Port: There’s good populism, and there’s bad populism, and it’s important for us to know the difference


MINOT, N.D. — It probably doesn’t surprise those who read my work consistently to learn that I am not a populist. I believe in self-governance, and the will of the people, but only with appropriate checks and balances in place to protect our laws, and our society, from the whims of the fickle mob.

“Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance,” H.L. Mencken wrote in his “Notes on Democracy,” and while that’s far too cynical a perspective for me, we can recognize in his polemic some truths about modern politics.

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