europeans are able to figure out the subtle ways of its machinery, the interplay of the national and the political, of lobbying and connections. Confusion and anger gave rise to the whimsical figure of the Brussels bureaucrat — obsessed with curvy cucumbers. Accountable to no one, the Brussels bureaucrat complicates things, twists the law and invents complex language to fool the honest citizen.
The solution offered by populists is always the simplest: get rid of those parasitic intermediaries. [Italian Interior Minister] Matteo Salvini’s “Europe of common sense” seems to be a promise to make the complexities of modern life digestible for everyone.
Of course, democratically elected politicians are supposed to be regular people like us: It’s only after assuming office that they are supposed to employ specialists to assist them. But the fine line between politics and expertise now seems blurred. Modern-day “elites” go to the same schools, speak the same language, have the same privileged way of life.
Fifty years ago, there was a much greater social mix in national parliaments. Today, it seems 100% of lawmakers have degrees from prestigious universities, just like the leading experts. Over time, both have come to be seen as belonging to the same snobbish set. On the opposite side, the common man and the populist politician form a united front: both are sincere, warm, authentic.
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