Michael Zürn: Authoritarian Populism vs Open Society – A New Line of Conflict?

Michael Zürn: Authoritarian Populism vs Open Society – A New Line of Conflict?



good evening all together and first of all thank you for this really very nice introduction thank you very much to your professor Chris of each thank you very much dear professor image thank you very much to the Pearl Foundation to Harold's they have Ultraman in how elaborate it's it's a pleasure to be here and it's a pleasure to have this possibility to engage with you about a theme which is becoming more and more important which is at first sight very little to do with international politics that maybe as I will argue later there are some connections the theme is as you can see here I'm talking about the political origins of something that could be labeled operate Aryan populism in Europe in the consolidated democracies of the Western world and also at the margins of those consolidated democracies it is essentially about the fact that we have by now in almost all of the old after world war two consolidated Western democracies in Europe and in North America that we have in almost all of those countries right-wing populist party which is around 20-25 percent and that's a sort of a very broad development a broad development that makes it likely that we have to look if we ask for the causes for the origins outside of the specific countries we all tend to explain the rise of those parties by looking into a country and if you talk in Germany about the IFT then people say well it's the fault of the Chancellor of Oh Mary because she opened the borders and stuff like that but at the same time there were already many other of those riping populist in many other countries so there seems to be a sort of a general if you may a sort of a structural development for the rise of right in populist parties and at the same time in addition to that we have in countries like Poland like Hungary like Turkey now also in the United States even a government that is more or less controlled by a populist party and the leaders of the populist party as it is obviously the case in in the u.s. so I'm I'm asking why did this happen that we have essentially the rise of something that may be labeled operator in populism now almost three decades after the 1990s when liberal cosmopolitanism was considered by many as the most successful thing that has dominated that has won the sort of ideological competition and that has I mean to some extent also delivered in the last three decades in the sense that we have a growing human growing inequality on the global level that we have a rise in human development index in the last two decades much sharper than ever before in history and nevertheless we see now a very strong counter movement with the rise of those or for Italian populist in many parts of the world I want to offer you essentially three explanations in this short lecture which can be seen to some extent as competing with each other part can be also seen to some extent this as being complementary but before that I'm saying a little bit why I chose why I chose the term authoritarian populism for this kind of movement that I that I want to explain almost all of those offering proper lists have a common policy profile and this common policy profile can be probably described by three major issues that are common all of those movements are very critical of transferring authority to European or international institutions there's a emphasis on popular sovereignty there's an emphasis on the need to run a country by domestic majorities and to avoid interventions by foreign institutions be they European or international there's a sort of agreement that those parties are critical of open borders open borders regarding economic issues and of course also regarding the movement of people here we enter the field of the migration issues and thirdly there's a certain tendency in a certain commonality of all of those movements that I mentioned against something that has been labeled multiculturalism there's a certain emphasis on the national culture and the need essentially that the national culture has to be a dominant it's now obvious that you can have this policy profile and that you can't stand for those positions without being or for terian or without being an offer to marry in populist so I mean these are three political positions and there is no question that there's nothing I'm democratic to vote for party that stands for those three positions but then on the other hand if you look to the way of Rotarian populist present this policy profile and present their political positions there are three additional commonalities and those three additional commonalities are essentially the reason why I label them here now offer a terian populist s' all those parties and again I'm talking about the writing populist parties in Western Europe and North America and I'm talking about of some of the operate Aryan populist leaders in Eastern Europe or in countries like Turkey all of those parties essentially have anti liberal or as or one would put it in / all position in the sense that in case of conflict they say the majority the will of the majority of the people is more important than individual rights the whole business with individual rights is by now overdrawn it's important that there it is the majority will be trunks the the country a second element is that there is a sense of n-type ruralism in 12 because there's always an emphasis on a notion of maturity which is as I would say very much deep procedure alized of course if we talk about democracies majorities are important there's no question about that but then again majority is not something that is given and that is the mere aggregation of individual interests it involves certain processes in order to find out what the will of the majority is and that is open public debates that is tolerance towards other positions that is the willingness to listen to people who are not part of the winning coalition in that sense the notion of majority is very much a procedural