Viktor Victorious

CommentaryI almost feel sorry for Anne Applebaum. Here she has been railing against evil chaps like Viktor Orbán for who knows how many years. Nevertheless, the benighted people of Hungary just handed him a crushing victory. And it was not only Orbán who won. His Fidesz party also picked up a slew of seats. They now control 135 out of 199 seats in the Hungarian Parliament. Sadness is abroad in what Sohrab Ahmari calls “global liberaldom.” St. Matthew would have called it “fletus et stridor dentium”: “wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Why didn’t the voters listen to Anne Applebaum (and Bill Kristol, Jennifer Rubin, Max Boot, and other anti-populist globalists)? Why? According to The Narrative,™ it’s because Hungary isn’t, not really, a democracy. “If Hungary really votes overwhelmingly against democracy and for corruption,” wailed one EU-minded Twitterer, “I cannot see why it should be accepted in the EU. Kick it out!” Let’s parse that. If a people votes for someone we don’t like, it’s not democracy. We’ve seen that here in the United States. In 2016, the people voted for Donald Trump. But that was intolerable. Hillary Clinton was the anointed candidate. She was a shoo in. Donald (said the brethren) is ridiculous, repugnant, impossible. Ergo, his victory in a free and open election was “anti-democratic.” The wrong person won. The victory, therefore, is illegitimate. In America, that is, “democracy” means “Democrats win.” It’s hard, I know, to get one’s mind around the logic. But that’s chiefly because the persuasive motor here isn’t reason, not logic, but power. For the Clintonistas, “democracy” means their right to rule. Voting? Sure, they’re in favor of voting. But Stalin had voting; so did Castro. For them, as for America’s regime party, voting isn’t the expression of the will of the people. It’s a process of certification. The right candidate had already been selected. Voting was, at bottom, a matter of acclamation. So it was supposed to be in Hungary. Knowledgeable observers, even those sympathetic to Orbán, worried that a change was nigh. Orbán has been in power since 2010. Many people felt that it was someone else’s turn. How horrible is Viktor Orbán? Cover the ears of children and maiden aunts. Orbán had been friendly with Donald Trump. He is, right now, today, friendly with Putin, at least officially. Even worse, he’s friendly with Tucker Carlson, who made him the subject of a friendly interview in Budapest some months ago. Beyond the company he keeps, Orbán is a conservative Christian. He’s also a Hungarian nationalist. “The Western liberals,” he told Carlson, “cannot accept that inside the Western civilization, there is a conservative national alternative which is more successful at everyday life than the liberal ones.” “America First is a very positive message here in Central Europe,” he said. “If, for Donald Trump, ‘America First,’ [then] for us, Hungary could be first as well.” In 2015, in a speech that Christopher Caldwell called “probably the most important by a Western statesman this century,” Orbán said that “Hungary must protect its ethnic and cultural composition. I am convinced that Hungary has the right—and every nation has the right—to say that it does not want its country to change.” Horrors! How un-EU-like! I had something to say about Orbán in this space last year when his electoral prospects seemed much less rosy. One major impetus to Orbán’s success is down to Vladimir Putin. The Hungarians do not like Russia. They do like Ukraine. They disapprove of Putin’s invasion of their neighbor. Nevertheless, as Rod Dreher points out, “a strong majority of them do not want Hungary to get involved in the war.” Why? Many reasons, but energy comes at the top of the list. Hungary gets some 80 percent of its natural gas from Russia. “The Hungarians,” Dreher notes, “prefer not to freeze in the dark next winter for the sake of Ukraine.” Is that selfish? Or is it merely practical? The globalists, it almost goes without saying, think that the Hungarians should freeze for the sake of their high-minded foreign policy—just so long as they themselves do not have to do so. Over at Powerline, Steven Hayward has an amusing take on the tongue-clucking response to Orbán’s victory. Quoting from an unhappy news article in The Wall Street Journal, Hayward does a little compare and contrast. The Wall Street Journal sniffs that in Hungary “nearly all the largest TV and radio stations have been bought up by Mr. Orbán’s political allies.” Unlike, say, in the United States where such a situation could never occur, right? Again, the Wall Street Journal deplores the fact that Orbán used his majority in parliament “to rewrite election laws, redraw voting districts, and permit mail-in ballots without identity verification from communities that favor him.” Sound familiar? But here’s the kicker. “It is said that Orbán is too close to, or sympathetic to, Putin,” Haywa

Viktor Victorious

Commentary

I almost feel sorry for Anne Applebaum.

Here she has been railing against evil chaps like Viktor Orbán for who knows how many years.

Nevertheless, the benighted people of Hungary just handed him a crushing victory.

And it was not only Orbán who won. His Fidesz party also picked up a slew of seats.

They now control 135 out of 199 seats in the Hungarian Parliament.

Sadness is abroad in what Sohrab Ahmari calls “global liberaldom.”

