Duly Noted – Famously Infamous

Duly Noted

 

About a “troublemaker” who says that we need to end the liberal era and revert to democracy.

 

There are persons that are assigned a perennial role in the news. Often they are presented packaged in negative judgments. Typically, if the matter is deemed to be non-PC, the world’s troubles –especially those caused in the commentator’s corner- are attributed to these “extremist Nazi-tainted populists”. (Warning: do not connect a Leftist to Stalinism and that to evil.) The casual follower of the news, does not find out about the actual positions of these pariahs.

 

For long, such case in the writer’s mind has been Hungary’s Premier. Due to the bias for the trivial of the news that is fed to Americans, you have not read much about the Premier and what you have heard had been edited-to-condemn. Most of such mentions are not original findings but second-hand “truths” confirmed by repetition. For years, the cult of distortion made Duly Noted want to correct it. Wise, if not courageous, counsel prevailed to desist. Given a shared background, the suspicion of bias arises –as it does when an insider knows more than casual outsiders do. The distance from a topic can result in an ignorance that will claim impartiality.

 

The text below, edited for brevity, is based on an interview the PM Orbán (O) gave to the Weltwoche (WW) which is a bold and tradition-rich Swiss weekly.

 

For some time now, Europe’s politicians are talking of adopting –albeit in a watered-down version, Orbán’s original suggestions for coping with illegal migration experienced as an inundation. Therefore, WW inquired if he is now being asked for advice, and whether there are apologies from his new imitators. O: On the stairways the tone of the discussions differs considerably from the chiding official line.

 

The tradition of free give and take is not practiced any more by leaders –and it is getting rarer in the media, too. Migration’s pressure might have contributed, but honest plain talk is receding within the governing elite. Whoever represents anything other than the “euroliberal mainstream”, winds up isolated. (The term harks back to a vintage “Orbánism”: Given practiced liberalism’s failures, Hungary is not striving to be such a liberal republic.)

Here the Left is cleverer than the EU’s conservatives. Political correctness has transformed the EU into a royal court that demands proper behavior. Too bad, as migration challenges’ threaten Europe’s identity. What you hear about that is uninspired, and therefore it is a chance lost.

WW: Is there no era of greater honesty dawning? O: Europe’s elite debates only soft secondary themes. Nice topics, such as human rights, peace, tolerance. The public discourse avoids the question where such things originate, and thus it shuns freedom, Christianity, the nation, and what we can be proud of. Brutally put: we are limited to Euro-liberal babble.

WW: will the existential aspect of migration make Europe recognize the seriousness of the situation? O: The matter is embarrassing. We have excellent intelligence services, yet we are made to believe that the crisis is unexpected. WW: You mean that one could anticipate what is coming at us? O: It is difficult to dismiss the idea. For months the discussions concluded “let them in.” At first one could not say that our existence is at stake. For month the humanitarian matter and then the technical issue of where to put up the crowd dominated. No one dared to mention that at issue are our cultural identity and our way of life. One has to suspect that all this had not been accidental, that something akin to a masterplan might be in the background.

WW: whose Masterplan? O: We need to commence with leftist publications that sell a super-state. Perusing them I discover that they advocate a reduced role for nation-states and are for a direct connection between the individual and the super-state. The Left here, and radical American Democrats, have developed a theory for a new world.

Migration is seen as a chance. All indicators tell that once nationalized, these migrants will vote left: so, leftist voters are imported into Europe. Merkel is no radical but still, Germany is the key. The inflow would abate if she would say “We are SRO; it is all over”. I have told her that repeatedly. WW: what was her response? O: that the matter is more complicated. Merkel is right-of-center, but she heads a coalition with the Social Democrats. The SPD refuses to say that the country is jam-packed and rejects elementary controls.

WW: Does this not demonstrate that the EU is unable to protect its borders and to respect her own laws? O: The impression has arisen prior to this crisis, such as in the case of Greece. Our economies are floundering and new giant players appear. The European is convinced that his leaders are ineffectual. Also, the migration crisis has created an impression that pertains to democracy. Who the devil has imposed this policy? The question of our identity and preventing terrorism should have been discussed with the citizenry. No one has given Merkel a mandate for this and even now there is no intention to consult the people whose opinions are being ignored.

