Classic ideologies are gone, politicians seeking to find support in the past – Carl Bildt

Classic ideologies are gone, politicians seeking to find support in the past – Carl Bildt
16 September 2016

Classic ideologies have lost their popularity and politicians are trying to find support in the past, thinks Carl Bildt, Minister of Foreign Affairs for Sweden (2006-2014), Prime Minister of Sweden (1991-1994) .

"The big narratives (of classic ideologies) were essentially built on hope: ‘I promise to build you a new society’. The politics of ideology has gone, as have great ideologies; they motivated people, but when the beliefs, dreams and the hopes are gone, people are fearful of change," he said when speaking at the 13th Yalta European Strategy Annual Meeting (YES).

According to Bildt, many of today’s politicians are relying on identity from the past.

"We now see more ‘politics of identity’ which is largely based on fear: ‘We will protect you against the others, against whatever’. We see this ‘politics of identity’ in the refugee issue and in the rise of nationalism, we see it everywhere," he said.

Mister Bildt added that this is precisely how the representatives of the political elite in the US, in Russia and many other countries are behaving.

"We are talking about Donald Trump here. If he said, ‘Make America great’, that is a message of hope, it’s forward-looking - that’s Reagan. Whereas Trump says, ‘Make America great again’ - which is backward-looking. And, he is not alone, we have all these political ideologies or movements saying ‘go back to something’; ‘Make America great again’; ‘Make Russia great again’; ‘Make Islam great again’; ‘Make Germany great again’ i.e. we do not have it now. This backward-looking, fear-based tribalism that we do have is what worries me,” he concluded.

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Yuval Harari
Yuval Harari
Professor, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 16th YES Annual Meeting, 2019
«Our global problems demand global solutions.»