Hungarian democracy dies with thunderous applause

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Hungarian democracy dies with thunderous applause

Post by Surlethe » 2020-03-30 05:48pm

Maybe the headline is a little dramatic. TL;DR: Hungary's legislature has granted Orban emergency powers to fight the new coronavirus, including imposing up to five years of jail time on "fake or misleading news." These powers will not automatically expire after a period of time.
Reuters wrote:BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary’s parliament granted nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban the right to rule by decree on Monday to fight the coronavirus, ignoring calls by opponents and rights groups to put a timeframe on the extra powers.

President Janos Ader, an Orban ally, signed the legislation extending a state of emergency after it was approved by parliament, dominated by Orban’s Fidesz party. Ader said it was in line with international treaties and Hungary’s constitution.

The law has triggered criticism from opposition parties, rights groups and the Council of Europe, Europe’s main rights forum, because it does not set a specific limit on the time the additional powers will be in force.

It also imposes jail terms of up to five years on those hindering measures to curb the spread of the virus or spreading false information that could upset people or hinder the fight against the virus.

Rights groups said this might be used to muzzle journalists as remaining independent media are forced to cut staff and budgets while media loyal to the government continue to receive taxpayers’ money.

Since he took power in 2010, Orban has built media he can control, using legal levers, ownership changes and advertising money for more loyal media coverage. The economic impact of the coronavirus could accelerate the shake-up of the media, journalists say.

The government has rejected the criticism, saying the law empowers it to adopt only measures needed to fight the virus, and that parliament can revoke the special powers.

“This is an authorization limited both in time and scope ... as it is solely related to the coronavirus, and you are crying a dictatorship,” state secretary Bence Retvari told opposition parties before the vote.

Justice Minister Judit Varga said it was “very damaging fake news” that the law is intended to neutralize the national assembly.

Orban, who has gradually increased his power in a decade in office, has often been in conflict with the European Union and rights organizations over his perceived erosion of democratic checks and balances and the rule of law.

Opposition lawmakers said they back the government’s overall fight against the coronavirus but wanted a time limit placed on the government’s special powers, which parliament can extend if necessary. Parliament rejected all opposition amendments.

President Ader said the government’s special authorization would end once the epidemic is over and was limited to dealing with the epidemic and its fallout.

“The controlling role of Parliament and the government’s duty to report will remain in place during the epidemic,” Ader said. Hungary has reported 447 coronavirus cases and 15 deaths.

INDEPENDENT MEDIA AT RISK
Some media companies, facing severe short-term liquidity problems, have already scrapped plans for 2020.

Central Media, one of Hungary’s largest media groups, has put journalists on reduced hours and cut salaries by up to a quarter, several sources told Reuters.

Pesti Hirlap, a tabloid, has told staff it will cut jobs and switched to online-only mode. Executives at HVG, a weekly that also runs a popular web site, warned staff of budget cuts, according to several sources.

“Press freedom could fall victim to the coronavirus,” Miklos Hargitai, chair of the Hungarian Journalists Association (MUOSZ), told Reuters.

State media have an annual budget of around 90 billion forints ($280 million). The public media budget is not affected by the crisis this year, a government spokesman said.

Loyal outlets receive state advertisements regardless of their audience size, data shows.

“The coronavirus epidemic will have a devastating effect on Hungarian independent media,” said Agnes Urban, director of the Mertek Media Monitor think tank. “This can become critical for independent outlets within 2-3 months as most lack a rich owner.”
Source

How to fight this soft-authoritarian annexation of media freedom, while remaining democratic, without setting up systems that can be co-opted by soft authoritarians when they are inevitably elected for some period of time?
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Re: Hungarian democracy dies with thunderous applause

Post by ray245 » 2020-03-30 06:07pm

You make sure there's constitutional safeguards for the next pandemics. Make sure those powers are specifically tied to the duration of pandemics.

Or you have a system where public health authorities take over from politicians in the management of a pandemic.

