Let me state up front, Populist Movements and Populism absolutely repulse me.
Having spent so many years dealing with the after-effects of serious abuse when I was a child (3rd grade elementary school principal) I have a tendency to be rather analytical when dealing with people and groups of people. I also do not mind admitting I am rather stand-offish, do not join things, do not do crowds, and avoid meetings and conferences like the plague. When recovering from serious abuse, if a person wants to “normalize” their personality, then you learn how to look at the world much differently from what you once did. You become highly critical of yourself and learn how to take absolute responsibility for your actions. (I think this is a 12 Step thing, also). In a way you start viewing things with a little bit of cold blooded Vulcan logic.
This said, one of the things I’ve also learned is that there are certain personality types who absolutely refuse to take responsibility for their own action and blame everyone around them. They deal in absolutes, and can be absolute bullies when it comes to their absolute requirements.
Have you ever had someone with whom you had a romantic interest who was more demanding than “usual”? The world must revolve around them. You know something isn’t “quite right” but you just can’t figure what it is, so you end up surrendering a portion of your personality to that person in order to keep peace. Before long you are going to be required to surrender more and more if you do not want your “loved” one shouting profanities, slamming you against the wall, or withdrawing their presence from your life. (Yea, I had one fiancé who wanted to know if I could survive if he withdrew his presence from my life).
There is nothing wrong with a healthy ego and a healthy sense of self. When an ego and a sense of “self” becomes so over-whelming that other egos and another sense of “self” cannot shine through, then we are dealing with a personality disorder. The loved one has a temper tantrum because something does not go their way. While I can see having a tantrum once in awhile, primarily for righteous indignation, having a tantrum when something does not go your way is the sign of a very emotional stunted individual.
The loved one manipulates. They threaten. They blackmail. If they do not get their desired results they destroy. The more civilized person simply destroys the spirit and emotional well-being of those they “love”. If the person does not have certain parameters of a civilized behavior they will literally inflict bodily harm and eventually, if not stopped, kill the object of their “love”.
In other words, there is a certain kind of person who is so certain they are right that they will stop at nothing to prove they are right, and will destroy in order to prove their point. There are times when these individuals happen to be on the fringes of society they have a tendency to bond with other like minded bullies. Their sense of individualism is not as well developed as they project. They become a “group” and a mob. Enfranchised by other like minded individuals, they become more embolden and more extreme.
Some people call it populism. I call it a mob. They are no different from the people who collected around Oliver Cromwell, John Brown or William Quantrill. Left alone, our little bully is simply going to destroy his/her spouse or loved one. As a mob they are terrifying and can bring down monarchies, murder hundreds of people, or help instigate civil war.