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How to defeat populism

Startbeitrag von Moderator. am 30.09.2017 08:55

How to defeat populism

The following speech was delivered at the European Liberty Forum, organized by the Atlas Network in Budapest, Hungary, on September 21, 2017. It has been edited for length and clarity.

Do you know what 500 years means? Can we actually comprehend how much time half a century is? Once, on a trip to Austria, I had the opportunity to visit an exceptional castle. The most amazing thing for me, besides the beautiful view, was when I learned that this gorgeous building was owned by the same family for the last 500 years.

Five hundred years of respect for private property. For us Hungarians, who live right in the neighbourhood of Austria, this number is incomprehensible. We do not even know what is going to happen in Hungary next year.

Here, time is measured differently. Let me illustrate with another example of how different it is. Were you to meet a 100-year-old person here in Hungary, that person have lived through two World War defeats, at least two crises of the world economy, several unsuccessful freedom fights, and eight political transitions. That is, everything in the country restarted eight times: new laws, new social rules, new mandatory ideologies. Here in Hungary, there is no opportunity for long-term planning. When walking around in New York I like to look at the numbered street signs: Those will not be renamed every few decades unlike here, where the state constantly changes the names of the streets and squares of Budapest. I am only in the beginning of my forties, but this is the third political system in my country since I was born. How many more are there to come?

Today, populism is a global plague.

Dear friends, welcome to Budapest, the beautiful European capital of populism! How did Hungary, which was the most advanced Eastern Bloc country in terms of freedom and acceptance of Western values, and served as a beacon of Western spirit during the 1980s and ‘90s, become a black hole sucking up individual freedom, civil rights, and freedom of the press?

I would like to point out some important reasons for the success of populism in Hungary........



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