Basically, your laws needs to account for what to do in the event of a pandemic. If your laws didn't take in account of that, you need to create such laws ASAP.
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Re: Hungarian democracy dies with thunderous applause

Post by LaCroix » 2020-03-30 06:27pm

Yeah, this sucks... Me and my Hungarian friends are adopting a wait and see stance, for now. HE did need two attempts to pass this law, the first try was soundly defeated, even with a lot of votes by his Party (the current majority).So there is a base reluctance in Parliament to let him have this.

This implies that there is a good bit of oversight in place.

Not much else to do right now.
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Re: Hungarian democracy dies with thunderous applause

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2020-03-30 10:14pm

Surlethe wrote:
2020-03-30 05:48pm
How to fight this soft-authoritarian annexation of media freedom, while remaining democratic, without setting up systems that can be co-opted by soft authoritarians when they are inevitably elected for some period of time?
Orban has been steadily chipping away at the democratic institutions of Hungary for ten years now. While it's true that authoritarian regimes have a well-established history of using emergency situations as a pretense for consolidating power, focusing on these instances to come up with a strategy to "fight this soft-authoritarian annexation" etc. is not necessarily going to be all that helpful. It's more important to look at the trends that have allowed Orban to be so successful at his goal up to this point; what we are looking at now is just opportunism.

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Re: Hungarian democracy dies with thunderous applause

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2020-03-31 12:07am

So he basically declared himself dictator with legislative approval.

Yes, I'm sure he'll give up those powers willingly once the crisis is over, and not use them to jail anyone who demands that he do so.
ray245 wrote:
2020-03-30 06:07pm
You make sure there's constitutional safeguards for the next pandemics. Make sure those powers are specifically tied to the duration of pandemics.

Or you have a system where public health authorities take over from politicians in the management of a pandemic.

Basically, your laws needs to account for what to do in the event of a pandemic. If your laws didn't take in account of that, you need to create such laws ASAP.
Every country should do this, but unfortunately its far too late to do so for this pandemic, and many nations will be far more authoritarian once this is over, in all likelihood. Its likely that more than country will have to start basically from scratch, deposing autocratic regimes at great cost in lives, before new constitutional guidelines can be written.
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Re: Hungarian democracy dies with thunderous applause

Post by ray245 » 2020-03-31 03:38am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2020-03-31 12:07am
So he basically declared himself dictator with legislative approval.

Yes, I'm sure he'll give up those powers willingly once the crisis is over, and not use them to jail anyone who demands that he do so.
ray245 wrote:
2020-03-30 06:07pm
You make sure there's constitutional safeguards for the next pandemics. Make sure those powers are specifically tied to the duration of pandemics.

Or you have a system where public health authorities take over from politicians in the management of a pandemic.

Basically, your laws needs to account for what to do in the event of a pandemic. If your laws didn't take in account of that, you need to create such laws ASAP.
Every country should do this, but unfortunately its far too late to do so for this pandemic, and many nations will be far more authoritarian once this is over, in all likelihood. Its likely that more than country will have to start basically from scratch, deposing autocratic regimes at great cost in lives, before new constitutional guidelines can be written.
It's not too late for most democratic country. Once this is over, one of the first thing they need to do is to prepare for the next possible pandemic. Complacency in democracy is a massive risk.
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Re: Hungarian democracy dies with thunderous applause

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2020-03-31 03:44am

ray245 wrote:
2020-03-31 03:38am
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2020-03-31 12:07am
So he basically declared himself dictator with legislative approval.

Yes, I'm sure he'll give up those powers willingly once the crisis is over, and not use them to jail anyone who demands that he do so.
ray245 wrote:
2020-03-30 06:07pm
You make sure there's constitutional safeguards for the next pandemics. Make sure those powers are specifically tied to the duration of pandemics.

Or you have a system where public health authorities take over from politicians in the management of a pandemic.

