Yesterday Fidesz held its twenty-sixth congress. Almost 2,000 delegates gathered, and they voted almost unanimously to reelect Viktor Orbán as chairman. They also elected four deputy chairmen: the 34-year-old Gergely Gulyás, whose career has been spectacular in the last five years; Gábor Kubatov, the campaign manager of the 2010 election; Szilárd Németh, the government spokesman for lower utility prices; and Mrs. Pelcz, née Ildikó Gáll, the token woman who has been safely tucked away in the European Parliament ever since 2010. All of them ran unopposed.
The speakers, headed by Viktor Orbán himself, found everything absolutely perfect in the country that they lead with great expertise and self-assurance. They are brave politicians who are able to achieve things other people would find impossible. In fact, according to Orbán, “bravery is the most important thing in life. It is said that a coward cannot be happy. So, in a way, freedom is really the right to be brave.” Don’t ask me to analyze the logic of these sentences.
Since by now Viktor Orbán cannot come out with too many fresh ideas and for the most part just rehashes his old pearls of wisdom about the bright future of his imaginary world, I will concentrate on only a few crucial passages.
A fair amount of time was devoted to the migrant crisis. He maintained that all western politicians are idiots and that he is the only man who had the guts to act, not asking anybody’s permission. The result is total victory. The rest of Europe is a “battlefield” while Hungary is the land of stability and peace. Yes, we’ve heard that before. What, on the other hand, was new was his analysis of the spirit that has taken over European thinking.
The European spirit and its people believe in superficial, secondary things, such as human rights, progress, openness, new kinds of families, and toleration…. These are nice and amiable things but really only secondary ones because they are only derivatives…. Europe doesn’t believe in Christianity, in common sense, in military virtues, and doesn’t believe in national pride.
Well, this is at least brutally honest talk. The politicians who consider all those “derivative” things to be the bedrock of the European Union should realize that none of the virtues they cherish means anything to Viktor Orbán, who dismisses them in favor of more “fundamental” principles, such as military virtues.
Another passage in Orbán’s speech also merits consideration. It is about the idea of a United States of Europe.
Europe is an old but fertile continent that survived many frightening ideas. Some of these caused great harm, in fact, tragedy…. When Europe turned out to be weak and couldn’t resist mad ideas. For example, it was unable to oppose the idea, which was planted into people’s heads, that mankind can be categorized by race. Thus Europe became the home of national socialism. It couldn’t resist the idea that people should be divided up by their social origin and that all people should be transformed into homo sovieticus. Thus, Europe became the home of the ideology of class warfare and communism. All this today seems absurd, but, my friends, in those days it didn’t seem absurd. Serious people with serious countenances, believing in their moral superiority, wrote a library full of books on these subjects. Today I again see a whole army of serious people with serious countenances who, convinced of their moral superiority, want to disparage the nation states of Europe and campaign for a United States of Europe. Trouble is waiting for us.
In brief, the dangers lurking behind a tighter constitutional arrangement for the member states of the European Union can be compared only to the disasters Hitler’s national socialism and the Soviet Union’s communist experiment brought to the world.
I would like to quote one more sentence from this long speech that might be of some interest. “European liberal politics by today has turned against freedom and therefore has inevitably come up against the people and against democracy. What was formerly liberal democracy has become non-democratic liberalism.”
These are the ideas that are being transmitted, often in a simplified, even more incendiary form, via the Fidesz propaganda machine to the population. Magyar Idők, the government mouthpiece, specializes in the genre. I could easily find hundreds of examples but I picked an editorial by Dávid Megyeri titled “Tragicomedy: Migration game without borders,” which appeared in the Saturday issue of the paper. This article is an excellent example of where Viktor Orbán’s demagoguery leads: to gutter journalism.
The article is mostly about Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, who is described as an uneducated man who, despite many tries, couldn’t even matriculate from high school. Not only is he ignorant, he also shows signs of psychopathological disorders. What are the telltale signs of these disorders? Schulz considers the behavior of some of the member states, in the middle of a serious European crisis, injurious to the stability of Europe. Although for most of us Schulz’s observation is self-evident, for a devoted Viktor Orbán fan this is an unforgivable sin. And by the end of the article we learn that it is actually in Germany’s interest to eliminate nation states since it is Berlin that “considers the whole European Union its own nation state. Just as in the olden days when the great Russian Empire nicknamed the Soviet Union ruled over the forced marriage of [the Central European countries]. They are the models of Merkel.”
Here one finds bits and pieces of Viktor Orbán’s primitive ideas further simplified and distorted. Orbán’s attacks on Merkel and his equation of communism with the United States of Europe fuse into incomprehensible nonsense. Unfortunately, however primitive we find all this, it seems to work with an awful lot of people.