IdleRich

IdleRich
No, I'm saying that Orban passing a law that basically means he is a dictator is analagous to Trump swerving the election.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Or I'm asking if it is.
Just cos he would win an election doesn't mean it's ok to change the law so he doesn't have to have one. I'm not saying that's what you're suggesting but just in case you are.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
But you get what I'm saying about an Elective Dictatorship? The issue with democracy is that a large enough majority can bully minorities etc and it looks as though right now that is manifest in Hungary and in the UK (although actually in the UK it wasn't really a majority of votes that returned a vast majority of seats which makes it even more frustrating).
 

craner

Beast of Burden
Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes' The Light That Failed: A Reckoning is a good starting point for understanding the historical context of Orban's politics
I've seen a few smart people talking about this book recently. Why should I put down what I'm reading and read this?
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Hungary used to be famous for its hot lesbians.
I saw you had posted and thought "Finally we will get some proper penetrating analysis of the situation with a deep understanding of the context and the paradoxes of democracy etc".
 

craner

Beast of Burden
You probably could productively analyse the post-89 political trajectory of Hungary through the prism of its contribution to the porn industry.
 

comelately

Wild Horses
Furedi lol

Anyone observing the media campaign against Hungary and its government would imagine that it is motivated by a genuine concern to uphold the values of democracy. Anti-Hungarian crusaders continually go on about the importance of protecting the values of Europe. Recently, the former Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, tweeted that Hungary should be driven out of the European Union because it threatens this institution’s democratic values.

In every respect, Renzi personifies anti-Hungarian bigotry. It is worth recalling that, unlike Viktor Orbán, who became prime minister through running in a General Election, Renzi gained power through what could be called a coup d’état. Renzi would not know what democracy is if he bumped into it. He never ran in a national election nor had he been elected to either Italy’s lower or upper houses of parliament before he became PM. In 2014, he was simply named as Italy’s leader by the Italian president, Giorgio Napolitano, a former leading member of the Italian Communist Party (PCI). In effect, Renzi replaced the previous prime minister, Enrico Letta, through the kind of intra-elite political manoeuvring that used to characterise the final years of the Weimar Republic.

In passing, it is also worth noting that Napolitano actively supported his party’s denunciation of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, when the PCI’s newspaper referred to the revolutionaries as ‘thugs’ and ‘despicable agent provocateurs’. So being lectured on the need to be wary of dictatorship in democratic Hungary by the Renzi-Napolitano school of realpolitik is like hearing a serial killer praise the value of life.
 

Rudewhy

Well-known member
I've seen a few smart people talking about this book recently. Why should I put down what I'm reading and read this?
I personally enjoyed the writing style compared to other books by liberal intellectuals I've read recently on this theme i.e. the conspiracy minded, frothing at the mouth "It's all Russia's fault!" approach of the likes of Timothy Snyder's The Road to Unfreedom. The authors don't shy away from stating quite clearly the inherent contradictions of Western liberalism and how both neo-liberal economics and social liberalism as currently practised cannot address these issues, but don't go down the route of advocating for the sort of utopian solutions you would inevitably find in such a book were it published by Verso. There's probably not a lot of new ideas or revelations regarding capitalism or "the system" for most on this forum but for anyone who is unsure about the politics of countries such as Hungary or Poland, it's a good starting point.
 

Rudewhy

Well-known member
I've been re-reading The Light That Failed this week and want to share this summary found at the end of the chapter on Orban and Eastern Europe as I feel it's useful for framing what's been previously discussed on this thread

The rise of authoritarian chauvinism and xenophobia in Central and Eastern Europe has its origins in political psychology not political theory. Where populism rules, it does not do so intellectually. Whatever popularity it has stems from a deep-seated disgust at a perceived post-1989 Imitation Imperative with all of its demeaning and humiliating implications. And it is fuelled by the rejection of the minorities-centred cultural transformation that followed the 1968 protest movements in the West. The origins of Central and Eastern European illiberalism are therefore emotional and pre-ideological, rooted in rebellion against the 'humiliation by a thousand cuts' that accompanied a decades-long project requiring acknowledgement that foreign cultures were vastly superior to one's own. Illiberalism in a philosophical sense is a cover-story meant to lend a patina of intellectual respectability to a widely shared visceral desire to shake off the 'colonial' dependency; an inferiority implicit in the very project of Westernization. When Kaczyński accuses 'liberalism' of being 'against the very notion of the nation' and Maria Schmidt says, 'We are Hungarians and we want to preserve our culture', their overheated nativism embodies a refusal to be judged by foreigners according to foreign standards. The same can be said of Viktor Orbán's expressions of anti-immigrant nostalgia: 'we do not want to be diverse and do not want to be mixed . . . We want to be how we became eleven hundred years ago here in the Carpathian Basin.' This is a good example of how populists select one of their country's many pasts and claim that it is the authentic past of the nation which must be rescued from contamination by Western modernity. And while he is informing Westerners that 'we' are not trying to copy 'you', and it therefore makes no sense for foreigners to consider Hungarians low-quality or half-baked copies of themselves, he is also pretending that imitation of one's remote ancestors, of whom few traces remain, requires no more effort than being oneself.
Also found this earlier journal article by the authors from which most of that chapter is lifted: Explaining Eastern Europe: Imitation and Its Discontents
 

comelately

Wild Horses
To sound like a broken record, I'm not sure it's so different in the UK - the narratives are a little different, but the psychology is broadly the same; a rejection of Europe and some other things, but no real sense that reclaiming Britishness requires any more effort than being oneself - which of course has taken in and will continue to take in a huge range of multicultural influences. Let's all go to Ikea!
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
To sound like a broken record, I'm not sure it's so different in the UK - the narratives are a little different, but the psychology is broadly the same; a rejection of Europe and some other things, but no real sense that reclaiming Britishness requires any more effort than being oneself - which of course has taken in and will continue to take in a huge range of multicultural influences. Let's all go to Ikea!
Sure - how many English nationalists make a point of avoiding curry, pizza, (American) hamburgers, (Sephardic) fish and chips, Dutch/Belgian/German lager, etc.? Not too many, I expect.
 
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