Basically, your laws needs to account for what to do in the event of a pandemic. If your laws didn't take in account of that, you need to create such laws ASAP.
Every country should do this, but unfortunately its far too late to do so for this pandemic, and many nations will be far more authoritarian once this is over, in all likelihood. Its likely that more than country will have to start basically from scratch, deposing autocratic regimes at great cost in lives, before new constitutional guidelines can be written.
It's not too late for most democratic country. Once this is over, one of the first thing they need to do is to prepare for the next possible pandemic. Complacency in democracy is a massive risk.
Indeed. And I think that's what we saw at the start of the millennium, and to some extent still. Complacency. The belief that the end of the Cold War was "the end of History", and that the established order could never fail, unlike every other period in history. And, with Trump and others like him, the belief that it could never get that bad, it could never happen here. Even still, you get people laughing over the idea that Trump could become a dictator, despite all the historical and contemporary evidence to the contrary. Its infuriating.
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Re: Hungarian democracy dies with thunderous applause

Post by ray245 » 2020-03-31 03:51am

Well the whole thing could have been avoided in the first place if western democracies were willing to trade small infringement on civil liberties to contain the outbreak in the first place. If aggressive contact tracing is done via a variety of methods, you won't be in such a boat of having to sacrifice even more civil liberties in the long run.

Being stubborn and dogmatic about civil rights tends to backfire in the long run.
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Re: Hungarian democracy dies with thunderous applause

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2020-03-31 03:55am

ray245 wrote:
2020-03-31 03:51am
Well the whole thing could have been avoided in the first place if western democracies were willing to trade small infringement on civil liberties to contain the outbreak in the first place. If aggressive contact tracing is done via a variety of methods, you won't be in such a boat of having to sacrifice even more civil liberties in the long run.

Being stubborn and dogmatic about civil rights tends to backfire in the long run.
While a crisis may require us to temporarily enact restrictions we otherwise would not (obviously), "Temporary" reductions of civil liberties in a crisis often have a way of becoming permanent.

You can call it dogamatism, but there are reasons to take those steps only very reluctantly and carefully. And it seems odd, to say the least, that your response to an authoritarian take over is essentially "Well it could have been avoided if democracy gave up its freedoms and rights more willingly to begin with".
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver

"The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."-General Von Clauswitz, describing my opinion of Bernie or Busters and third partiers in a nutshell.

I SUPPORT A NATIONAL GENERAL STRIKE TO REMOVE TRUMP FROM OFFICE.

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Re: Hungarian democracy dies with thunderous applause

Post by ray245 » 2020-03-31 04:07am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2020-03-31 03:55am
While a crisis may require us to temporarily enact restrictions we otherwise would not (obviously), "Temporary" reductions of civil liberties in a crisis often have a way of becoming permanent.

You can call it dogamatism, but there are reasons to take those steps only very reluctantly and carefully. And it seems odd, to say the least, that your response to an authoritarian take over is essentially "Well it could have been avoided if democracy gave up its freedoms and rights more willingly to begin with".
And how has that attitude worked well for the west? In Korea and Taiwan, they have things under control and they could end the civil rights infringement once the pandemic is over. In the West, you guys have a lot more issues to deal with in the aftermath of it all.
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Re: Hungarian democracy dies with thunderous applause

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2020-03-31 04:33am

ray245 wrote:
2020-03-31 04:07am
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2020-03-31 03:55am
While a crisis may require us to temporarily enact restrictions we otherwise would not (obviously), "Temporary" reductions of civil liberties in a crisis often have a way of becoming permanent.

You can call it dogamatism, but there are reasons to take those steps only very reluctantly and carefully. And it seems odd, to say the least, that your response to an authoritarian take over is essentially "Well it could have been avoided if democracy gave up its freedoms and rights more willingly to begin with".
And how has that attitude worked well for the west? In Korea and Taiwan, they have things under control and they could end the civil rights infringement once the pandemic is over. In the West, you guys have a lot more issues to deal with in the aftermath of it all.
I don't think this is a clear-cut case of "the West" or "the East" doing it better, or of democracies or non-democracies doing it better for that matter, and anyone who says it is is has an ulterior motive that they're hiding badly.

