The president of Estonia says he’s sick and tired of southern European deadbeat countries taking advantage of the hard work and good will of northern European countries like his own, whose fed-up people are being denounced as “populists” by Eurocratic bien-pensants. Excerpt:
That I submit is a problem, a serious problem and a threat to Europe we have only begun to realize. When we still talk about new and old members, we still talk nonsense about “populism” in all the wrong ways. Indeed I believe that the “populism” and the “specter of the 30s” that all kinds of pundits unknowledgeably appeal to has nothing to do with the populism we see in Northern Europe. That is not a populism of the dispossessed, the unemployed. It is a populism more akin to what Calvin and Luther appealed to than what the fascists of the 1930s appealed to. It is, like most populism, based on resentment, and resentment at unfairness. But the unfairness is, as it was in the 16th Century, a resentment of those who flaunt their flouting the rules by which others abide. Resentment on the part of those who take commitments seriously regarding those who do not: Is that the “specter of the 30s”?
I cannot and will not accept any labels applied to Northern Europeans for being “populists” when they have been doing exactly what has been asked of them. The price of following the rules for a “poor” country like Estonia has been harsh.