The Austrian political crisis should teach the European voter a few important lessons. 

Once upon a time Europe lived through the Cold War. At the time Western European countries were faced with fringe parties on the left, who sought support from the Soviet Union, or were offered such support under cover. Today we live through a revival of nationalism, mostly manifest in the growing number of fringe parties on the right, we call (wrongly so) populist parties. They seek and receive covered support from Putin's Russia; in Italy, in France, in the Netherlands, in Austria and in Hungary; most likely also towards Brexit in the United Kingdom and in favour of Trump in the United States.

The left-right political scheme is  confusing. At the time of the Cold War, I used to present that scheme in the form of a circle. When you move from the center above to the center below - right or left - you move from democracy to dictatorship both ways. Ideology breeds repression. Ideology at the same time is an invitation to corruption. The latest Austrian crisis teaches us again  that the center must hold against ideologies and must - today - defend the European Union against resurgent nationalist ideologies.

The greatest mistake made by moderate left-wing parties in the Cold War is  now being made by the moderate rightwing liberal and Christian political parties: try to steal their votes by going a little their way .

As we should have learned, going such way strengthens their ideologies and undermines democracy and moral fortitude. Illiberal democracy today is what peoples democracies were during the Cold War: a cover name for dictatorship and repression.

Democracy may not work properly and the European Union may not function ideally. Still, reality tells us that together they are the best we can have, despite their weaknesses. 

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