Korea and Taiwan appear to have done an exemplary job, among others. China's response leaves more to be desired, and Iran's is fucking awful. Meanwhile, Germany has a low death rate and Canada has mostly done okay (inadequate aid for indigenous communities and awful/illegal refugee ban aside), but Spain is a total catastrophe, Italy seems even worse, and the American and British responses can best be described as sociopathic, with America's in particular (at least at the Federal level, and in some red states), veering wildly between despotic and indifferent from day to day.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver

"The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."-General Von Clauswitz, describing my opinion of Bernie or Busters and third partiers in a nutshell.

I SUPPORT A NATIONAL GENERAL STRIKE TO REMOVE TRUMP FROM OFFICE.

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Re: Hungarian democracy dies with thunderous applause

Post by ray245 » 2020-03-31 04:41am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2020-03-31 04:33am
I don't think this is a clear-cut case of "the West" or "the East" doing it better, or of democracies or non-democracies doing it better for that matter, and anyone who says it is is has an ulterior motive that they're hiding badly.

Korea and Taiwan appear to have done an exemplary job, among others. China's response leaves more to be desired, and Iran's is fucking awful. Meanwhile, Germany has a low death rate and Canada has mostly done okay, but Spain is a total catastrophe, Italy seems even worse, and the American and British responses can best be described as sociopathic, with America's in particular (at least at the Federal level, and in some red states), veering wildly between despotic and indifferent from day to day.
It's not as clear cut, but generally the Asian countries tend to have strategies in place for combating a pandemic, Korea created laws that specifically allows government to suspend civil liberties for a pandemic ( phone-tracking).

Virus spread because humans are doing what humans usually do. Our civil liberties and rights are our greatest weakness in a pandemic, because virus thrive on human connections and movement to spread and kill. You can only contain an outbreak by aggressive testing and contact-tracing. No other solution has shown to be effective in containing an outbreak. If you are half-hearted in any containment, the virus will spread rapidly.

Every solution in fighting off the spread of the virus have involved infringement on civil liberties. Lockdowns is an infringement on civil liberties. Contact-tracing and using people's personal data to track their movement is an infringement of civil liberties. The virus is not giving us any choice on this. And lockdowns is not the long-term solution, so you need to adopt contact-tracing anyway.

You can do such restrictions carefully, but doing it reluctantly is not going to help. You'll just be forced to enact the same measures AFTER a massive death count. There is no nice middle ground. Anyone who thinks so is being dogmatic about the whole issue.
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Re: Hungarian democracy dies with thunderous applause

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2020-03-31 04:45am

I'm not arguing against quarantines in a pandemic, or against tracing possible cases. Nor do I see any conflict between those things and core democratic rights (freedom of expression, due process, right to assembly, right to vote), provided that restrictions on freedom of movement are clearly-defined and appropriately limited in scope and duration to the immediate crisis.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver

"The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."-General Von Clauswitz, describing my opinion of Bernie or Busters and third partiers in a nutshell.

I SUPPORT A NATIONAL GENERAL STRIKE TO REMOVE TRUMP FROM OFFICE.

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Re: Hungarian democracy dies with thunderous applause

Post by madd0ct0r » 2020-03-31 04:59am

ray245 wrote:
2020-03-31 04:07am
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2020-03-31 03:55am
While a crisis may require us to temporarily enact restrictions we otherwise would not (obviously), "Temporary" reductions of civil liberties in a crisis often have a way of becoming permanent.

You can call it dogamatism, but there are reasons to take those steps only very reluctantly and carefully. And it seems odd, to say the least, that your response to an authoritarian take over is essentially "Well it could have been avoided if democracy gave up its freedoms and rights more willingly to begin with".
And how has that attitude worked well for the west? In Korea and Taiwan, they have things under control and they could end the civil rights infringement once the pandemic is over. In the West, you guys have a lot more issues to deal with in the aftermath of it all.
the difference with the actual thread topic, is that neither Korea nor Taiwan have a soft autocrat currently in the big shoes, This is not 'pandemic makes country more authoritarian' - this is 'authoritarian takes advantage of the situation, again.'.


