Is Hungary the Last Remaining European Country?
Disobedient Hungary: From the Soviet to the European Union
Regime Change in Budapest?
By Diana Johnstone
CNN recently discovered a paradox. How was it possible, they asked, that in 1989, Viktor Orban, at the time a Western-acclaimed liberal opposition leader, was calling for Soviet troops to leave Hungary, and now that he is Prime Minister, he is cozying up to Vladimir Putin?
For the same reason, dummy.
Orban wanted his country to be independent then, and he wants it to be independent now.
In 1989, Hungary was a satellite of the Soviet Union. Whatever Hungarians wanted, they had to follow directives from Moscow and adhere to Soviet communist ideology.
Today, Hungary is ordered to follow directives from Brussels and adhere to the EU ideology, a k a “our common values”.
But what exactly are those “common values”?
Not so very, very long ago, “the West”, that is, both America and Europe, claimed devotion to “Christian values”. Those values were evoked in Western condemnation of the Soviet Union.
That is out. These days, indeed, one of the reasons why Viktor Orban is considered a threat to our European values is his reference to a Hungarian conception of “the Christian character of Europe, the role of nations and cultures”. The revival of Christianity in Hungary, as in Russia, is regarded in the West as deeply suspect.
So it’s understood, Christianity is no longer a “Western value”. What has taken its place? That should be obvious: today “our common values” essentially mean democracy and free elections.
Guess again. Orban was recently re-elected by a landslide. Leading EU liberal Guy Verhofstadt called this “an electoral mandate to roll back democracy in Hungary.”
Since elections can “roll back democracy”, they cannot be the essence of “our common values”. People can vote wrong; that is called “populism” and is a bad thing.
The real, functional common values of the European Union are spelled out in its treaties: the four freedoms. No, not freedom of speech, since many Member States have laws against “hate speech”, which can cover a lot of ground since its meaning is open to wide interpretation.