November 9, 2022
'Can Populist Hope Be a Democratic Civic Virtue?' talk Nov. 10
The K-State department of philosophy has invited Nancy Snow, assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Kansas, to present the talk "Can Populist Hope Be a Democratic Civic Virtue?" from 4-5 p.m. Nov. 10 in 106 Dickens Hall.
Elsewhere I have defended a conception of hope as a democratic civic virtue (Snow 2018a). During a presentation of that work, an audience member asked a very pertinent question: what about the hope of populists? Can that be considered a democratic civic virtue? The question is complicated as well as important. It is complicated for several reasons: (1) there are many different forms of populism (see Kaltwasser, et. al. 2017a); (2) populist hope can be held by individuals as well as by groups; (3) populist hope might or might not be antithetical to democracy, and (4) the ways in which it might be antithetical can vary. The question is important because populist hope in our day and age is a destabilizing force, in some cases threatening the viability of established democracies.
In part I of this paper, I offer a brief and selective overview of hope and introduce my conception of hope as a democratic civic virtue. In part II, I turn to the question of what I mean by populist hope, and address two skeptical challenges about the question of whether populist hope can be a democratic civic virtue. In part III, I offer an analysis that is meant to identify the parameters in terms of which populist hope can be evaluated as a democratic civic virtue. In part IV, I consider two objections and offer replies.