Abstract

Since the 1980s, the presence of xenophobic, right-wing populist parties has been a persistent blot on the European political landscape. Time and again, the far Right has sought to elevate considerations of ethnos—its preferred ideological idiom—above those of demos. However, to reconceptualize democracy’s meaning in ethno-populist terms violates the fundamental norms of democratic citizenship. It departs from the idea of universal equality, which is the foundational precept of the rule of law, in favor of the idea of ethnic and racial hierarchy. Such an approach implies a return to the darkest hour of twentieth-century European history: the hour of the ethnocentric or “racial state.” This return is incompatible with universal norms embodied in Europe’s democratic constitutions. European political culture must stress and nurture these values in order to offset the seductions and temptations of the new illiberalism of the ethnopopulist credo.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1946-0910
Print ISSN
0012-3846
Pages
pp. 58-65
Launched on MUSE
2010-12-29
Open Access
No
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