Postmodern ideas have gained the status of absolute truths. Relativism, selectively appropriated into the language of both left and right politics, has metamorphosed into dogma. As oversimplification distorts communication, public trust in scientific fact has eroded. Could renewed ideas of objectivity be a way out?
is the director of Political Capital Institute, a think-tank based in Budapest, Hungary. He is a Europe’s Futures Fellow at the Institue for Human Sciences (IWM).
He is also an assistant professor at ELTE University, and a co-chair of the EU Radicalisation Awareness Network Prevention working group.
Distrust in authority is the fundamental reason for low vaccination rates across eastern Europe. But we shouldn’t think of anti-science as the expression of mere ignorance, nor primarily as a grass-roots movement.
Mutations of science in the pandemic
The structure of pseudoscientific revolutions
Scientific pundits fear that the spread of anti-science will destroy western civilization, while covid-sceptics panic about a lurking dictatorship in which freedoms are sacrificed to healthcare measures. Where is the truth? And how is the ongoing public health crisis changing our relationship with science?
From anti-vaxxers to terrorists, people often look for hidden causes which match the magnitude of the collapse they are facing. Uncertainty and public distrust are fertile ground for conspiracy theories. When used to legitimize violence, however, such narratives are more a strategy than psychopathology.
COVID-19 in the disinformation ecosystem
From genocidal accusations to alleged cures, the coronavirus pandemic is accompanied by a swathe of conspiracy theories. These are perpetrated not only by clickbait websites but also authoritarian regimes who exploit the scare for political purposes and try to shift the blame from their failing responses. An international survey and a detailed case study.
The miracle that never materialized
Finland, Hungary and Bulgaria after the EP elections
Peak populism could be said to characterize the political dynamic in all three countries, as Finns express the greatest dissatisfaction with the Right. But changes may well be on the horizon in Hungary and Bulgaria too, as the limits to euroscepticism become increasingly clear.
Disinformation in the EP election
Although the Kremlin did try to interfere in European politics, focusing on Russia is misleading. Since some governments in the European Union are more interested in spreading fake news than stopping it, tackling disinformation cannot rely on them, Péter Krekó writes.
The fear of being torn apart
Hungary, Estonia and Belgium before the EP elections
The products of Hungary’s post-truth laboratory are being received with increasing scepticism, while in Estonia the European elections will be a test of nerve following March’s general election. In Belgium, at least, things are just about holding together.
Don't ignore the Left!
Connections between Europe's radical Left and Russia
It’s not just Europe’s far right parties; the radical Left too has both personal and political connections to the Kremlin, write Péter Krekó and Lóránt Gyori. Moreover, the old “comrade networks” of Soviet times remain active.