notion many of the authoritarian populist or often those offering populist present a sort of an intrapreneur list understanding of majority by essentially saying well we know what the majority is and we fight now for this will of the majority I would say famous is the Austrian leader of the right-wing populist party who had on his election posters this and he knows what we want and that is a sort of an illustration of this depersonalized notion of the majority the leader knows what we want and therefore there's a no need to find out what the majority in there wants so that's the n-type rulest moment in the third moment I want to emphasize this probably because I'm a global governance and I'm an IR person with traditions to Richard Fork the doctor further professors image it is anti multilateral to an extent that it becomes democratically not defensible if democracy involves the notion that all those who are affected by a political decision should have a say in this political decision some forms of anti internationalism and entire multiculturalism become highly problematic I take now a sort of a of an extreme and maybe sort of rhetorically example but but consider for a moment you would be an a citizen of a Pacific island you would live on a Pacific island and then you would hear that the American president has decided I don't care about climate change and I don't care if some of those islands in the Pacific will not be there anymore in five or six years would you consider this decision by the American president which has an effect on your life on your on the destiny of your life as Democratic know you would probably argue hey that's something where I also have a right to say something and therefore an extreme form of anti internationalism of anti multiculturalism the form which essentially neglects that some of our decisions have externalities for others that is also something that I would describe as part of the of the offer Italian populist thinking and therefore this policy profile that are described in the beginning which can be associated with a Democratic Party becomes sort of authoritarian when it comes in the form of a party program which is entirely and I plural and anti multilateral and therefore the term operate Aryan populism is used here in order to explain this rise of this movement that I label offer it Aryan populist s' there's of course a final element of offer Italian populist s' and that is that they very often tend to text oppose a sort of a liberal cosmopolitan elite which is small rich in benefiting from open borders with the pure people which are living in the country in that sense there's a certain tendency to say well there's a majority of the people and there's this little caste of a liberal elite and which acts to post those two parts and people who are on the side of the real people of the pure people living in a country they should take the site of the populist s– the problem of this sort of entire elitism is to some extent that it creates a sort of a notion of a little group which runs the country but the debates that we have about those three issues that I mentioned in the beginning about open borders about the question whether we want to transfer authority to the EU or not and similar things these issues are very much issues where we see in many societies essentially just two sides two parts and many who are not part of the elite also take a liberal cosmopolitan stand in our for open borders are for the transfer of the political authority to the European Union or in a national institution so we are not talking about trucks the position between a small elite and the pure people we are talking about a divide between two groups in modern societies and therefore it is it is sort of a at least with a German background it reminds you some to some extent to the way some of those elites were described 100 years ago so this is the reason why I call those guys this movement operate Aryan populist I would say if you look to the literature if you consider the debates they are essentially three or two dominant explanations and I want to add the third one to those two dominant explanations the dominant explanation one is more or less an economic explanation it says essentially well there has been globalization globalization has produced winners and losers and those who are on the losing side have now enough of these policies that created globalization and therefore they organize in parties which challenge the globalization and these are by now they offer a chariot proper lists so in this sense it's very often the growing material inequality within the nation-states in spite of the fact that inequality on the global level has decreased in many societies within the societies equality has increased and it is this increase within the societies which is used as an as the reason in the economic account for the rise of those authoritarian populist and clearly there are some developments that support this explanation most famously probably the Rust Belt voters for Donald Trump in the US also the voters in northern England for the Praxis there we had clearly the surprise that some of those world voters who formerly voted for the Democrats actually voted for Trump and those who formally voted or traditionally voted for the Labour Party voted for four practices so I mean here we have some indication for this economic explanation of the rise of authoritarian populism I would argue however that this explanation has some serious problems I mean it cannot explain all what we see and I would put forward three reasons the first reason is it still remains to some extent hard to understand why those people who are losers of globalization and ask essentially the nation-state to protect them in by building up the welfare system that those groups go for right-wing populist that those groups go for or for Italian catalysts the social benefit promises are much more clearer on the side of the leftist parties so if you are really interested in economic protection and in the building up of a social welfare state it does not sound