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Fri May 22, 2020, 09:30 PM

Viktor Orban dismantled Hungary's democracy. Conservatives love him.

From Vox.

At dawn last Tuesday morning, the police took a man named András from his home in northeastern Hungary. His alleged crime? Writing a Facebook post that called the country’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, a “dictator.”

.......

András’s arrest is an unusually naked display of what Hungary has become — a cautionary tale for what a certain kind of right-wing populist will do when given unchecked political power. Yet among a certain segment of American conservatives, Orbán is not viewed as a warning.

He’s viewed as a role model.


For Western conservatives of a religious and/or nationalist bent, Orbán is the leader they wish Donald Trump could be — smart, politically savvy, and genuinely devoted to their ideals.


Orbán’s effort to cultivate Western intellectuals — funding their work, inviting them to meet with him as honored guests in Budapest, speaking at their glitzy conferences — is part of a much more ambitious ideological campaign. He describes himself as the avatar of a new political model spreading across the West, which he terms “illiberal democracy” or “Christian democracy.”

Advocates of illiberal democracy, like Trump and European far-right parties, aim to protect and deepen the specificity of each European country’s religious and ethnic makeup — Hungary for the Hungarians, France for the French, and Germany for the Germans. Orbán frames this goal in precisely the culture war terms people like Dreher find so appealing.

“Liberal democracy is in favor of multiculturalism, while Christian democracy gives priority to Christian culture,” he said in a 2018 speech. “Liberal democracy is pro-immigration, while Christian democracy is anti-immigration.”

This language is at once incendiary and misleading. The rejection of “liberalism” infuriates mainstream European and Western intellectuals, thus further convincing the right that Orbán is the enemy of their primary enemy. But by framing his struggle as a conflict between two subspecies of democracy — between “liberal” and “Christian” democracy — Orbán obscures the fact that his regime is not any kind of democracy at all.

This insistence on falsely referring to his authoritarian regime as a democracy is vital to both its domestic and international project.

Orbán and much of his inner circle are lawyers by training; they have used this expertise to set up a political system that looks very much like a democracy, with elections and a theoretically free press, but isn’t one. This gives intellectually sympathetic Westerners some room for self-delusion. They can examine Hungary, a country whose cultural politics they admire, and see a place that looks on the surface like a functioning democracy.


In the United States, the Republican Party has shown a disturbing willingness to engage in Fidesz-like tactics to undermine the fairness of the political process. The two parties evolved independently, for their own domestic reasons, but seem to have converged on a similar willingness to undermine the fairness of elections behind the scenes.

Extreme gerrymandering, voter ID laws, purging nonvoters from the voting rolls, seizing power from duly elected Democratic governors, packing courts with partisan judges, creating a media propaganda network that its partisans consume to the exclusion of other sources — all Republican approaches that, with some nouns changed, could easily describe Fidesz’s techniques for hollowing out from democracy from within.

In this respect, Hungary really is a model for America. It’s not a blueprint anyone is consciously aping, but proof that a ruthless party with less-than-majority support in the public can take durable control of political institutions while still successfully maintaining a democratic veneer.


https://www.vox.com/2020/5/21/21256324/viktor-orban-hungary-american-conservatives

12 replies, 470 views

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Response to DTomlinson (Original post)

Fri May 22, 2020, 09:33 PM

1. K & R for visibility

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Response to Celerity (Reply #1)

Fri May 22, 2020, 09:37 PM

3. Thank you. Much appreciated.

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Response to DTomlinson (Reply #3)

Fri May 22, 2020, 09:42 PM

6. I have been posting on this for ages, but it gets so little attention (even long before COVID-19)

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Response to Celerity (Reply #6)

Fri May 22, 2020, 09:45 PM

8. Well I appreciate that too! Thank you!

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Response to DTomlinson (Original post)

Fri May 22, 2020, 09:35 PM

2. Even sadder is the EU tolerates Orban.

They should be expelling Hungary.

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Response to roamer65 (Reply #2)

Fri May 22, 2020, 09:38 PM

4. Yes. And Turkey should be expelled from NATO imo

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Response to DTomlinson (Reply #4)

Fri May 22, 2020, 09:39 PM

5. THIS.

Fuck Erdogan. Fuck all fascists.

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Response to roamer65 (Reply #5)

Fri May 22, 2020, 09:45 PM

7. And all it took to get the US out of the way of his genocidal plans in Syria was a phone call to 45.

Think Erdogan might have something on Trump and/or Kushner re: the Saudis and the murder of Jamal Khashoggi?

Wasn't Flynn working for him?

Were there any potential business deals for Trump in Turkey?

Who knows...I don't know, but someone does, and whatever the truth of the matter is, it's surely criminal and corrupt in nature.

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Response to DTomlinson (Reply #7)

Fri May 22, 2020, 09:49 PM

10. Highly suspect it was information the Turks had on Khashoggi's murder.

Al Jazeera English a ways back had a good expose on the crime. They traced it back to MBS. No wonder the Saudis want Al Jazeera off the air so badly.

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Response to roamer65 (Reply #10)

Fri May 22, 2020, 10:00 PM

12. The CIA said they were pretty sure it was MBS. The killers reported directly to MBS's top advisor.

This guy:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saud_al-Qahtani

The United States intelligence community has identified al-Qahtani as the ringleader of the assassination of Saudi dissident and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.[27] Al-Qahtani acted as the head of what American intelligence officials called the Saudi Rapid Intervention Group, which has reportedly undertaken at least a dozen operations since 2017.[8]

According to Arab and Turkish sources, al-Qahtani organized the Khashoggi operation, even calling into the consulate via Skype to talk with and insult Khashoggi before telling the assembled team: "Bring me the head of the dog."[7] The Saudi state prosecutor announced on 15 November 2018 that 11 agents were indicted and 5 charged with murdering Khashoggi. He added that Al-Qahtani met the leader of the team that killed Khashoggi before it was dispatched to Turkey. Al-Qahtani was not arrested.[24] Saudi officials have never revealed the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s remains.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman exchanged at least 11 messages with al-Qahtani in the hours before and after the assassination of Khashoggi, leading the Central Intelligence Agency to conclude that Mohammed ordered Khashoggi's murder.[29] A member of the Saudi hit team, Maher Mutreb, also called al-Qahtani to inform him that the operation has been completed.[33


And Al-Jazeera, though it is run by Qatar and has its own biases obviously, actually is willing to do serious investigative journalism and is willing to publish the truth, in spite of those n power around the world who don't want to hear it.

That's what all dictators and would-be dictators fear - the people hearing the truth. So what they do is create their own version of the truth (political propaganda) to "compete" with honest journalism and news, whether it be Putin and Russia Today, MBS and his Saudi social media crew, or the US Republican Party, especially under Trump, with FOX News and talk radio.

Gotta control the message before the people hear it unfiltered. Knowledge is power, after all...

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Response to DTomlinson (Original post)

Fri May 22, 2020, 09:48 PM

9. This is where we are headed if we get another four years of Trump.

And possibly worse. I find this horrifying.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #9)

Fri May 22, 2020, 09:50 PM

11. Yup. Our democratic institutions will technically survive, but they'll be irrelevant.

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