Last week, Viktor Orbán, the fascist, right-wing Hungarian dictator, delivered a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas that touted off the predictable racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, and xenophobic laundry list of grievances that are his stock and trade.
“I can already see tomorrow’s headlines,” Orbán said “‘Far-right European racist, and anti-Semite strongman — the Trojan horse of Putin — holds speech at conservative conference.”
Really, it wasn’t much of a surprise that Orbán would trek down such a dark path, given the fact the Hitler-praising autocrat has routinely trafficked in such abominable dogma. In fact, a recent diatribe late last month prompted one of his advisors to resign.
Zsuzsa Hegedus, who is Jewish and served as an adviser to Orbán for more than 20 years, abruptly quit after citing what she referred to as his “illiberal turn.” She denounced the abhorrent comments he made in Romania as a “pure Nazi text worthy of (Nazi propagandist Joseph) Goebbels,” according to her resignation letter, which was published by Hungarian news outlet HVG.
Orbán was also denounced by the International Auschwitz Committee after comments in the same speech that were interpreted as a joke about the use of gas chambers against Jewish people in Nazi Germany. Orbán told a crowd that Europeans do not want to racially integrate with people from outside of the continent.
“This is why we have always fought: We are willing to mix with one another, but we do not want to become peoples of mixed race,” Orbán said, according to news reports.
Needless to say, such rhetoric is straight up white supremacy.
Some conservatives, including Dalibor Rohac of the American Enterprise Institute and Matt Welch of Reason Magazine, have denounced Orbán and decried those who have embraced both him and his rhetoric. Yet Orbán remains a darling of the extreme right-wing.
Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Lauren Boebert, Greg Abbott, Ben Carson, Seth Dillon and dozens of conservative leaders delivered speeches during the same event as the Hungarian dictator. Beyond rhetorical and ideological concurrence, Viktor Orbán has become deeply immersed with American far-right politicians. Many of them who seem undeterred, or at a minimum, indifferent, by his unabashed, adamant embrace of the racist “great replacement” theory.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised, given the reality that a significant segment have adopted Orbán’s staunchly anti-immigrant platform. Indeed, Orbán and the American right have been deepening their cooperation toward these illiberal goals. In addition to delivering the keynote speech at a CPAC meeting in Hungary this past May, Orbán also delivered the keynote address at a CPAC meeting in Hungary that included Republican congressmen Andy Harris and Mike Waltz, among others. Shameless opportunist and previously twice failed talk show pundit Tucker Carlson took the opportunity to broadcast his primetime show for a week from Budapest.
What does it say about the state of American conservatism that a prominent conservative organization like CPAC is routinely promoting a leader who issued blatantly acrimonious screeds against “race mixing” in such racist language that one of his most senior and trusted advisors resigned? Yet, he appeared on the same CPAC stage as a former commander-in-chief of more than 20 members of Congress.
“The fact that American conservatives seem to admire him and think of him as someone to emulate really reveals the true colors of that wing of the Republican Party and American conservative movement,” stated Robert C. Lieberman, co-author of “Four Threats: The Recurring Crises of American Democracy.” “It’s one thing when Tucker Carlson says nice things about him on television or does his show from Budapest (last summer). It’s even another thing when CPAC has a meeting in Budapest (in May). But I think having Orbán standing up in the United States as a mouthpiece for this movement is taking that to another level of potential harm.”
American democracy faces a serious attack from a ruthless faction of the right who harbor a fierce hatred of immigrants, Jews, non-Christians, LGBTQ people, and other groups who do not fit within their myopic viewpoint of who supposedly “real” Americans are. Now, sensing they have the political winds at their backs, they have every intention of avidly capitalizing on their sinister agenda to engage odious forms of mistreatment against all those they perceive as unworthy of human dignity. They must be combated with unbridled passion, force and resistance.
Copyright 2022 Elwood Watson, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate
Elwood Watson is a professor of history, Black studies, and gender and sexuality studies at East Tennessee State University. He is also an author and public speaker.