Category: Insights

Autocracies vs. Democracies. A theoretical approach

Democracies still face threats to their existence today. With autocratic regimes, political power is clearly based upon executive prerogative, meaning a potentially unchecked use of force by police and military, thereby guaranteeing domestic stability through force. In contrast, the political power of democracies is ultimately based upon their power of persuasion; a principle that is… Continue reading “Autocracies vs. Democracies. A theoretical approach”

Merkel’s dilemma: Germany’s polarising ‘Turkish issue’ returns

To prevent such developments, mainstream parties need to shape political discourse, instead of being shaped by it. In August 2017, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) co-leader Alexander Gauland proposed to ‘dispatch’ the then Federal Commissioner for Immigration, Refugees and Integration, Aydan Özoğuz (SPD), back to Anatolia. Some weeks later, the AfD party entered the German… Continue reading “Merkel’s dilemma: Germany’s polarising ‘Turkish issue’ returns”

Expertise in politics: boon or bane?

Populist radical right parties and their leaders openly despise expertise: they often parade their ignorance and inexperience by developing, in electoral terms, propaganda depicting them shoulder-to-shoulder with ordinary citizens (“the People”) – as distant as possible from accultured, intellectual cosmopolitan elites. Mainstream political parties have, especially in recent years, often championed recourse to unelected experts… Continue reading “Expertise in politics: boon or bane?”

Is the World Undergoing a Deep Populist Transition?

The political momentum and social appeal of the current populist backlash illustrates the persistence of dark collective layers that the postwar transition was meant to have banished. In academia, we seem to have a fondness for the trope of the “wave” and “wave theory.” Samuel Huntington gave us the waves of democratization — a process of… Continue reading “Is the World Undergoing a Deep Populist Transition?”

The ups and downs and clashes of Western civilization

Ethnocentric, sexist and racist ideologies demonstrate why it is important to de-colonise the study and teaching of European culture and history.   Recently, Javier Ortega Smith, the leader of Vox, the populist radical right party in Spain, came under scrutiny for language that Spanish Attorney General Luis Navajas called “abominable” and “repulsive” but not a… Continue reading “The ups and downs and clashes of Western civilization”

The Architect of America’s Racist Anti-Immigration Movement is Dead

John Tanton, who over 40 years almost single-handedly built the American anti-immigration movement around a core of rancid white nationalism, is dead. He was 85, and he left a legacy of racist opposition to immigration that, among other things, has been fully embraced by the president of the United States. Tanton died last week in… Continue reading “The Architect of America’s Racist Anti-Immigration Movement is Dead”