very plausible then all over the world not only in one or two countries but all over the world it is the ripen populace to win and it's not the leftist parties so that's something which I would consider as a puzzle if I go for the economic explanation I also would say it is to some extent a puzzle that in societies like Poland and Turkey and these are relatively clear cases where one can easily argue that globalization has produced a rise of wealth that is unknown in the history of those two countries so two countries which on the country level site have to be considered as winners of globalization both Poland is a winner of European is nation with an enormous rise in the economy in the last 20 years with an enormous rise of wealth in Poland even more clearly the case in Turkey with enormous growth rates in the last 15 or 20 years and especially in those countries we see the victory of operator and populist s– like Krasnodar ski in Aragon and I would say this is a puzzle to some extent as well if you want to explain the rise power for Italian populist by looking at globalization loses its to some explain surprising that the offeror and proper lists are strongest in countries which have gained most from globalization a third reason why I to consider this economic explanation is only partially convincing is that we have those 20 to 25 percent of operator and populist s' in almost all of the Western democracies as I mentioned quite independent of the amount of inequality in those societies so you have those 20 to 25 percent in Scandinavian countries where you have some rise of inequality true but a completely different level of inequality than in the United States or in in credit so in the in the liberal societies like the Great Britain and the u.s. you have the same amount of operation populace then in the Scandinavian countries with a very strong welfare state and that speaks also to some extent against this inequality explanation therefore and that's the second dominant explanation therefore many put forward a sort of a cultural explanation in according to the cultural explanation it is writing populist newest mainly a sort of a cultural back against sort of a liberalism going bananas of a liberalism that just went too far and I mean especially if you go to some of the cities in Western Europe it may be easily understandable what I mean when I say liberalism going bananas there is of course a sort of of really stratification in the society based on cultural attitudes it's the Pierre Bourdieu notion of the fine difference that you have to behave that you have to to live in a certain way in order to be considered as chic otherwise you are out otherwise you are considered as not really valuable and that means you have to live in the city that means you have to at least know some people with different sexual sexual orientation you have to like certain music and if you don't do this then you are considered as well sort of pouring second class in that sense what has started as a movement in the name of pluralism in the name of tolerance please be tolerant to homosexuals please be tolerant to other tastes of music listen also to world music and not only to the local music has changed over time and it had became and it has became a marker of social stratification that if you like world music you are in if you like local music you are out if you if you live in a sort of an environment where different sexual orientations are often the case then you are in if you live in the traditional small family outside of the city you are out in this sort of of strong form of of cultural development as according to this explanation produced a significant amount of backlash and to some extent well I would say the strongest support for this kind of explanation which is put forward by some very famous political scientists people nor is Ronald Englehart they make essentially the cultural backlash explanation and there are some good reasons to say this is important if you look with me for a moment again to the US into the election of Donald Trump and you just look at the 10 biggest cities in the United States in the 10 biggest cities Hillary Clinton won more than 80% of the world in many of the world areas Donald Trump won more than 90 percent of the world this is a sort of a offer of a conflict line of a cleavage that is extremely strong much stronger than we know from the age of strong opposition of the class parties where in Germany in in some of the labour cities who had maybe 65 or 68 percent for the Social Democrats and in the most conservative parts of Bavaria you had maybe 60 or 65 percent for the Conservative Party but never a T vs 90 percent and that shows that this divide between the city people and the rural see a people is very very very important and therefore the backlash explanation has some plausibility but then again can this explain everything why do we have this for example strong internationalism why are those people at the same time against the EU in spite of the fact that the EU is not famous for feminism and LBGT rights or something like this so in that sense there is something else in it that goes beyond the cultural explanation and that leads me to the political explanation that I just want to present to you and I want to show some data in favor of this political explanation and then I hope you can enter in a in a discussion the political explanation is one that does consider this yeah let me call it cleavage between liberal Cosmopolitan's and more or less communitarian nationalists oriented people as almost a side effect of the way the classically which was handled from the 1960 on and a side effect that was then accentuated by clapping taxation the basic idea is that essentially after World War two we saw in all of the Western democracies a sort of a peak historical compromise and the big historical compromise can be easily described as one in which capital cut open borders for all the economic activities and the left essentially cut the rise of the welfare state so this deal this big historical deal between that they're