Dinner Debate- February 2018

The Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) has gained sufficient success in Austrian politics despite its clear origins as a pro-Nazi party. Is Europe willing to forget its past in favor of political ideals which promise a semblance of stability? Has Europe done enough to acknowledge its history of totalitarianism?

Western European right-wing political parties have been growing in legitimacy and popularity since the 1980s. This may be due to national grievances over economic globalisation and immigration crises. However, Poland's recent passing of legislation that curbs the freedom of expression by criminalising the act of discussing Polish complicity in the Holocaust illustrates another trend in contemporary liberal democratic politics: the acceptance of authoritarianism. The Law and Justice Party in Poland is willing to rewrite history in order to rally nationalist sentiment regardless of the evident implications to basic civil rights, and this sort of revisionism is reflected in other European nations. 

Jonathan Short