Why Democracy Needs Fences Danube Institute,
4th February 2016
The recent arrival in Europe of hundreds of thousands of migrants from the Middle East and North Africa has led to a long overdue debate about the significance of national borders. In a lecture on one of the most topical and urgent issues of the day, Thierry Baudet, the Dutch journalist, broadcaster and author argued that national borders needed to be maintained if representative government was to survive. For almost three-quarters of a century, the countries of Western Europe have abandoned national sovereignty as an ideal. Nation states are being dismantled: by supranationalism from above, by multiculturalism from below. In Baudet’s view, supranationalism and multiculturalism are, in fact, irreconcilable with representative government and the rule of law. And he challenges one of the most central beliefs in contemporary legal and political philosophy, namely that borders are bound to disappear. Baudet’s lecture was based on his book The Significance of Borders: Why Representative Government and the Rule of Law Require Nation States, which was first published in 2012. His visit to Budapest coincided with the publication of a Hungarian edition of this book. John O’Sullivan, the Danube Institute’s President, and Péter Krekó, social and political psychologist, responded to Dr Baudet’s presentation. Thierry Baudet is a Dutch author, journalist and public intellectual. He has published six books on political science, an introductory guide to classical music, and, most recently, a novel. He is best known for his euroscepticism and his appearances on radio and TV as a pundit. Thierry Baudet is now working on a new novel while running his own eurosceptic think tank, the Forum for Democracy.