Unsurprisingly, among the countries with the most substantial deteriorations in freedom in recent years are Turkey and Poland, both experiencing evident weakening of the rule of law, contracting religious freedom, and attacks on freedom of expression.
Our progress is already big – for example, you can work almost anywhere in Europe. But we have reached the wall – because we don’t know what foundation, what system we should have. When we do not have solutions, demons wake up.
The last couple of years have seen the citizens of several CEE countries witness the erosion of hard-earned liberalism, while privately and publicly weighing on how to prevent populists in power from further trampling citizen’s freedoms and rights.
Since the beginning of 2015 Viktor Orbán’s right-wing populist Fidesz government has produced one hate campaign after another, targeting migrants, the EU (or rather, “Brussels”), American financier George Soros and institutions connected to him, and even the UN.
On April 19, 2018, the Free Market Road Show visited Warsaw. This year the event took place at SWPS University. The conference began with introductory remarks by Piotr Voelkel (SWPS University), Agata Stremecka (FOR), and Barbara Kolm (Austrian Economics Center).
Those who want to stop populists need to learn how to plan strategically, set aside fantasies, and see the cold reality. They need to be proactive rather than reactive, preventively tackling the propaganda of the populists. Only when the strategic goals are achieved, should they feel good about themselves.
Angela Merkel’s party, CDU, came in first in the German national election. However, this is not a great victory because what’s important here is that for the first time in post-World War 2 history, an extreme right-wing party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), came in third in the national election, getting around 13% of the votes.
Few ideologies have changed the contemporary world to such an extent like liberalism did. Liberal demands for the rule of law, democracy, and market economy have been introduced to some extent in all highly developed countries. This, however, does not mean that liberalism, as political philosophy, became redundant in public life.
The Swedish think tank Timbro has presented its “Authoritarian Populism Index”. The index “aims to shed light on whether populism poses a long-term threat to European liberal democracies” (it includes the EU countries as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Serbia, and Montenegro)