Friday, August 6, 2021

The American Right Schmoozes Hungary's Orban

 Fox News's biggest star, Tucker Carlson, is broadcasting this week from Budapest where a political festival is happening under the aegis of Hungarian leader, Victor Orban.  As observers have noted, Orban has engaged in a gradual process of turning Hungary from a functioning EU democracy into an authoritarian state that maintains a veneer of democracy. Crucial to this is control over most of the media as well as the judiciary. His actions have put him in a running conflict with the EU's leaders, but he avoids pushing them too hard as EU financial aid to Hungary amounts to about 4% of its GDP, a lot.

Carlson claims that Orban is admirable and apparently a role model for the US for three reasons: his defense of western civilization, his defense of the family, and his innovations that improve democracy.  It would look that the first is based on his strong opposition to immigration from Muslim nations.  The second is supposedly due to the birth rate in Hungary having recently risen, although it remains below those of most other Eastern European nations. Carlson has made less of a fuss about it, but this also would seem to be based as well on his anti-LGBTQ attitudes and policies.

As for democracy, this is the one that is scary, looking like a blatant misrepresentation similar to the sorts of things we see the GOP doing in the US, spreading the Big Lie that Trump won the 2020 election, with many state governments passing voter suppression laws and even making it possible for state legislatures to overturn election results. This all seems to be part of a plan to have Trump seize power in 2024, even if he loses the election. Yeah, anti=democracy is democracy!

I note one other thing beyond the suppression of media and judiciary that has happened in Hungary under Orban. This is his driving out of Hungary the Central European University, founded in 1991 by George Soros.  Orban has engaged in a smear campaign against Soros, accusing him of being both a Nazi and a Communist, neither of which he ever was, founder of the Open Societies Foundation. But his anti-Semitic screeds have been gleefully picked up by GOPsters in the US who also like to  focus on Soros as a super bad guy supposedly funding all Dems in the US.  Oh, we really should not be surprised that Carlson and other US rightists are really getting into Victor Orban.

Barkley Rosser

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