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Notes for Astana: Brexit and the Growth of Populism in Europe: A Disclaimer

English Pages, 13. 11. 2017

Let me start with saying that I don´t like the term populism and don´t find it helpful and productive. And I disagree with discussing Europe as the continent of populism. Is what we see in Europe now populism or is it a democratic rebellion against political elites (and against post-democracy)? This is the question which should be raised and seriously, not politically-correctly, answered. My answer to this question will be evident after my presentation.

I find it sad, tragic and frustrating that any rational or irrational, sophisticated or easily understandable, academically formulated or in simple words expressed criticism of the very problematic developments in Europe and any criticism of the arrogance of the current European political elites are so often mistaken for populism. They are, perhaps, not mistaken, but deliberately misnamed.

I have been a part of European politics for the last almost three decades after the fall of communism and I closely follow the European political parties – both the old, traditional ones and those which are critical over the current EU. I don´t see populists, or at least they are not dominant there. I see frustrated, democratically thinking and democracy defending men and women who “only” try to oppose the European political establishment. I also see the enormous extent of media manipulation which reminds me of the communist era. I see the extremely biased reporting in public media based on disrespect over anybody and anything. I see the demonization of leaders of all anti-establishment parties. I see the unheard of indoctrination of our children and grandchildren with new, progressivist doctrines at schools (at the intensity of late communism).

The current “rebelión de las masas” is a real one. The people in Europe are beginning to open their eyes, to look around, to speak out, to express their dissatisfaction with the brave new world which curtails freedom and democracy, which attacks and undermines the old European values, traditions, customs and habits, which limits and suppresses the role of markets in the economy and which gives enormous power into the hands of regulators, controllers and all kinds of new version of central planners.

This revolt is a wide-spread and forceful social movement and its arguments and slogans cannot be formulated in an academically sophisticated form. They must be as simple, clear, straight-forward as possible. They shouldn´t deceive us but we should resist the highbrow approach of political and intellectual elites who dismiss them as populism.

I disagree with a growing “panic about populism”, with “hysterical reactions from political, corporate, bureaucratic and academic establishments”, belittling the current “swing in the zeitgeist as mere populism”.

The supporters of Brexit, of Mme Le Pen, of the Alternative for Germany, of the Austrian Freedom Party, of Prime Minister Orban in Hungary, of Polish Law and Justice politicians, etc. can´t be dismissed as populists. Their views shouldn´t be interpreted as populism. This is not the way out of the current European stalemate.

We should look at the European reality analytically. The fundamental shifts in Europe which have been going on for three decades shouldn’t be underestimated and misinterpreted. The European integration process has been transformed into a European unification process. Due to it, the power moved to Brussels and the sovereignty of the individual EU member states practically vanished. Is it sufficiently – and with all its consequences – seen from Eurasia? From Kazakhstan?

The currently prevailing EU ideology (I used to call it Europeism) systematically undermines the main traditional, historically proven building blocks of the European society:

the nation state – by favouring regions to states and by attacking a nation state as an awful and abominable basis for nationalism (and, therefore, for wars);

the family – by promoting genderism and feminism, by proposing all kinds of registered partnerships and same-sex marriages, by questioning the natural sexual orientation of men and women, etc.;

the man – by trying to create a new European man, homo bruxellarum, by artificially mixing citizens of European countries and – especially in the recent era – by promoting and organizing the mass migration of individuals without European roots into Europe.

The non-explicitly formulated ambition of current European elites is to destroy naturally risen entities as nation, religion, civilization and culture and to create a fragmented society of atomized individuals who would blindly follow their instructions, directives and progressivist models of behaviour. French President Macron made it clear when he said that “there is no such thing as French culture”.

All what is going on in Europe now is done under the umbrella of political correctness, of multiculturalism and of human-rightism. These “isms” (or doctrines) have become the principle ways and methods how to block a serious discussion about fundamental issues, how to eliminate free speech, indoctrinate new generations, and silence the opposition. Some of us experienced such an arrangement in the communist era. That is why I feel it so strongly and painfully.

Let me use the Astana Club meeting for the presentation of some politically incorrect views. Thank you for this possibility.

Václav Klaus, Astana Club Meeting, panel discussion „The EU and Greater Eurasia”, Nazarbayev Center, Kazakhstan, November 13, 2017.


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