Of the nearly 200 different counties on the face of the earth, precisely one of them has an elected leader who publicly identifies a western-style conservative. His name is Viktor Orban, and he’s the prime minister of Hungary.
Hungary is a small country in the middle of Central Europe. It has no navy, it has no nuclear weapons. Its GDP is smaller than New York state’s. You wouldn’t think leaders in Washington would pay much attention to Hungary, but they do, obsessively.
By rejecting the tenets of neoliberalism, Viktor Orban has personally offended them and enraged them. What does Orban believe? Just a few years ago, his views would have seemed moderate and conventional. He thinks families are more important than banks. He believes countries need borders. For saying these things out loud, Orban has been vilified. Left-wing NGO’s have denounced him as a fascist, a destroyer of democracy.
Last fall, Joe Biden suggested he’s a totalitarian dictator. Official Washington despises Viktor Orban so thoroughly that many, including neocons in and around the State Department, are backing the open anti-semites running against him in next April’s elections in Hungary.
We’ve watched all of this from the United States, and wondered if what we’d heard could be true. This week we came to Hungary to see for ourselves. We sat down with Orban for a couple of long conversations.
But first, a word about Hungary. Even if you understand that the American media lie, it’s always bewildering to see the extent of their dishonesty. Nothing prepares you for it. We’ve read many times how repressive Hungary is.
Freedom House, an NGO in Washington funded almost exclusively by the U.S. government, describes the country as less free than South Africa, with fewer civil liberties. That’s not just wrong. It’s insane.
In fact, if you live in the United States, it is bitter to see the contrast between, say, Budapest and New York City. Let’s say you lived in a big American city and you decided to loudly and publicly attack Joe Biden’s policies, on immigration or COVID or transgender athletes. If you kept talking like that, you would likely be silenced by Biden’s allies in Silicon Valley. If you kept it up, you might very well have to hire armed bodyguards. That’s common in the U.S. Ask around.
But it’s unknown in Hungary. Opposition figures here don’t worry they’ll be hurt for their opinions. Neither, by the way, does the prime minister. Orban regularly drives by himself with no security. So who’s freer? In what country are you more likely to lose your job for disagreeing with ruling class orthodoxy? The answer’s pretty obvious, though if you’re an American, it’s painful to admit it, as we’ve discovered.