In a world of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act, George Orwell

Indignez-vous ! Stéphane Hessel

“Le courage c’est de chercher la vérité et de la dire ; c’est de ne pas subir la loi du mensonge triomphant qui passe, et de ne pas faire écho, de notre âme, de notre bouche et de nos mains aux applaudissements imbéciles et aux huées fanatiques ”.” – Djordje Kuzmanovic

mardi 24 mai 2016

Post - EU & rest of world - liberal vs illiberal – the mark of Cain

The ideological battleground: liberal vs illiberal – the mark of Cain

The term liberalism has different permutations that render it complex. When viewed in the European context, liberalism is viewed by many as the driving force for the EU; it is seen as the antidote to nationalism & authoritarianism, a panacea of sorts.  A British paper, the FT, recently wrote about an arc of illiberal politics gaining ground through Poland, Hungary & to a lesser extent Slovakia & Austria. So much so, Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orban stated in a speech in 2014 that he is an advocate of "illiberal democracy" as a response to Merkel’s comments that Hungary should pursue ‘liberal democracy”.

“The insistence by Orbán that he is Hungarian first, and Christian, deeply offended the internationalist and devoutly secular leadership of the EU. This was deviation from the founding principles, which were less about liberal democracy and more about a certain ideology within it.”

I’ve seen time after time, the peculiar use of illiberal as a word in discourse & policy papers. It is often linked to “illiberal surveillance state, policy”, “identity politics”, “regressive mindset”, or “illiberal governance”. Additionally the proponents of ‘liberalism’ are quite vocal about seeking a raft of sanctions or outright bans on challenges to their worldviews.   

Russia is regularly labelled as an “illiberal state”, because it contradicts the EU ideological stance. Illiberal democracy as a concept is seen as a serious challenge to the “European order”.  The amount time & energy that is spent by politicians & behind-the-scenes policy-makers alike, trying to police those states that dare to show an “illiberal streak” is mind-boggling & ultimately counter-productive.

There is a complete inability on the part of EU elites & the MSM to deal with opposing viewpoints with reasoned arguments.  The EU is supposed to be about having a robust policy on human rights & freedom of expression but instead it is slipping further into a near totalitarian dogma as evidenced by the fact that top-level decision makers are totally unaccountable & ignore the grassroots concerns of Europeans.  Moreover, even elected leaders act in a pushy manner, antagonizing Europeans in the process. One example where Mrs. Merkel has pertinently demonstrated this is by imposing her views to the Eastern European states on how to implement migrant policies.

Increasingly, EU policy-making decisions don't stand up very well to scrutiny and criticism, as can be seen with the raft of sanctions against Russia, which has effectively crippled large swaths of the European agricultural sector.  Another example is the chaotic & whimsical relationship between Turkey & the EU, overlooking the dramatic deteriorating of human rights in the region. The EU by its own nature is elitist, undemocratic & intolerant & has been steamrolling its ‘liberal values’ for several decades now.

Many Central & Eastern European states joined the EU with the anticipation of improved prospects & high expectations for their citizens economically & socially. An overlooked, issue is that most people in these countries are still quite poorer than their Western counterparts despite all of the EU achievements to uphold “liberal values”.  However, in recent years some countries, it could said that the people have a jaundiced view regarding these EU values that have proved to be hollow, as well as a feeling of having been deceived.  So something had to give.  The electorate voted in significant numbers for alternative political leaders, the MSM subsequently pulls out of its hat the ‘illiberal’ card. The MSM acts as a gatekeeper, by serving the interests of the elite, thus widening the gap between the European people   & EU institutions.  It also steadfastly applies the EU core ideology, based on “liberal values”, as one voice; they can easily intimidate & denounce opponents as ‘illiberal’ that try to move away from dogmatic EU policies set in stone.

 The EU 'liberals' who are:

  • cheering on the uncontrolled migrant waves into Europe; (without any consideration for upholding existing border controls & laws);

  • lending their support to so-called 'moderate rebels' in Syria, hell-bent on massacring their opponents;

  • shutting down freedom of expression & dissenting views, (mostly due to islamphobia concerns + due toTurkey's demands). No more placards with Je Suis Charlie).

  • backing of openly neo-nazi & fascists groups in Ukraine and turning a blind eye to 
    extrajudicial punishments & killings.

But keep playing the broken record of "iliberal democracies"!

Sidebar on freedom of speech in the EU: 1 Could Erdogan charge you for 'insult' in your country?