Do you also know this situation? You are in conversation with a neighbour, colleague, acquaintance from the sports club… and suddenly the conversation turns political – support for refugees, integration of migrants, government decisions, diversity issues or other topics are brought up. The person you are talking to has a clearly populist opinion but you lack the right answer. You are discontent, unhappy with your lack of quick-wittedness and your lack of knowledge, especially when it comes to brutish, simplifying, populist slurs and discourses.
Once we encounter, hear or witness populism, many of us feel helpless in the face of a discourse where truth and facts play a subordinate role and complex political problems are blamed on minorities and seemingly simple solutions are offered without any evidence. But how do we react to such slogans in day to day life, in the community, in peer groups?
We aim at equipping you with the necessary knowledge and skills to take a stance against populist slogans and discourses in public situations.
When to intervene, and when not to intervene
Unfortunately, engaging with populist sloganeers rarely results in dissuading them from their opinions. You may therefore question the value of engaging in such discussions. However, it is crucial to recognize the importance of intervention, particularly in public situations where there are multiple listeners present.
Discussing with populists is challenging, experiences has shown that they are typically uninterested in genuine debate and rational arguments but are very convinced by their opinion as the only truth, want to express their dissatisfaction and maybe also provoke. Let´s have a look at some strategies that help in discussions.