Puzzled by the simultaneity of new authoritarians welling up across the globe, we seek common historical causes. But figures like Orbán and Kaczyński may be better explained by convergences in political strategy. One such is their abandoning of ’89 as a historical touchstone, argues Holly Case.
Holly Case is a historian of modern Europe whose work focuses on the relationship between foreign policy, social policy, science, and literature in the European state system of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her first book, Between States: The Transylvanian Question and the European Idea during WWII (2009). Her most recent book is The Age of Questions: Or, A First Attempt at an Aggregate History of the Eastern, Social, Woman, American, Jewish, Polish, Bullion, Tuberculosis, and Many Other Questions over the Nineteenth Century, and Beyond (Princeton, 2018).
Case has written on European history, literature, politics and ideas for various magazines and newspapers, including The Guardian, The Chronicle Review, Aeon, The Nation, Dissent, The Times Literary Supplement, Eurozine, and Boston Review, and is a regular columnist for 3 Quarks Daily. She is a former fellow of the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna.
Native Americans have long been beloved in Hungary, where ‘Indians’ stand for what is real, endangered and exceptional. Viktor Orbán has used the trope to channel demographic anxiety and bolster his anti-migrant rhetoric, but it could also spell trouble for his politics of fear.
The dissident vocabulary of anti-politics is currently in vogue, but often misconstrued. The anti-political critique of ideology moves comfortably across the political spectrum, and today’s anti-politician can become tomorrow’s ideologue.