St. Matthew would have called it “fletus et stridor dentium”: “wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

Why didn’t the voters listen to Anne Applebaum (and Bill Kristol, Jennifer Rubin, Max Boot, and other anti-populist globalists)? Why?

According to The Narrative,™ it’s because Hungary isn’t, not really, a democracy.

“If Hungary really votes overwhelmingly against democracy and for corruption,” wailed one EU-minded Twitterer, “I cannot see why it should be accepted in the EU. Kick it out!”

Let’s parse that.

If a people votes for someone we don’t like, it’s not democracy.

We’ve seen that here in the United States.

In 2016, the people voted for Donald Trump.

But that was intolerable.

Hillary Clinton was the anointed candidate. She was a shoo in. Donald (said the brethren) is ridiculous, repugnant, impossible.

Ergo, his victory in a free and open election was “anti-democratic.”

The wrong person won.

The victory, therefore, is illegitimate.

In America, that is, “democracy” means “Democrats win.”

It’s hard, I know, to get one’s mind around the logic.

But that’s chiefly because the persuasive motor here isn’t reason, not logic, but power.

For the Clintonistas, “democracy” means their right to rule.

Voting? Sure, they’re in favor of voting.

But Stalin had voting; so did Castro.

For them, as for America’s regime party, voting isn’t the expression of the will of the people.

It’s a process of certification.

The right candidate had already been selected. Voting was, at bottom, a matter of acclamation.

So it was supposed to be in Hungary.

Knowledgeable observers, even those sympathetic to Orbán, worried that a change was nigh.

Orbán has been in power since 2010. Many people felt that it was someone else’s turn.

How horrible is Viktor Orbán?

Cover the ears of children and maiden aunts.

Orbán had been friendly with Donald Trump. He is, right now, today, friendly with Putin, at least officially.

Even worse, he’s friendly with Tucker Carlson, who made him the subject of a friendly interview in Budapest some months ago.

Beyond the company he keeps, Orbán is a conservative Christian.

He’s also a Hungarian nationalist.

“The Western liberals,” he told Carlson, “cannot accept that inside the Western civilization, there is a conservative national alternative which is more successful at everyday life than the liberal ones.”

“America First is a very positive message here in Central Europe,” he said. “If, for Donald Trump, ‘America First,’ [then] for us, Hungary could be first as well.”

In 2015, in a speech that Christopher Caldwell called “probably the most important by a Western statesman this century,” Orbán said that “Hungary must protect its ethnic and cultural composition. I am convinced that Hungary has the right—and every nation has the right—to say that it does not want its country to change.”

Horrors! How un-EU-like!

I had something to say about Orbán in this space last year when his electoral prospects seemed much less rosy.

One major impetus to Orbán’s success is down to Vladimir Putin.

The Hungarians do not like Russia. They do like Ukraine.

They disapprove of Putin’s invasion of their neighbor.

Nevertheless, as Rod Dreher points out, “a strong majority of them do not want Hungary to get involved in the war.”

Why? Many reasons, but energy comes at the top of the list.

Hungary gets some 80 percent of its natural gas from Russia.

“The Hungarians,” Dreher notes, “prefer not to freeze in the dark next winter for the sake of Ukraine.”

Is that selfish?

Or is it merely practical?

The globalists, it almost goes without saying, think that the Hungarians should freeze for the sake of their high-minded foreign policy—just so long as they themselves do not have to do so.

Over at Powerline, Steven Hayward has an amusing take on the tongue-clucking response to Orbán’s victory.

Quoting from an unhappy news article in The Wall Street Journal, Hayward does a little compare and contrast.

The Wall Street Journal sniffs that in Hungary “nearly all the largest TV and radio stations have been bought up by Mr. Orbán’s political allies.”

Unlike, say, in the United States where such a situation could never occur, right?

Again, the Wall Street Journal deplores the fact that Orbán used his majority in parliament “to rewrite election laws, redraw voting districts, and permit mail-in ballots without identity verification from communities that favor him.”

Sound familiar?

But here’s the kicker. “It is said that Orbán is too close to, or sympathetic to, Putin,” Hayward notes.

But remember when Hillary Clinton presented the Russians with a red “reset” button “for closer relations”?

It wasn’t that long ago.

Nor was it so long ago that President Barack Obama told Russia’s then president to hold tight: Tell Vladimir, he said, that he’d have “more flexibility” after the election to accommodate the Russians on missile defense.

Orbán’s victory is a triumph for Hungarians.

It’s also a welcome talisman for anti-globalist patriots in the West.

It’s only the Anne Applebaums, Klaus Schwabs, and Goldman Sachs of the world who are in mourning.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


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Roger Kimball is the editor and publisher of The New Criterion and publisher of Encounter Books. His most recent book is “The Critical Temper: Interventions from The New Criterion at 40.”