May 25, 2018

We should listen to PM Orbán when he says he wants to change the course of Europe, says leading political anlayst

Renowned author Mike Gonzalez has penned a deconstruction of Hungarian and European politics and is extremely complimentary about Prime Minister Viktor Orbán

Author Mike Gonzalez has penned a compelling deconstruction of Hungarian and European politics and the influential role that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is playing

Gonzalez is an experienced international correspondent, commentator, and editor who has reported from Asia, Europe, and Latin America. He served in the George W. Bush administration, first at the Securities and Exchange Commission and then at the State Department.

In his piece titled “Hungary’s Experiment Could Rebuild a Sense of Nation in Europe” for The Daily Signal, Gonzalez says Hungary’s maverick prime minister is once again stirring the pot of goulash.

He adds that four years ago, PM Orbán gave his critics ammunition when he said he was constructing an “illiberal democracy.” This month he doubled down, declaring liberal democracy dead and urging other European leaders to stop trying to revive the corpse, he writes.

Instead, he said, Orbán exhorted them to get busy invoking a new democracy based on Christian principles.

“Liberal democracy is no longer able to protect people’s dignity, provide freedom, guarantee physical security or maintain Christian culture,” the prime minister said in Hungary’s parliament earlier this month. “Some in Europe are still tinkering with it because they believe that they can repair it, but they fail to understand that it is not the structure that is defective: The world has changed.”

The response, he added, is “to replace the shipwreck of liberal democracy by building 21st-century Christian democracy.”

Gonzalez writes that for many reasons, the prime minister deserves our attention when he says his ambition—“now we want to hunt really big game” is precisely how he put it—is to change the course of Europe.

He writes that the prime minister is flushed with an electoral victory in which his party last month captured more votes than all of the opposition combined. He has defeated German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the important philosophical debate over immigration (Orbán says it should be lowered). And he has vanquished the leftist billionaire George Soros, who just announced his nongovernmental organization is leaving Hungary.

Most importantly, the question of values is the fundamental issue confronting the continent, Gonzalez stresses. Unlike the United States, modern European states are not founded upon creedal documents that lay out the constituting character and culture of the nation, and how to preserve them, he adds.

He adds that when “Europe” was more or less coterminous with “Christendom,” that text was the Bible. The culture that defined all the European nations—the paintings, the music, the festivals, the folk wisdom—was suffused with Christianity and its imagery. Greco-Judeo-Christian ethics bonded Portuguese and Finns in the absence of DNA or language links.

He says that as Europe has de-Christianized, at best it has evolved into a values-free, empty husk. At worst it has become a supranational entity that pretends adherence to hate-speech codes, mandatory work rules, open borders, and coercion of everyone into publicly affirming lifestyles they find repugnant—all violations of different freedoms, and ironically of liberalism itself.

Gonzalez says PM Orbán thumbs his nose at European Union pieties with gusto, which is why he can be forgiven if he uses provocative terms to attract attention to an important project.

Read the full piece here.