Simple logic based on an ancient adage makes Hungary’s PM Orbán Britain’s friend: after all, the EU treats both as enemies. This makes Orbán an interesting object of study – after all, Britain isn’t blessed with a surfeit of friends in Europe.
Orbán comes across as a Hungarian version of Trump: nasty, demagogic, crude, nationalistic, populist, controversial, contemptuous of due process and liberal axioms, suspicious of internationalism – and right on most issues.
The issue on which he isn’t right is his professed choice of role models, such as Turkey, Russia and China, which he often cites, along with Singapore and India, as examples Hungary could profitably follow. That makes one wonder whether Orbán’s commitment to Christian values is as staunch as he claims.
Also, his oft-proclaimed passion for national sovereignty and self-sufficiency seems hard to reconcile with Hungary’s continued membership in the EU, whose passions are diametrically opposite. One has to admit with chagrin that Orbán’s reservations about the EU don’t seem to extend to her handouts, which isn’t the most principled stance in God’s creation.
All this raises legitimate questions about Orbán’s political and human virtues, but these aren’t the questions I’ll try to answer here. What interests me is Orbán’s policies, proposed or already realised.
Many of them hit EU functionaries (and other leftish ideologues) with such force that those golden stars begin to spin kaleidoscopically before their eyes. Just look at his views on immigration.
Orbán champions the Great Replacement theory of mass immigration, which tallies with school maths. Schoolchildren the world over are tortured by problems of communicating vessels, or else swimming pools with two pipes, one filling, the other emptying.
Unlike me, Orbán must have excelled at such problems. He knows that, if the flow rate in the incoming pipe is greater than in the outgoing one, the pool will be filling up, but the water in it will be totally replaced in due course.
Extrapolating from maths to demographics, Orbán states a self-evident fact: if the rate of immigration exceeds the rate of birth in the indigenous population, sooner or later the indigenous population will be replaced. And if the immigrants are culturally alien to European values, then this development will be catastrophic not only demographically but also culturally.
Orbán put this theory into practice during the 2015 migrant crisis, when he had a razor wire fence erected along the Serbo-Hungarian border to stem the inflow of illegal immigrants, many of whom were indeed culturally alien.
This was in marked contrast to the EU policy, which Orbán pointed out: “Europe’s response is madness. We must acknowledge that the European Union’s misguided immigration policy is responsible for this situation.”
Such statements and policies put Orbán on a collision course not only with the EU, but also with that great champion of untrammelled migration, George Soros, who said: “His plan treats the protection of national borders as the objective and the refugees as an obstacle.”
Truer words have seldom been spoken, but where Messrs Orbán and Soros differ is in their assessment of the situation the latter described so epigrammatically. What Orbán sees as a virtue, Soros sees as a vice. That difference has triggered an amply justified outburst of anti-Soros diatribes in Hungary, many regrettably tinged with anti-Semitism.
In general, Orbán and many members of his Fidesz party have been known to express anti-Semitic sentiments, which is abhorrent. However, recent surveys show that Jews feel safer in Hungary than, say, in France. And Orbán has been a good friend to Israel, a distinction not all EU members can claim. I did say he’s controversial, didn’t I?
Then of course there’s homosexuality, which, proceeding from an unimpeachable scriptural base, Orbán regards as contrary to Christian values. Of course, Christian values are contrary to the EU, and that creates another flashpoint.
To begin with, Hungary’s constitution doesn’t recognise homomarriage and specifies that “the mother is a woman, the father is a man.” Just a couple of decades ago, only certifiable nutters would have found this statement objectionable, but times do change, and I can’t honestly say always for the better.
According to Orbán, children are born either male or female, and so they’ll remain for life. “That,” according to him, “ensures the upbringing of children according to Christian culture.” I don’t know about ensuring – such upbringing must have a few other components as well. But this would be a good start.
In the same vein, Orbán also amended Hungary’s constitution to ban same-sex couples from adopting children. I can’t argue against this ban, but the EU can. Its gauleiters don’t seem to mind poor tots being confused about who’s Mummy and who’s Daddy, especially if such parents alternate their roles from day to day.
If Great Replacement is basic maths, this ban is basic common sense. Alas, sense isn’t common within the ranks of the EU, or for that matter in any Western officialdom.
According to some, that commonsensical amendment was somewhat compromised when its author, MEP Jozsef Szajer, was busted in a police raid on a homosexual orgy in Brussels. This is a vivid illustration to the 17th century adage “Do as I say, not as I do”. I hope Mr Szajer objected to his arrest by saying “Hypocritical? Moi?”
But whatever his personal predilections, Hungary’s policies on such matters are sane, whereas the EU’s (and Britain’s) aren’t. Orbán’s government has also banned university courses on gender studies, a subject that in Western European countries is taught at kindergartens. And a ban on legally changing one’s sex was put into effect last May.
The EU and LGBTQ groups are up in arms. Orbán’s policies, they scream, constitute an attack on democracy and the rule of law. These terms are so often uttered in the same breath that one might think they are synonymous and interchangeable. Yet they are often closer to being mutually exclusive than identical.
In this case that doesn’t matter, because Orbán violates neither, at least by the policies mentioned so far. From what one hears, these policies are widely popular in Hungary, meaning that democratic consensus is upheld. As to the rule of law, the last noun should be modified with the adjective ‘just’ for the concept to make sense.
Laws must be respected and obeyed, but only insofar as they are just. For example, telling political jokes was against the law in the Soviet Union, as was being a Jew in Nazi Germany. More honoured in the breach than the observance, wouldn’t you say?
The EU may have laws obligating every country to accept an unlimited number of aliens, to sanctify every perversion under the sun and teach children in that spirit, and to violate every traditional practice based on common decency, common sense and traditional values. But only a mind addled by modern propaganda would regard such laws as just.
Orbán may occasionally overstep the line separating reasonable restraints from tyrannical tethers, and in that sense he is a marginal figure. But one way or the other he represents another fault line threatening a major EU earthquake.
Hence he’s an enemy of the EU and, considering her hostile treatment of Britain, our friend. You aren’t going to take issue with this ancient logic, are you?