Surlethe, LaCroix, - would you agree that with the kind of factionalised loyalty politician Orban is, the state will be growing steadily more inefficient and corrupt. This might result in enough frustration to oust him, but the overall degradation of the state institutions might take a really long time to unwind? Like you might get all of the costs and risks of authoritarians for some time.
Are there any examples of a country undergoing internal renewal against this sort of thing?
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Re: Hungarian democracy dies with thunderous applause

Post by mr friendly guy » 2020-03-31 05:20am

Didn't Orban already use the migration crisis to strengthen his power? In which case while he is using the coronavirus pandemic as a way to strengthen his power, as Ray pointed out, if the EU handled the pandemic better, it would be harder to use this crisis to strengthen himself. I am sure he would find something else later to prop himself up anyway, but on the other hand something could have happened to him by the time the next crisis comes up.
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Re: Hungarian democracy dies with thunderous applause

Post by ray245 » 2020-03-31 05:25am

madd0ct0r wrote:
2020-03-31 04:59am
the difference with the actual thread topic, is that neither Korea nor Taiwan have a soft autocrat currently in the big shoes, This is not 'pandemic makes country more authoritarian' - this is 'authoritarian takes advantage of the situation, again.'.
Yes, but you'll get that risk in any democratic system.
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Re: Hungarian democracy dies with thunderous applause

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2020-03-31 05:30am

In fact, the more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that the measures that will help most in a pandemic are mostly either neutral on the democracy to despotism spectrum, or actively advantageous to democracy. Obviously some of this will be debatable, and there may be important nuances that I'm overlooking here, but I would define "core" democratic freedoms and rights (things that a system that can reasonably be called democratic cannot function without) as follows:

1. Universal Suffrage (all adult citizens have an equal vote, citizenship is not highly restricted, or restricted along lines of gender, religion, race, nation of origin, political allegiance, etc). This is pretty self-explanatory. Its not a democracy if there is not a mechanism for the people to directly express their will in government, and to fairly and peacefully effect a transfer of power (the primary goals/functions of democracy).

2. Freedom of Belief/Expression (barring certain very limited restrictions for things like incitement of violence, intellectual property, etc). Pretty straightforward, without the right to free expression, candidates and factions cannot campaign effectively, and without information, voters cannot make informed choices (there's a reason true consent must be informed to be valid).

3. Freedom of Assembly. If people cannot assemble, political organization and protest is severely limited.

4. Due Process of Law. What exactly this constitutes could be argued over at great length, but I would say at minimum one cannot be deprived of life, liberty, or property without a reasonably speedy public (with certain exceptions) trial before a reasonably impartial judge or jury, in which both sides are informed of the charges and evidence well in advance, and in which both sides have the right to have a qualified attorney plead their case, in which testimony is not bought or coerced, and in which the accused has the right to appeal the verdict. The reason this is a core democratic right, of course, is that if the government can detain and punish people arbitrarily, then that power can be used to squash dissent. And, more broadly, because if people do not have a reasonable degree of confidence in Justice, society will begin to break down as people pursue extra-legal solutions to their problems.

I might add "Right to a Free Public Education", including core subjects such as reading, writing, and basic mathematics, as well as the scientific method and logical thinking, civics, and introductions to law and history. This would be an extension of Point 2, and for the same basic reason (one cannot meaningfully exercise their freedom to choose if their choice is uninformed).

Of these, #2 should not be greatly impeded by the sort of restrictions on freedom of movement and privacy that are helpful in containing a pandemic. One could argue for restrictions on spreading "fake news" during a crisis, but those are of lesser importance and a double-edged sword (imagine Trump, for example, locking people up for saying the problem is as bad as it really is, or the Chinese government, which did try to suppress the seriousness of the problem in the early days). And public education can largely continue on-line, as we have seen. So 2 is largely good to go in a pandemic.

