Saturday, April 9, 2022

Who is Viktor Orban?

Viktor Orban handily won re-election in Hungary last week and will begin serving his fourth term as prime minister. Rod Dreher does a good job summing up Orban's politics at The American Conservative:

--Orban believes that the West is a coherent civilization composed of a multitude of different peoples, united by a common religion. He thinks that civilization and its culture is worth defending. He believes that the best way to do so is to prize the sovereignty of its nations. He also believes that mass migration is a mortal threat to the existence of that civilization.

--Viktor Orban also believes that the religion of the Bible is true, and the basis of Western civilization. He believes that the traditional family is the bedrock of this and any civilization. Consequently, he believes that the state should be governed to help and defend the traditional family — not the interests of international capital, of liberal billionaires, of activist NGOs, or anybody else. He looks out across the West at what contemporary liberalism in power has done and is doing to civilization, and is determined to do everything he can to prevent his own country, Hungary, from falling into the same decadence.

--He recognizes that liberalism, as it has evolved in the West, has become its own solvent. This is the Patrick Deneen thesis, in Why Liberalism Failed: it failed because it succeeded so well in “liberating” the choosing individual from every unchosen obligation, and freeing him up to follow his desires. Yet Orban, who grew up under Communism, and who fought it as a student leader, has an acute appreciation of the totalitarian temptation inside contemporary liberalism. It’s no coincidence that his arch-opponent in Hungarian politics, former prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, is a former Communist youth leader who became one of Hungary’s richest men in the 1990s and early 2000s, and who is on great terms with liberal leaders in the European Union.

--As an outsider who grew up in the country, he understands the power an unelected and unaccountable liberal elite controlling cultural institutions has over the direction of society — and is determined to use political power to keep liberal/progressive cultural power in check.

--He is a capitalist who understands that globalist capitalism is a threat to the integrity of the nation-state. This is why, in his first term, he worked hard to repatriate Hungarian industries that had been sold off to foreigners in the immediate aftermath of Communism. Orban understood that as long as Hungary’s main industries were in the hands of foreigners, the Hungarian people had less power over their own destiny.

In his piece, Dreher laments that our Republicans don't embrace something like Orban's vision. He writes that Gov. DeSantis gives him hope. I have some small hopes in DeSantis, but slim hope indeed in our GOP.

Here's the pol Orban defeated. One of the funniest tweets I've seen in a while:

Hillary. Inspired. Free from corruption. Glad Hungarians are laughing too.

Stay smart, my Hungarian friends. And God bless you.


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