Tomorrow and Friday, the CEU Department of Political Science, the CMCS, and the CEU Department of Philosophy are presenting the conference:
Democracy and Legitimacy: Dealing with Extremism
Location: Central European University, Budapest, Nador u. 11, TIGy Room
Time: Thursday 22 July, 09:30 - Friday 23 July, 19:00
CEU organizers: Zoltan Miklosi, Andres Moles, Peter Molnar
Twenty years after the fall of Communism we are witnessing a significant rise in support for right-wing political parties across Europe. In the last European elections the vote shifted dramatically to the right. Extreme-right political parties have fared well recently in the UK, Bulgaria, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands and Hungary. All of these countries currently have representatives from far-right parties in the European Parliament. Many analysts suggest that people are turning to extremist groups as a reaction to (what they perceive as) shortcomings of democratic regimes.
In the face of these developments, several questions arise: what resources do democracies have to resist far-right parties? And, more generally, how should liberal democracy respond to illiberal groups? In many cases, these groups challenge the limits of free speech, making it necessary to reflect once again on whether and to what extent “hate speech” should be protected. On a related note, some governments have reacted to extremist groups by restricting the scope of free association or by interfering with the entry policies of some groups. Are there any limits to private association?
Meanwhile, the rise of the extreme right, together with heightened discrimination and segregation of disadvantaged minority groups, have given rise to another set of related questions about what role governments should play in protecting and assisting groups that might not be able to protect themselves or respond to prejudices against them. Is it permissible to restrict privacy rights by registering ethnic data in order to help fight against discrimination? Is it permissible to use such data for the purpose of reverse discrimination?
The conference has two central missions: on the one hand we aim to discuss how the recent ‘turn to the right’ might affect liberal democracy and what can be done about it. On the other hand, we plan to do this by bringing together experts in both political theory, legal studies, public and social policy. We believe that cross-fertilisation is beneficial for all camps of enquiry. Therefore, we invite contributions both from a theoretical and a practical perspective.
The program of the conference encompasses keynote speeches by Tom Christiano, University of Arizona, and Anthony Appiah, Princeton University. Panelists and commenters include a range of academics from Europe and the United States as well as representatives from international NGOs and speakers such as Willem Korthals Altes, District Court of Amsterdam; Janne Teller, writer; and Gyorgy Konrad, former President of PEN.