#1 may or may not be heavily-affected, dependent on whether there is an adequate system for voting by mail or electronically in place. However, it need not be if the proper infrastructure is in place.

#3 and #4 are the ones that are obviously infringed on by the precautions necessary to contain or limit the spread of an infectious disease, particularly #3. However, some things can switch to online (for example, I believe the Democrats should be planning for an online convention). And the danger to democracy can be averted if there are clear guidelines in place limiting when such restrictions can be enacted, and how long they can be in place.

Beyond these core democratic rights and freedoms, I would also argue that a degree of economic security is necessary to preserve a stable democracy, as people will have more difficulty being politically informed and active, and can be more easily manipulated or coerced, if they are struggling to survive (in a worst case scenario, democracy breaks down and revolution occurs if the peoples' basic needs are not being met). So I would add the following as things that are, if not necessary, at least highly desirable in a democracy:

1. Universal Basic Income. Or at least assurance that everyone will be adequately fed.

2. Universal Public Health Care.

3. Guaranteed Housing.

Together, these three ensure a basic degree of economic security, and that the basic physical needs of all people will be met. They are also all things that are not only possible, but absolutely vital in a pandemic. UBI because we don't want people going out to work at non-essential jobs, or adding to the health care burden by starving at home or starting food riots. Guaranteed Housing because homeless people can't shelter in place. And Universal Public Health Care should be pretty self-evident.

So that's three policies highly desirable in a pandemic which are not only compatible with, but actively beneficial to, democracy.
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Re: Hungarian democracy dies with thunderous applause

Post by ray245 » 2020-03-31 05:58am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2020-03-31 05:30am
In fact, the more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that the measures that will help most in a pandemic are mostly either neutral on the democracy to despotism spectrum, or actively advantageous to democracy. Obviously some of this will be debatable, and there may be important nuances that I'm overlooking here, but I would define "core" democratic freedoms and rights (things that a system that can reasonably be called democratic cannot function without) as follows:
The thing that helps the most in a pandemic is your containment policies. Everything else is secondary.
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Re: Hungarian democracy dies with thunderous applause

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2020-03-31 05:59am

ray245 wrote:
2020-03-31 05:58am
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2020-03-31 05:30am
In fact, the more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that the measures that will help most in a pandemic are mostly either neutral on the democracy to despotism spectrum, or actively advantageous to democracy. Obviously some of this will be debatable, and there may be important nuances that I'm overlooking here, but I would define "core" democratic freedoms and rights (things that a system that can reasonably be called democratic cannot function without) as follows:
The thing that helps the most in a pandemic is your containment policies. Everything else is secondary.
I'd argue that UBI and guaranteed housing should count as "containment policies" because they make it far more viable for people to stay in their homes for a long period of time.
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Re: Hungarian democracy dies with thunderous applause

Post by ray245 » 2020-03-31 06:09am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2020-03-31 05:59am
I'd argue that UBI and guaranteed housing should count as "containment policies" because they make it far more viable for people to stay in their homes for a long period of time.
You're still making a mistake of misunderstanding what containment really is. Lockdown isn't containment as much as it is mitigation. Containment is to keep cases low by contact-tracing and isolation of suspected cases.

The point is to avoid a lockdown in the first place, like in Korea, Taiwan and Singapore.
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Re: Hungarian democracy dies with thunderous applause

Post by LaCroix » 2020-03-31 06:41am

Orban is losing power gradually - he started out with 2/3rds majority, and is now just at 50%+.

A lot of things he has done has gradually eroded his support, and only the fact that his latest contender sponenously self destructed himself by doing crazy stuff he did hold on to the majority. Even now, this was the second attempt for these powers, the first time he was soundly rebuffed. Which would have been unthinkable four years ago.

