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Ivan Krastev on Policy of Hungary - Dictionary of Arguments

Krastev I 74
Policy of Hungary/Krastev: Illiberalism in a philosophical sense is a cover-story meant to lend a patina of intellectual respectability to a widely shared visceral desire to shake off the ‘colonial’ dependency; an inferiority implicit in the very project of Westernization. The same can be said of Viktor Orbán’s expressions of anti-immigrant nostalgia: ‘we do not want to be diverse and do not want to be mixed … We want to be how we became eleven hundred years ago here in the Carpathian Basin.’(1)
Interpretation of the past: This is a good example of how populists select one of their country’s many pasts and claim that it is the authentic past of the nation which must be rescued from contamination by Western modernity. (It is, of course, remarkable that the Hungarian prime minister remembers so vividly what it was like to be Hungarian eleven centuries ago.)
Imitation: And while he is informing Westerners that ‘we’ are not trying to copy ‘you’, and that it therefore makes no sense for foreigners to consider Hungarians low-quality or half-baked copies of themselves, he is also pretending that the imitation of one’s remote ancestors, of whom few traces remain, requires no more effort than being oneself. >Imitation/Krastev.


1. Viktor Orbán, ‘Speech at the Annual General Meeting of the Association of Cities with County Rights’ (8 February 2018).


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Krastev I
Ivan Krastev
Stephen Holmes
The Light that Failed: A Reckoning London 2019


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-06-23
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