WW: What might be the reason for this? O: Nowadays Liberalism does not stand for Liberty but for PC, which is its opposite. Elitist politics are the upshot. So people notice that their view does not count and thereby the stability of the EU is threatened. This not only due to the volume of migration but also because the reputation of democracy is undermined by those that abuse democracy and their power. At the outset, the EU has not been undemocratic and unwilling to listen to its citizens. This cannot continue, we must consult our people.

Whether this happens depends primarily on the Germans. First, the problem needs to be named: they talk of a refugee crisis, we talk about a migration crisis. Furthermore, there is the matter of security. If you allow someone to enter your home, you should know who that person is.

We also disagree about the size of the problem. Some talk about hundreds of thousands, we about a million, multiplied by four because of the relatives that will follow in a year. These people are made to believe that they are wanted, which makes migration risk free. Add here that the Africans are also beginning to move, which demands that we develop a sensible policy. Such masses make the problem far larger than western European politicians can imagine.

WW: How to stop the stream? O: They say, an extraordinary problem demands an extraordinary response, however, in this case it would suffice to apply our existing laws. That should not be too complicated. If the Greeks would follow Schengen rules there would be no problem. If the Greeks cannot do that then we need to erect a secondary defense. It is not true what some leaders say, namely, that we need to accept events as they unfold as there is no way to resist them.

WW: Would you still be for Hungary’s EU membership? O: I would be because my horizon is historical. If we would not be members we could find ourselves in the position of the Ukraine. To many, our place in Europe is ambivalent: if we do not want to be crushed between two worlds, we need the EU. Our identity is at stake. In case we would be located further in the West, my answer would be less categorical.

WW: Does Merkel have a plan? O: Her coalition partner pursues a leftist vision which limits her. Additionally, there are the Turks. These drive a hard bargain and one cannot get a deal if they think that Europe has no alternative. Therefore, we must protect Europe’s borders in Greece. I must admit that earlier Turkey has not always received fair treatment. The pride of nations should always be respected. Thus, while concentrating on Greece, we should tell the Turks “a deal is better than no deal, but we can help ourselves without one”.

WW: Should the Greeks close their border? O: Yes, but they are reluctant to do that. I do wonder why we accept this. We should say “We have helped you in your crisis. You have, as an EU member, obligations as far as the borders are concerned. Get on with it”.

The Greeks are not pushed to fulfill their duty. Also, the migration has not entered “just so” our turf –we are its motor and we are the ones that transport the migrants north. This crisis has three main actors, they are the human traffickers, the political activists, and most governments. What a strange coalition! Our actions make us partners of the coyotes. Yet Hungary, the only land to take the Schengen rules seriously, has been attacked for doing that (closing the border).

WW: What do other leaders tell you when you present your case. O: They say that our border fence is good for Hungary but that the migration takes another route to threaten Europe. My answer: The problem would be solved if the others would also do their duty.

WW: How many migrants are refugees? O: By the criteria of the Geneva Convention it is zero because it knows no “asylum à la carte”. Once in a safe country, there is no right to demand shelter in another one. We have sympathy for those who need help and provide it for women and children first. However, we do not see a legal reason for granting refugee status. How can someone leave Austria to request refuge in Germany? WW: Your critics say that this is too legalistic. O: actually, the issue is how we define our responsibility toward those that flee war. I believe that our duty does not include the offering to these people a life in Europe; it is to enable them to return to their old lives once their country regains its stability. Some leaders take here positions that are tainted by a guilt feeling caused by their society’s achievements.

WW: Do you see yourself as the only politician that had grasped the situation? O: Several leaders share my views, but in public, they take a contrary position. Not the lack of courage is the reason. The ability to interpret reality is monopolized by the Left. To face them about values demands strong support and not all of them get that from their voters as I do. It has not been my childhood dream to be the bad guy; in view of the conditions I must do the job that no one else can.

