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Is Hungary a Model for the American Right?

by Mises Wire Tamás Klein

In recent years, my homeland, Hungary, a small country in central-eastern Europe, has captured the attention of the American public, particularly those on the political Right. Led by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s government has championed a somewhat “Pat Buchanan” style of conservatism, with a strong emphasis on putting the interests of Hungarian families first and resisting supranational political powers, such as the federalist bureaucrats of the European Union, globalist nongovernmental organizations like the Open Society Foundation backed by George Soros, mass immigration, and other threats to its national sovereignty. Viktor Orbán’s unapologetic embrace of right-wing sovereigntism and noninterventionist foreign policy offers valuable lessons and points of inspiration for the American Right. However, like all states, Hungary is far from being a perfect model; thus, Americans should be cautious when trying to learn from it.

Dispelling the Smears

First, it is unfortunately necessary to address and dispel at least some of the most common smears perpetuated by leftists in mainstream Western media. Hungary’s leader, Viktor Orbán, is often portrayed as a puppet of Russian president Vladimir Putin, a narrative that conveniently overlooks the geopolitical realities of the region. While Orbán does maintain good diplomatic relations with Russia—as do many other nations—insinuating that he is under Putin’s thumb is just as unfounded as was the Trump-Russia hoax.

The reality is that there is a historical minority of about one hundred twenty-five thousand Hungarians living in Transcarpathia, a territory that was unjustly taken away from Hungary after World War I and is currently being occupied by the Ukrainian regime. As any sober-thinking person would realize, Orbán is understandably making sure that the Russian artillery and Air Force do not target his people. Furthermore, Hungary has been dependent on Russian natural gas ever since the communist era, a fact Orbán has endeavored to change. Orbán, being the leader of Hungary and not Ukraine nor the European Union, is first and foremost responsible for the well-being of his people and is completely in the right when refusing to satisfy the absurd demands of the Western Left in Washington and Brussels about completely cutting its diplomatic relationships with Russia.

Moreover, even though Orbán could have refused to take in refugees from Ukraine, a country that has been terrorizing its Hungarian minority for decades, he decided to provide refuge for the innocent civilians trying to flee this war. But, of course, almost no one in the West gave him credit for his actions. As Paul Gottfried rightly pointed out,

The media have said little about the world’s “largest democracy,” India, also buying energy from Russia and remaining conspicuously neutral in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. There is a good reason for that lack of indignation. Since India is predominantly non-Christian, lies outside the West, and has a relatively dark-skinned population, the media is not going to hold that country to the same PC standard as a non-woke Western state.

But Viktor Orbán, as the leader of a white Christian country, is, of course, held to different standards; but what is this double standard if not antiwhite racism?


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