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Historical consciousness: With the power of historical facts against populists – knowledge

Monday, August 21st, 2017 | bitcoin updates


Globally, democracies are being challenged by populism, authoritarian histories, and the use of "alternative facts". In all the differences between the conditions in the USA, Poland, Hungary, Turkey, and India, similarities in the power techniques of the populist governments there can not be overlooked: the claim to represent the "true people" The populist view is different: strangers, minorities, and others. The populist claim is also directed against all intermediary institutions – against the constitutional courts, which restrict the scope of the governments, against the media accused of obscuring the truth and against The independent science.European populists resort to fascism. In many cases, pre-democratic, authoritarian histories are used. Among the European populists, the anti-democratic thinking of the Weimar Republic and Italian fascism, as well as the biologistic conceptions of the national people, are gaining in attractiveness. Populism is characterized by a paradoxical approach to reality: to accuse the liberal media of the production of Fake News, Alternative facts "is a power technique that challenges the methodological self-understanding of historical science. Unlike the literature and art sciences, which mainly research fictional texts and artefacts, historiography is at the heart of the question of "how it actually was" (Leopold von Ranke). In the current history sciences the voices have become stronger Real essence of history in non-transcending narratives. Nevertheless, the ethos of accurately reconstructing reality, and the knowledge of the ever-only possible step to do so, belong to the core of the self-understanding of historical science. In this way, historical science provides a disposition which is important for democracy, especially in times of populism. The political ambivalence of the study of history The study of history on the one hand favors a skepticism against the modern conceptions of planning which can be called a conservative basic attitude. The concern with history also teaches skepticism of tempting simple total designs for society and leads to insight into the ambivalences of political decisions. On the other hand, history also opens up the possibility to become aware of the scope for action, to think and strive for a different and better world. It also strengthens a basic disposition, which is located in the leftist traditions of political thought.

The particular relevance that historiography today has acquired as a result of the challenge of populist movements depends on its ability to convey reality in all its complexity. The complexity of representative democracy in the constitutional state is that difference is institutionalized. The idea of ​​the sovereignty of the nation is opposed to the postulate of its legalization; in the place of the one, with the people, the recognition of the multiplicity of groups stands. The basic concept of liberal democracy is that not every majority decision is legitimate, but only democratic decisions which are compatible with respect for human rights.Colk sovereignty as an unconditional political freedom of will The liberal constitutional state has thus already made certain preliminary decisions which have withdrawn from the democratic majority decision are. On the other hand, the concept of non-liberal democracy, which the Hungarian head of government, Viktor Orbán, claims with all clarity as a principle for his party "Fidesz" and which is a guiding concept for many populist movements Against pluralistic structures and even against minorities, is a populist figure of argument whose effectiveness should not be underestimated, precisely because it operates with the "will of the people", which is often thought to be ethnonational, but which potentially threatens human rights and thus freedom In historical history in particular, there are historical experiences which illustrate the dangers that exist when the principle of majority voting against representative democracy and the safeguarding of fundamental rights is carried out. Thus, a marked weakness of the Weimar Republic existed precisely in the fundamental mistrust of the legitimacy of social pluralism, which was expressed in the partly vehement rejection of the Weimar Republic as a self-contained "party state."

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