The global proliferation of radical right political movements and the decline of democracy are defining features of our current moment. Authoritarian leaders ascend to power through the ballot box, but at once, they systematically consolidate control over the state and civil society. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and the Fidesz party is emblematic of illiberal democracy, a term originally coined by Fareed Zakaria. This Note applies Zakaria’s illiberal democracy to Hungary while adjusting the contours of his theory to better account for the role of anti-intellectualism and nationalism in the illiberal toolkit. This Note also investigates the Orbán government’s targeting of Central European University, one of the most notorious struggles between a university and an illiberal democracy for academic freedom. Central European University’s situation illuminates the ways in which illiberal régimes attempt to smother spaces of resistance, using ethno-nationalist rhetoric to characterize universities and intellectuals as outsider threats to the illiberal nation-state.
Zaccagnino, Jessica M., "The Tragedy of Central European University: Theorizing Hungarian Illiberal Democracy and Its Threat to Academic Freedom" (2021). Connecticut Law Review. 448.