Western leftists likes to mock Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban when he infamously said that Hungary would pursue an “illiberal democracy” in opposition to Western European social democracy — which might more accurately be labeled as intolerant socialism. If one wants to be intellectually rigorous (not a virtue common among liberals), it’s necessary to dig deeper into Mr. Orban’s concept to see what he is actually talking about.
The big beef that Hungary and other Central European nations have with European liberal democracies is that they are not liberal at all. They are totalitarian, especially if you do not share their views. Just ask Tommy Robinson, the right-wing activist sent to jail essentially for espousing his beliefs in public in the United Kingdom.
The unelected leaders and bureaucrats within the European Union have taken it upon themselves to inflict their view of the world upon the continent and beyond. It’s a culturally Marxist agenda, one that threatens the very existence of nations as sovereign entities in Europe.
This agenda includes the destruction of Europe’s Christian past; the welcoming of millions of migrants from North Africa and the Middle East who lack a common cultural heritage with Europe; the demonization of Israel; the suppression of free speech and freedom on the internet if they threaten liberal pieties; and the unconditional erasure of national borders and local control.
This is not “liberalism” in any classic sense. It is much more accurately defined as elite control and supernationalist totalitarianism.
The small countries of Central Europe, known as the Visegrad nations, have had enough. Of course they do not want this future for their children. Who would?
When Mr. Orban and the Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party talk of “illiberal democracy,” they are attacking the dangerous, undemocratic agenda of the George Soros-backed EU crowd who want to destroy the nations of Europe. Christian Central Europeans don’t want to be overrun and will not be bullied by Brussels. They will not be bought off with EU money.
Luckily for Europe, this rejectionist viewpoint is starting to spread, as nations like Italy and Austria are also questioning the internationalist dogma and have recently elected right-of-center nationalist governments.
Leftists try to dismiss any opposition to their agenda and narrative with epithets such as “far-right,” “Nazi” or “extremist.” But ordinary people are starting to see through this charade, and the name-calling doesn’t really work anymore.
The NGOs that Hungary kicked out of the country were of course engaged in political agitation. These groups were enabling the migrant crisis into Europe for a reason. They did not care about these so-called “refugees.” They cared only for the undermining of European society as it once existed. It is the same agenda we see playing out in the United States, with President Trump’s critics pushing for unlimited immigration, open borders and giving the vote to illegal aliens.
Those on the left know they cannot win elections on a sustainable basis with such an agenda. So, instead of trying to win over voters, they try to change the make-up of who gets to vote. Presto! Promise the migrants everything in exchange for the vote, while those evil white men will pay for everything.
As Mr. Orban put it shortly after winning a third term in office this year, “We have replaced a shipwrecked liberal democracy with a 21st-century Christian democracy, which guarantees people’s freedom, security. … It supports the traditional family model of one man and one woman, keeps anti-Semitism at bay, and gives a chance for growth.”
It is Mr. Orban’s critics who are being dishonest about their “progressive” agenda in Europe and what lies behind their definition of liberal democracy. I don’t support everything that Mr. Orban and some of his nationalist allies have done to restrict press freedom and the like, but as the saying goes, let those without sin cast the first stone. Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic are fighting the good fight against the leviathan of European socialism. They are trying to save their peoples from the destructive policies of Brussels.
That may be liberal or illiberal, but the conversation in the media on the debate and the stakes could use a whole lot more honesty.
• L. Todd Wood is a former special operations helicopter pilot and Wall Street debt trader, and has contributed to Fox Business, The Moscow Times, National Review, The New York Post and many other publications. He can be reached at LToddWood.com.