Stephen Holmes on Migration - Dictionary of Arguments
Krastev I 36
Migration/Krastev/Holmes: Orbán and Kaczyński have jointly described their shared political approach as ‘counter-revolutionary’.(1)
Krastev: The underlying weakness of political liberalism, according to these ‘counter-revolutionaries’, is revealed by the West’s inability to take seriously the difference between members and non-members of a nation and therefore to invest aggressively in hardening the territorial borders that give the member/non-member distinction its practical significance. The facile optimism of liberals who believe that different ethnic and cultural groups can be assimilated, American-style, into European civilization is proving to be the undoing of the West, they assert. From this deeply anti-liberal perspective, a society with a post-national identity into which non-European migrants are welcomed has unilaterally disarmed and risks losing whatever remains of its cultural coherence.
Central and Eastern Europe: Anxiety about immigration is fomented by a fear that unassimilable foreigners will enter the country, dilute national identity and weaken national cohesion. This fear, in turn, is fuelled by a largely unspoken preoccupation with demographic collapse. In the period 1989–2017, Latvia haemorrhaged 27 per cent of its population, Lithuania 22.5 per cent, Bulgaria almost 21 per cent.
Krastev I 37
Libralism: Massive emigration, especially of the young, has arguably done more to discredit liberalism in the region than virtually nonexistent immigration. As it was understood in the region, (...) liberalism elevated the freedom to cross borders into something of a sacred value. This gave Westernizing and reform-minded leaders no ready language with which to express and take into account demographic fears fueled by outmigration from low birthrate societies. As a consequence, populist demagogues were able to exploit unspoken fears of national extinction to vilify open-border liberalism, to public applause,
Krastev I 38
and claim that the liberal idea has outlived its usefulness in today’s world.
1. Henry Foy and Neil Buckley, ‘Orban and Kaczynski Vow “Cultural Counter- Revolution” to Reform EU’, Financial Times (7 September 2016)._____________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.
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
The Common Law Mineola, NY 1991
The Light that Failed: A Reckoning London 2019