People were praising him ever since he took power because the social democrats before him were that corrupt. By now, everyone knows that he is just as bad. There are still hardcore fans, but the moderate population is swinging away.
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Re: Hungarian democracy dies with thunderous applause

Post by Coop D'etat » 2020-03-31 01:15pm

ray245 wrote:
2020-03-31 04:07am
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2020-03-31 03:55am
While a crisis may require us to temporarily enact restrictions we otherwise would not (obviously), "Temporary" reductions of civil liberties in a crisis often have a way of becoming permanent.

You can call it dogamatism, but there are reasons to take those steps only very reluctantly and carefully. And it seems odd, to say the least, that your response to an authoritarian take over is essentially "Well it could have been avoided if democracy gave up its freedoms and rights more willingly to begin with".
And how has that attitude worked well for the west? In Korea and Taiwan, they have things under control and they could end the civil rights infringement once the pandemic is over. In the West, you guys have a lot more issues to deal with in the aftermath of it all.
The ability to infringe some degree of civil liberty in response to a legitimate crisis isn't a significant weakness of Western style democracies. Traditional quarantine powers tend to still exist and can be dusted off and used and legislatures usually can respond by granting government appropriate powers as needed with a reasonable amount of speed.

The weakness of the public health response is lack of institutional capacity to use existing powers or expand them as necessary as the lack of need to do something like this for generations has left that aspect of the state underdeveloped. I'd posit fairly strongly that the real difference between the East Asian democracies and the Western ones in the COVID-19 crisis isn't so much cultural or legal like is frequently suggested, but that the East Asian states have previous institutional experience with this kind of outbreaks to lean on rather than trying to make it up on the fly.

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Re: Hungarian democracy dies with thunderous applause

Post by ray245 » 2020-03-31 02:47pm

Coop D'etat wrote:
2020-03-31 01:15pm
The ability to infringe some degree of civil liberty in response to a legitimate crisis isn't a significant weakness of Western style democracies. Traditional quarantine powers tend to still exist and can be dusted off and used and legislatures usually can respond by granting government appropriate powers as needed with a reasonable amount of speed.

The weakness of the public health response is lack of institutional capacity to use existing powers or expand them as necessary as the lack of need to do something like this for generations has left that aspect of the state underdeveloped. I'd posit fairly strongly that the real difference between the East Asian democracies and the Western ones in the COVID-19 crisis isn't so much cultural or legal like is frequently suggested, but that the East Asian states have previous institutional experience with this kind of outbreaks to lean on rather than trying to make it up on the fly.
I agree. Having the experience of facing an epidemic certainly helps. But the culture of framing the success or failure of containment measures as merely an issue of liberal western democracies being able to do things better than authoritarian China did not help in this outbreak.
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Re: Hungarian democracy dies with thunderous applause

Post by Surlethe » 2020-03-31 03:34pm

Ziggy Stardust wrote:
2020-03-30 10:14pm
Surlethe wrote:
2020-03-30 05:48pm
How to fight this soft-authoritarian annexation of media freedom, while remaining democratic, without setting up systems that can be co-opted by soft authoritarians when they are inevitably elected for some period of time?
Orban has been steadily chipping away at the democratic institutions of Hungary for ten years now. While it's true that authoritarian regimes have a well-established history of using emergency situations as a pretense for consolidating power, focusing on these instances to come up with a strategy to "fight this soft-authoritarian annexation" etc. is not necessarily going to be all that helpful. It's more important to look at the trends that have allowed Orban to be so successful at his goal up to this point; what we are looking at now is just opportunism.
Correct. My question is general, not focused on this seizure of emergency power. How do you design a system to prevent people like Orban from chipping away at democracy without creating more tools for them to use?
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Re: Hungarian democracy dies with thunderous applause

Post by ray245 » 2020-03-31 04:02pm

Surlethe wrote:
2020-03-31 03:34pm
Correct. My question is general, not focused on this seizure of emergency power. How do you design a system to prevent people like Orban from chipping away at democracy without creating more tools for them to use?
By having clearly defined emergency powers in a variety of situation that requires heavy government response. Democracy needs to develop more specific tools for specific situations.
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