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A lengthy, thoughtful and for me at least, disturbing piece from a writer who continues to impress.
Liberals in Britain, no matter where they are on the political spectrum, should look very carefully at what is happening in Hungary. It is not enough to say, as Brits often do, that it could not happen here. Many things are currently happening here that we previously insisted never would. Every constituent part of the Orban programme exists here: the anti-semitism, the focus on Soros, the relentless fear-mongering about immigrants, the demonisation of the EU and its institutions, the attacks on Islam, the undermining of an independent judiciary, and, most of all, the widespread conspiracy-squint - the idea, popular on left and right, on almost all matters of political consequence, that shadowy and powerful forces are undermining the people's will.
Scaremongering? I'm not thinking so, at this moment.
http://politics.co.uk/blogs/2018/04/09/ ... ghting-aga
Where there is so little hope, and so few ways to feel like you can make a difference, it becomes tempting to just tune out. Then the siren voices take over. They tell you that you can somehow stop illiberalism by placating it: just give in a bit on Brexit, a bit on anti-semitism, a bit on conspiracy theories, and it'll all go away. But this is false. There is no way to kill a beast by feeding it.
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I agree that all of the elements he lists are present - and probably always have been, and very likely could be found anywhere - but I think that he overstates his case.
I have seen nothing to suggest that anti-semitism is more tolerated by society than it was, or is significant beyond the extremes of left and right.
The only time I have read Soros's name in recent years has been about how badly treated he is being in Hungary.
The anti-immigrant mood is hardly worse than it was after Powell's "rivers of blood" speech, and now tends to be mostly focused on Islam (see below); I think that since the Brexit vote, there is now a greater realisation of just how much we depend on European immigrants in particular.
The EU has been hammered by a large section of the British press for decades, and often a cause for complaint (sometimes rightly IMO).
The attacks on Islam are hardly surprising, given the experience of the past couple of decades and the fact that the overwhelming majority of terrorist attacks have been claimed by the perpetrators to be in the name of Islam.
The undermining of the judiciary I will grant does seem to be something new, and unwelcome - but the newspapers which took that lead received a battering over it.
Conspiracy theories - have they not always been there?
The main issue it seems to me is the impact of social media in rapidly spreading ideas and opinions regardless of their merits - we haven't yet learned how to cope with that, although battle has been joined over "fake news" etc.