Populism is a serious threat to modern liberal democracy: it must be understood, and resisted. In this piece I argue that populism has a very long history, and we can learn about populism today by analyzing populism in Ancient Rome. In particular, contrary to what is generally assumed, I argue that populism is not always a bottom-up movement, the voice of the excluded masses. Instead, populism is often a top-down phenomenon, orchestrated by someone emerging from the elite class itself.



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