This week, Henry Farrell, Network member and associate professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, launched a new stream on The Washington Post Monkey Cage blog focusing on questions of 21st Century democracy and the world of Opening Governance studied by the Research Network.
The first post in the Opening Governance stream at the Monkey Cage – “Hungary’s government wants to shut down its most prominent university. That may be backfiring” – examines the drivers and effects of a shift toward illiberal democracy within the European Union:
“When Hungary’s government passed a law last week which was effectively intended to shut down Budapest’s Central European University, it surely anticipated that there would be a backlash. It probably did not anticipate mass demonstrations, or senior European politicians threatening to suspend Hungary’s membership of the European Union. Here is how Hungary’s government has gotten into this mess.
Over the past several years, Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, has made it clear that he doesn’t believe in liberal democracy — the kind of democracy that characterizes consolidated democratic states, such as the United States and the countries of Western Europe. In a notorious speech in 2014, Orban proclaimed that liberal democracies were not globally competitive anymore. Instead, Orban said that he looked to states such as Russia, Turkey and China as examples of success, and argued that it should be possible to build an ‘illiberal democracy’ within the European Union. Instead of the liberal belief that disagreement is part and parcel of democratic politics, illiberal democracy looks to strong nationalism and a purportedly united population as the basis for democracy.”
The second entry – “ Most forensic science isn’t real science. Try telling that to the criminal justice system” – features an interview with University of Pittsburgh Law professor David A. Harris:
“Earlier this week, the Justice Department announced that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was ending the National Commission on Forensic Science and suspending a review of controversial evidence techniques, opting instead for a new in-house strategy. While Sessions praised the commission’s work, his decision has been widely interpreted as a rebuff to Obama-era efforts to bring higher scientific standards to the forensic techniques that are used in the criminal justice system. David A. Harris, the John E. Murray Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh’s law faculty, has written “Failed Evidence: Why Law Enforcement Resists Science” on the debates over forensics and scientific method. I conducted a short email interview with him on controversies over applying scientific knowledge to forensics and what abolishing the commission means.”
Going forward, findings from the Network, analyses of current events from an Opening Governance perspective, and interviews with leading scholars working across disciplines relevant to innovation in governance will appear on the Monkey Cage blog.