Liberal Constitutionalism and the New Global Populism: A Legal-Philosophical Investigation

In recent years, many legal scholars and political scientists explicitly or implicitly agree that populism is a threat to liberal democratic constitutionalism. Nevertheless, much less clear is the assessment of the source of decay within liberal democratic constitutionalism.

This paper will focus on two issues that become the root of crisis within liberal democratic constitutionalism. First, what Charles Taylor calls as the modern moral order, has contributed to the rise of the populist movement, as the citizens demand more openness to the “transcendent frame.” Second, relying on Tocqueville, this paper posits liberal democratic constitutionalism has produced a despotic form of equality, in which docile and alienated citizens look upward to the powerful state rather than outward toward their neighbors for their nourishment. The scope of investigation of this paper will include the rise of populism in the United States, Western/Eastern Europe, Thailand, Philippines, and Indonesia.