“It’s elites who turn against democracy, not the people.”

Talk Europe! with Jan-Werner Müller

Populations are not turning against democracy. If you look at the cases where democracies have declined or are sort of in the process of being abolished, the crucial factor has not been the people. The crucial factor has been elites.

“It’s elites who turn against democracy. And this, actually, is similar to the 20th century. Yes, fascists marched on Rome. But Mussolini didn’t march on Rome. Mussolini arrived very comfortably in a sleeping car from Milan. None of these figures, Trump, Orbán etc., could have come to power without the support of so-called establishment conservative elites.”

Jovana Trifunović in conversation with Jan-Werner Müller on why it`s wrong to call Viktor Orbán an illiberal democrat, how populists found ways to entrench their power, and why Putin’s Russia isn’t really an attractive ideological model for the Salvinis and Le Pens of Europe.


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This text and video is published under the Creative Commons License: CC BY-NC-ND 3.0. The name of the author/rights holder should be mentioned as followed. Author: Jovana Trifunović and Igor Bararon / tippingpoint.net. Cover picture: llustration: Norma Nardi

Talk Europe!

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