Identity instead of Trust: Populism and Katèkon

The paper offers a constitutional law interpretation of populism by focusing on the people’s demand for identity instead of trust. Populism claims to be the political form which bridges together rulers and ruled under the paradigm of identity, by refusing any form of power based on trust such as representation or delegation. The paper analyzes then the differences between these two forms of power by referring to the theological concept of Katèkon, re-interpreted by Schmitt as the political form that prevents the dissolution of the existing order. The Katèkon prevents the bellum omnium contra omnes by ensuring an ordered form of power wherein anyone gives back his original (unlimited) power onto the world. It dilutes the natural violence through representation of political instances and trustworthiness of elected representatives, while identity between rulers and ruled deprives the latter of any margin of appreciation or form of action outside the binary dimension of ‘yes’ or ‘no’.