involved open borders and the rise of the welfare state which was also implemented to some extent in the international institutions that were developed after World War two this essentially created new political systems and made a type of party very strong that emerged in the nineteen sixty and what will kill hammer called it catch-all parties and German we call it for its part I mean the sort of party which tries to convince all the people and to get really a majority of 40 or 50 percent of the votes so those people's parties those catch-all parties which essentially to bring together very different interests into one party that was then of course the Social Democratic Party in the conservative parties they established a completely new political style in all of the Western democracies at the same time and this political style involved a lot of moderation a professionalism on the side of politics a growing distance between the people sitting in the parliament and running the country in the government and the voters so a sort of an alleviation of the of the political elite from the voters it also brought a necessity to find compromises which then of course are different from the promises during the election campaigns and that essentially led to a situation in which already Robert are he's a very famous political American political scientist our code already in the 1960s that this change in the political mode toward thovex moderation towards professional parties towards a growing distance between the party elites and the voters leads to a to a system which will be considered by the people as much to distance as prioritized as to pragmatic and in a sense as ranked by experts that was already dal in 1963 making essentially this prediction that those kind of parties which are trying to win the vote of everyone which are always willing to make compromises which are always build coalitions in order to bring in many people that those parties have to made so many compromises that they will lose the trust of the voters that already in 1963 and if you look at the trust values for something that I would describe as it's wrong the non the NICHD is wrong for something that I would describe as Metro arian institutions Metro Italian institutions are those institutions in the democracy who justify their decision by saying I am speaking in the name of the majority and this is essentially parties in Parliament's these are the mature economies situations they are elected and when they do something they don't need to argue that they have very good epistemic reasons for what they do they essentially have to argue well it's the will of the majority these are the majoritarian it's effusions and those matter italian institutions are of course extremely important for a democracy but you see here that already from the 1960s on it is data available only for three countries here that is France u.s. and Sweden you see a decline in the trust of parties in Parliament's so there's a declining trust in the belief that those majoritarian institutions are really acting in the name of the people and this I mean to put it more methodologically serious is a general trend that you see around those seventeen osed countries for which world value survey data is available for over a longer period of time you see here does this microwork as well okay you see here it starts already in the 1980s that it goes down for all the seventeen countries for a very long time we really come up to this upswing in the last year's later on but that's the first step in the political explanation first the peak is toward compromise and as a result of this big historical compromise we have a permanently declining trust in two majoritarian institutions natural retiring institutions being parties and Parliament's as a result of this in the next step and also as a result of that of the political mode of compromise of motivation of finding the right solution that helps everyone we have an enormous rise of non-metro vegetarian institutions of institutions within a democratic political system which justify their decisions not on the basis of majorities which justify their decisions in the name of that it is right that it is the high epistemic quality of the decision that it is the right decision look from the perspective of an expert and you can see this within all of the Western democracies a century from the 1970s on and that's a movement that is global that you have a strengthening of central banks who essentially set the exchange rates and the inflation rate so central banks became stronger all over the world especially in Western democracies constitutional court's became much more stronger in all of the Western world and also international institutions which are also in this sense non-metro riparian institutions because they negotiate something and it's very often based on expertise it is not the result of an election campaign it is the result of professional people sitting together and deciding what is the right health policy on the global on the global level what do we need to do in order to increase global health what do we need to do in order to reduce poverty that would be the world bank so I mean that's very often an expert or Craddock policy he makes me you you all know that's of course also the claim the critical claim put forward against the EU these are all parallel credits and experts sitting in Brussels there is no democracy behind it so I mean what you see essentially as a immediate result of the decline in the trust to metro Italian institutions decline of trust in parties and is a rise in the importance in the relative political importance of non-metro Italian institutions I have now some data by now for all regulatory agencies which are also non majoritarian institutions and they essentially have essentially or have almost the same development than those international institutions that you see here so an enormous rise in the importance of those institutions however non-metro Italian institutions just remember I said courts constitutional courts I said two central banks