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Why is Defending a Hungarian Authoritarian?

March 11, 2013


What’s up with and Daniel McAdams being all about Viktor Orban in Hungary?

It fits with Paul Hollander’s thesis in Political Pilgrims about why leftist intellectuals supported communist dictatorships during the 20th century: Seeing the human-rights violations, imperialism, and general abuse of Western governments, the communists must not be so bad. The West has propagandized against the Soviet utopia (Or Cuban, Chinese, or Yugoslavian), lying about repression and prison camps to deceive the populace into remaining under the capitalist yolk.

Analogously, the thought process might be: The European Union is bad; therefore, when any country argues against the EU, they must be good. Orban was an anti-communist leader in Hungary, so the former communists must be trying to punish, restrain, and control him. It can’t be that Orban, like so many American politicians LRC loves to criticize, seeks to expand his power and control, so he’s making an argument about the EU encroaching upon Hungarian democracy and sovereignty.

The support highlights a problem with applying American political dichotomies to a situation such as Hungary’s. The political developments in Hungary aren’t favorable for individual rights or the rule of law. Especially considering that, according to NPR, “97 percent of Hungary’s development funds over the past years have been provided by the EU,” Orban’s political posturing that Hungary will not stand “to be dictated to by anyone from Brussels or anywhere else” doesn’t sound like principled opposition to the European Union.

Aside from a lack of information and general ignorance, I can’t understand why LRC would allow someone to propagandize for Orban in such a manner. Nor can I understand its argument about the importance of democracy and sovereignty, as LRC doesn’t desire democracy that much anyway.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Daniel McAdams permalink
    March 18, 2013 3:20 pm

    How much do you know about Hungary? What exactly have you read about it beyond AP stories? Perhaps you should read a little more before. A democratically-elected leader brought to power in free and fair elections is resisting unelected bureaucrats of the European Commission as they go beyond their authority and become involved in matters outside their legal purview for political reasons — and it is the democratically-elected who acting undemocratic? So it is undemocratic for a duly elected head of state to resist encroachment by an unelected body. Yeah…that makes sense.


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