Fidesz at 25: From Freedom-Fighters to Radical Democrats

2013. április 5. 9:19
Vera Molnár
Paprika Politik
Without a more principled approach to democratic self-government, Orbán will slowly erode both the legitimacy and the prestige of the very democratic framework he worked so hard to establish.

„Prime Minister Orbán had a vision. It was a vision to create a self-confident, economically independent, socially coherent country where hard work is a virtue, Christianity has a place in the public sphere, and communist crimes are never forgotten. Orbán’s vision has changed very little and his determination has only grown stronger in the face of perceived obstacles such as the European Union and international financial institutions. He still regards himself as a man of the people and for the people. He is a charismatic populist who has an innate distrust of intellectuals, even those conservative elite who tirelessly support him.

Orbán’s popular appeal domestically–where he still holds a confident majority–is the ultimate source of his strength. But, as John Lukács put it, «The majority is not necessarily right just because it is a legitimately elected majority.» And Viktor Orbán frequently is not right. (...)

The fallacy of Fidesz’s radical populism is of course that the majority, just like any other faction, can be wrong. And if it is wrong, it takes a long time and a difficult process to undo the damage that was done. Invoking majoritarian privilege against the plain rulings of the judicial branch is no way to arrive at good policy, and it is certainly no way to safeguard a balanced system of government.

Orbán has earned his spot in history by growing a radical group of liberal university students into a powerful political party that helped create the very foundation for a free and democratic Hungary in the last days of Communism. Having faced Soviet tanks earlier in his life, he might be upset at critics who question his democratic credentials. But without a more principled approach to democratic self-government, he will slowly erode both the legitimacy and the prestige of the very democratic framework he worked so hard to establish.”

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