Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? Populism, nativism, protectionism & isolationism


Stanford University’s Hoover Institution this week launched a yearlong speaker series – “A Century of Ideas for a Free Society” – to address its mission and core values, including “individual, economic, and political freedom; private enterprise; and limited, effective representative government.”

Tuesday’s panel considered “One Hundred Years of Democracy and Foreign Policy,” and featured former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Milbank Family senior fellow Niall Ferguson and Hoover Institution senior fellow Stephen Krasner.

Rice asked fellow panelists to compare “the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” — populism, nativism, protectionism and isolationism — over the past century.

“Much of what you’re talking about when you talk about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, populism and nativism, protectionism, I don’t see that as fundamentally undemocratic,” Ferguson said. “I think those are necessary checks; you might call it the backlash against globalization, which many ordinary Americans and Europeans felt was long overdue,” he added, going on to say that fascism and communism are “much more dangerous” to democracy than populism.

There’s reason to be “worried” about the state of democracy, Krasner added. “We’re not on kind of a teleological path. There’s no natural way in which countries end up being democratic,” he said. “It’s true that the wealthy countries in the world are countries that have governments which are effective and constrained. Given that, I mean, one would think that democracy would sweep the world — that has not necessarily been the case,” he said.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email