The Philosophy of Centre for Fair Political Analysis

Centre for Fair Political Analysis is the first Hungarian think tank specializing specifically on the study of social and political cohesion. While CFPA has extended its research, at the same time it has preserved its equitable and objective approach and placed it into a new context. In our case objectivity does not mean the lack of values or indifference towards them nevertheless it does not mean political or party affiliation either. Liberal values are closest to the company however we disagree on several issues with those who – in our view – represent a dogmatic form of liberalism. At the same time we find many useful elements amongst other values as well, therefore it is not important for us to choose exclusively between ideologies excluding one for another.

Centre for Fair Political Analysis’s philosophy is built upon „Three C’s”: Conflict, Consensus and Cohesion. We hold that conflict in politics is natural and cannot be abolished, consensus however is necessary while cohesion is indispensable. We have extended the activity that Centre for Fair Political Analysis has been carrying out since May 2007 for the more profound academic study of these three concepts; to present their relation towards one another and - alongside our academic research - to create a new cohesional strategy in Hungary.

CFPA’s philosophy is defined by 5 basic values:

1. The recognition of Hungary's international embeddedness 

Though Centre for Fair Political Analysis studies primarily the political, economic and social relations of Hungary it is impossible to examine these issues from just a national perspective. The Centre’s approach builds on the fact that – all throughout its history and to this day – Hungary is part of a wider international environment, the changes of which fundamentally influence the countries possibilities as well. Thus there is interaction between the international and national levels which must be mapped without delay. Our only chance to understand and explain all that is happening to us is if our „story” is not told as that of an introverted country. The company writes analysis and carries out research based upon this in which this basic approach is unquestionable. 

2. Comparative approach

Exactly because of the above stated our relationship towards external examples is understanding and accepting. Centre for Fair Political Analysis understands what role Western European countries and currently the EU play in the life of Hungary, however is aware of the fact that not everyone relates to the following of these examples with such understanding.  We are interested in why the Hungarian right – traditionally and currently as well - interprets its relation toward the external environment as a „national freedom fight”. We want to provide explanations interpreting the situation while we also wish to explain that naturally there are Hungarian advocates of Western conformity, as well as those who believe that national aspects should not be evaluated so highly. Beyond this, the comparative approach means constant comparison: for example we are interested in what methods evolved for alleviating conflicts or handling social rifts which can be used in Hungary as well. 

3. Sensitivity towards historical continuity and change

Centre for Fair Political Analysis follows the school of political analysis which tries to understand the events and connections of the present from not just the current happenings but from their relations to their historical antecedents. We do not say that history repeats itself one on one and that there are simple analogies between past and present, however we do say that the interpretation and study of past processes, and how certain trends, tendencies and traditions live on is a fundamental task. It is worth thinking about why history „returned” in post 1990 Hungary, 22 years after the change of regime. More precisely: what part of history returned and what can be considered as a completely new 21st. c. challenge.  

4. The study of the internal cohesion of democracies

In the past 22 years, the study of social cohesion was left out of the research concerning the development of the Western European liberal democracies that serve as examples for Hungary. To a great extent the attention of analysts during the change of regime turned towards the way institutions function and significantly smaller attention surround the „softer”, social, behavioral factors. Without the study of the latter the relative failure of Hungarian democracy can not be understood. The reason why we could not produce the economic and social upturn of developed Western countries was (amongst other factors) that there were neither resources nor commitment for the civic education of society which was the „success story” of the West in the era of post 1945 welfare states. Ever since the emergence of democracy, Hungary was obliged to go without the democratic surplus (we can call it trust) which derives from the democratic commitment of society towards democracy. Naturally we know that civic education means something completely different in a democracy rich in resources than in a relatively poor one.   

5. The study of political networks and the ability to learn

Democracies based on parties are populated by actors, however the task is not just to describe them one at a time but also to uncover the interactions between them, furthermore to study what they learn from their past and from each other. In this sense one of the failures of the past 22 years is that no possible explanations were given to the way internal changes built upon one another. We have no idea what sort of networks the individual parties, non governmental organizations, lobbies or groups of intellectuals form and what influence these often informal organizations have on the formation of Hungarian politics.    

Centre for Fair Political Analysis’s above mentioned 5 basic values are manifested in different types of writings and research. Its experts are organized into research groups and each team is working on presenting these values within the analysis published by the company.  

CFPA is an independent, non party affiliated think tank, however offers its products to the whole of the Hungarian political class.