The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development of the Canadian Parliament released its report last week entitled, “Democratic Strain and Popular Discontent in Europe: Responding to the Challenges Facing Liberal Democracies”.
In the document, the committee cites expert testimonies that worry over a “popular discontent” that is spreading all over the continent. They stacked the deck, however, inviting only advocates of the liberal left. These experts have become well known by now, and it’s not for their pro-Hungary stance.
The committee heard from, among others, Michael Ignatieff, rector of Central European University, former leader of Canada’s Liberal Party, and strident Orbán Government critic. According to Ignatieff, Hungarian “democracy is in danger,” as Hungary has diverged in “a very serious structural way” from the norms of European liberal democracy.
Anne Applebaum, a professor at the London School of Economics, also appeared before the committee. Oddly enough, she happens to be another staunch critic of the Hungarian Government. I think it was around the time that she came up with the preposterous term “neo-Bolshevik” that I used the expression “Orbanophobia” to describe the unhealthy bias that overshadows her writings about Hungary.
The Standing Committee put together an excellent lineup, indeed. If these were the only experts ever heard, then one would have a hard time not worrying that “democracy is in danger.”
However, they failed to address one of the basic principles of objective inquiry and any just legal system: audiatur et altera pars. May the other side also be heard.
We’ve grown accustomed to this approach, unfortunately, that liberal echo chambers have become reluctant to hear anything other than their mantras on repeat. At first, it’s okay – avoiding cognitive dissonance is an instinctive reaction to challenges. I get that. But sometimes it’s worth considering the other side of that proverbial coin, especially if one is interested in genuine analysis and not simply ideologically driven political agendas.
Photo: kmfoundations.org, twitter.com