I’m not exactly a cheerleader for Victor Orban over in Hungary but this is entirely ridiculous:
The new anti-LGBTQ rules — which were tacked on at the last minute to a bill increasing penalties for sex crimes against children — are part of a broader slate of legal attacks on the queer community that strengthen Orbán’s regime, the only non-democratic government in the European Union.
Whadda ya mean Hungary’s not democratic? The last elections to Parliament – free, fair and open – were in 2018. The next are in 2022.
Sadly, it’s not just the idiots at Vox making this mistake:
Hungary has experienced “the most precipitous” democratic decline ever tracked by the US-based rights watchdog Freedom House in their “Nations in Transit” report, the think tank said on Wednesday.
The government helmed by conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban has “dropped any pretense of respecting democratic institutions.”
“After centralizing power, tilting the electoral playing field, taking over much of the media, and harassing critical civil society organizations since 2010, Orban moved during 2019 to consolidate control over new areas of public life, including education and the arts,” Freedom House said in the latest edition of their report.
The country has now crossed the line from a democracy to a “transitional/hybrid regime,” the watchdog said. Such regimes have fragile democratic institutions and citizens face “substantial challenges” to their rights and liberties.
No, this is to misunderstand two entirely different concepts, let alone words.
Democracy is this thing over here. Civil liberty is this other thing ober here. They’re both desirable – as are apple pie and ice cream – but they are different things.
Democracy is how the peeps in power get chosen. We all gain our say and the majority wins. There are variants within this, varied forms of PR, first past the post and so on. But all can stand, the people choose, that’s democracy.
Democracy is also not an unmitigated good. The Nazis gained power through elections and democracy for example. Sure, they didn’t have any more after that but they got there that way. As did the Communists in both Hungary and Czechsolovakia post WW II. Chavez and Maduro were elected.
Then there’s all this civil liberties stuff. It’s possible to argue – and I would – that this is more important. Certainly, if that veil of ignorance left me with the choice of near perfect civil liberty wiothout elections, or elections with the Nazis gaining power, I’d take the no elections option.
Things like LGBT, free speech, media plurality and on and on are civil liberty. They can be denied by the duly elected, allowed by those who never even put out the ballot boxes – Hong Kong managed it for decades.
To get confused between these two ideas is to get close to ensuring that we achieve neither. Sure, we want democracy so we can throw the bastards out. We also want to have areas of life that simply cannot be affected by whoever is in power – those civil liberties and rights.
The importance here being that it’s all too easy to be democratic and crush that civil liberty. Thus we need to be aware of the differences and support each appropriately.