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Globalization and politics

Emily Schultheis

Freelance journalist currently based in Berlin, chronicling the effects of populism on elections in Europe. Former Washington-based political reporter for CBS News, Politico and National Journal.

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piqer: Emily Schultheis
Sunday, 10 February 2019

What Orbán's Fight Against A Budapest University Tells Us AboutThe Future Of Democracy

How can Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán claim he's a democrat when he's spent nearly a decade working to chip away at his country's democratic institutions? And why does he hate George Soros so much?

In this podcast, the first of a series from the Bertelsmann Foundation and Humanity in Action, host Andrew Keen explores these subjects with Michael Ignatieff, rector and president of Budapest's Central European University. As an organization founded by Soros, CEU has found itself consistently in Orbán's crosshairs — and may be forced to move to Vienna as a result of Orbán's efforts. 

Ignatieff explains the relationship between Orbán and Soros, and looks at just how Hungary has reached the point it's at today. He differentiates between fascist regimes of the 20th century and so-called "illiberal democracies" like Orbán's by noting that its methods don't involve imprisonment and violence so much as intimidation and control of media and online communication. And while Orbán can say he's a democrat because he was democratically elected, Ignatieff says that attention to minority rights and individual rights are what differentiates a liberal democrat from someone like Orbán.

Hungary is perhaps the most high-profile test case for challenges to democracy in the West; this podcast provides interesting insight into and perspective on the shifts that have taken place there.

What Orbán's Fight Against A Budapest University Tells Us AboutThe Future Of Democracy
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Comments 1
  1. Christine Köhler
    Christine Köhler · Created 2 months ago ·

    It is rather Bertelsmann and the Bertelsmann Foundation who are the ''most high-profile test case for challenges to democracy in the world", I think. Unlike Orban, who even confesses he is "anti-humanist" they act under the disguise of ''humanity'' (e.g. see above, Bertelsmann F and "Humanity"). Hopefully, piqd will not be undermined by ''them'' (if not already, since it happens to the best of us). ''Arvato'', for example, is also part of this '''neo-liberal-humanist'' project, if I am not mistaken, and "Hartz IV" was initiated by them (depicted by "Die Anstalt"). Globalization for them is the chance to deregulate and abolish solidarity thus social security (cf. "Hartz IV"). Privatization, happily under the disguise of "PPS", is pushed to the extreme. Let us be highly on the alert as to their tool kits to "fit democracy", please.