and I said international institutions they are not neutral towards the three policies that I mentioned in the beginning because clearly Court Supreme Court's defend first of all individual rights central banks defend first of all monetary oriented economic policies keep the inflation level and of course international institutions do not defend nationalist policies but defend a transfer of political authority of more political authority towards the European and international institutions so the argument is with the strengthening of those non majoritarian institutions you essentially have a sort a body of political decision-makers which are in favor of liberal cosmopolitanism and essentially against nationalist policies and you can see this here that's based on data on five countries if you look at the claims I need to explain this here the first one very up here / – that's essentially in the middle between cosmopolitan positions and communitarian positions this is on index where you have from the one end a radical liberal cosmopolitan position and on the other end a radical communitarian position two point five would be in the middle and what you see here are essentially parties and Parliament's all the other dots here are either the courts the experts or the i/os all those are much more on the liberal cosmopolitan side so what I'm trying to say is non mature Italian institution do have a liberal cosmopolitan bias they work against those who are in favor of closed borders who are in favor for national institutions and against international institutions and are in favor of Metro t-bill against individual rights all those non Metro returning institutions take side in this debate between the Cosmopolitan's and the communitarians and that essentially means that all those people who have the policy profile like OPEC who have this sort of policy profile that they feel not anymore really represented by politics that they have the feeling that it is non maturity area in institutions that run the country that dominate the country but not represent their interests in that sense there's a tendency to say well then we have to look for a party which defends our interests and that's essentially then the authoritarian populist s' who stand for an entire liberal entire all anti multilateral position so we have essentially a rise of this whole development of of riping populist parties that you see here over time it stay the same 17 countries for which I have shown the decline of of trust in Metro I carry in institutions and you see here that now at the very end when those – populist parties become strong when they begin to emphasize majority when they begin to emphasize the will of the people as put forward in the Parliament that in that moment you also see again a slight increase in the trust of Metro a tear in institutions again so what what does this mean before we enter into the discussion it means in my view that we are entering a very difficult time in which essentially three movements strengthen each other and they all together essentially jeopardize the sort of post-war liberal order that has developed nationalism weakens the EU without a strong EU the multilateral international order is weakened and a international system with a weak liberal order which very much is a competitive state system strengthens nationalism again and there we have a sort of offer of Devil's cycle that those developments strengthen each other that we have a rise of nationalism that we have a rise of criticism of international institutions that they and that we have a weakening of thinking you and those essentially leads to a situation where I personally say say I don't know what will happen if there will be a big economic crisis that will come probably soon we had now 1012 years after the financial crisis a time of growing economies and lot parts of the world and many science point to the possibility that now a downturn swing will start that may them maybe will be another financial crisis or another form of economic crisis what happens in this kind of situation with the democracies with the liberal order with the new there's a possibility that this crisis will push them very close to the edge at the same time the political explanation points towards order for dilemma in which I would describe myself and you have probably heard this that's no problem as a liberal it's very very hard the position that on the one hand you have to criticize the existing institutions for being maybe not inclusive enough for being too expert or Craddock for excluding political competition on the level of the international institutions and at the same time defend those institutions because they are much better than the alternative is provided by the operator in populist and in that sense it is a sort of a dilemma that you have essentially to criticize and defend those existing institutions at the same time so you have to change them in order to defend them and that's politically speaking the most difficult task then you can get either I mean you defend something you say it's great it's wonderful that's easy or you say it's horrible it's bad and you attack it that's also relatively easy the most complicated thing is actually what we have should be defended but we need to change it so that they can be defended that's a very complicated position but the argument is that essentially there is no other choice for at least those who believe in liberal cosmopolitan values because going on with sort of a technocratic mode of political decision-making will make offer returned pop even stronger and the alternative as discussed in some of the conservative crisis maybe we should change our policies so that the policies get closer to the offeree terian papa lists that sounds to me like suicide out of fear of death and also not a very sensible strategy in this sense the political explanation may be good in terms of explanatory value but of course it shows that we are living in very difficult political times thank you very much [Applause]

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