Edited by János Mátyás Kovács and Balázs Trencsényi. Brave New Hungary focuses on the rise of a “brave new” anti-liberal regime led by Viktor Orbán who made a decisive contribution to the transformation of a poorly managed liberal democracy to a well-organized authoritarian rule bordering on autocracy during the past decade. Emerging capitalism in post-1989 Hungary that once took pride in winning the Eastern European race for catching up with the West has evolved into a reclusive, statist, national-populist system reminding the observers of its communist and pre-communist predecessors. Going beyond the self-description of the Orbán regime that emphasizes its Christian-conservative and illiberal nature, the authors, leading experts of Hungarian politics, history, society, and economy, suggest new ways to comprehend the sharp decline of the rule of law in an EU member state. Their case studies cover crucial fields of the new authoritarian power, ranging from its historical roots and constitutional properties to media and social policies. The volume presents the Hungarian “System of National Cooperation” as a pervasive but in many respects improvised and vulnerable experiment in social engineering, rather than a set of mature and irreversible institutions. The originality of this dystopian “new world” does not stem from the transition to authoritarian control per se but its plurality of meanings. It can be seen as a simulacrum that shows different images to different viewers and perpetuates itself by its post-truth variability. Rather than pathologizing the current Hungarian regime as a result of a unique master plan designed by a cynical political entrepreneur, the authors show the transnational dynamic of backsliding – a warning for other countries that suffer from comparable deadlocks of liberal democracy.
Books by Fellows