Three exiles from Vienna and their responses to totalitarianism.
Today the Austrians are as relevant as ever. Autocracy is hardening in China. Democracy is in retreat in Turkey, the Philippines and elsewhere. Populists stalk the Americas and Europe: in Vienna a party with fascist roots is in the ruling coalition. All three would have been perturbed by the decay of the public sphere in the West. Instead of a contest of ideas, there is the tribal outrage of social media, leftwing zealotry on America’s campuses and fearmongering and misinformation on the right.
Of no direct relevance, Vienna was recently ranked as the world’s most liveable city. It is certainly, beautiful, elegant and civilised.
And, of course it was the inspiration for a great song…
Image: National Portrait Gallery