WW: Do we not witness in Europe a rise of conservative forces? O: That might be true, but from the intellectual perspective, the Right is not yet as competitive as is the Left. The struggle for the media and the universities has been lost by our parents. However, let me mention a few positives. Some concepts that one was not allowed to mention in the past are reappearing in the public discussion. Take “borders” or “nation”. Now one can point out that borders bring advantages. Politicians, me included, are advised to avoid to mention “Christianity” because most Europeans do not identify as Christians. The “pride in the nation” became mentionable. We again ponder the identity of our continent. Security is taken more seriously, even if for decades, Europe presumed it is secure by the grace of God. National solutions are gaining ground, while earlier common solutions were always marketed as having “no alternative”.

WW: How would you define the threat to Europe’s existence? O: We, enlightened and said-to-be liberal Europeans have assumed that all other peoples are the way we are. If we would migrate to Syria, we would try to become participants of life there; we would accept the country’s ways and we would not think to make her adjust to our ways. So we assumed that aliens here will act way we would there. That, however, is not the case as they have their own way and wish to hold on to it. Christian Europe, which is a cultural term, has a discernible and shared identity. This does not necessarily mean that it is better than Islam’s, which, however, has other values and ways than ours are. Europe should not isolate itself but it must not give up its fundaments either. Threats exists because we have unlearned to fight for our convictions. We should say “These are our values, this is the way we wish to live and these things we will defend”. When I talk in Brussels about that, they look at me as though I would come from the cave.

WW: Do you have any allies? O: The Brits are good allies because they cultivate common sense. They do not discuss whether we have a Christian culture because that is not an opinion, but a fact. The Scandinavians can also have a position that departs from the mainstream.

WW: Should the EU move toward a free trade area or toward greater integration? O: There is no time to lose as ten thousand come daily, and once these are reunited with their families that means fifty thousand. Before discussing institutional change, we need to close the borders and ruin the business of the coyotes. Their profit is the motor of this migration. I am no fan of fences but to spoil that trade its customers need to be turned back. Our fence does that. It is cheaper to stop illegals at the border than to repatriate them, the more so as, some countries have the gall to resist involuntary repatriation. In our case the fence –condemned as heartless- has worked.

WW: how do you react to the idea of dispersing migrants according to a quota? O: This angers all Hungarians. We have not invited (Merkel is meant) anybody. Those that have issued invitations now want to send us their guests.

WW: Numerous politicians see in the migrant crisis an indicator that the lame EU has been fundamentally misconceived. O: The problem is not the EU but its leaders. The Union would function if its leaders would implement their own regulations. So the peoples wonder whether the construct holds water, therefore at issue is not migration but the institutions of the EU.

WW: earlier you had been supportive of the EU. And now? O: at present it is difficult to be enthusiastic. The fresco in this hall shows Hungarians defending Europe against the Ottomans. If you look at the churches it depicts, you notice that they are from abroad, as is Notre dame, Westminster Abbey, the Dome of Cologne. We mean it with the defense of the Judeo-Christian West and we do not plead against the EU, even if we want a better union. For that, fundamental reforms are required.

Duly Noted concludes with some observations. Once the leper of mainstream politicians and their media outlets, Orbán’s assessments, are gaining ground. Recent “Honorable Mentions” expresses that. A periodical has even declared him to be Europe’s most moving public figure. Another aspect of an improved image -due to events that confirm a courageously held opinion- is that, without acknowledging the source, earlier critics are now copying his notions. European leaders dislike Orbán, regardless of that, his stand has changed the terms of the debate.

Sadly, Europe, much in jeopardy, is deprived of optimal leadership. Orbán, whose “yes” is yes and whose “no” is no, is fit to stand up for Europe to mount the defense. However, Orbán comes from a small and disrespected country. Only a few know it and even fewer care about the accuracy of their information. This helps to dismiss the annoying truth the man presents as being as insignificant as is deemed its source. If Orbán would be British, French, German, his stated position that does not attempt to ignore reality, and which reflects the difference between “it is” and “the way they say it should be”, would be taken more seriously. In that case, Europe would have a leader of the sort it sorely needs, one that can take charge in the hour of growing need.

 

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