Tucker Carlson’s current visit to Budapest [has] liberal and Establishment conservative Twitter is going crazy about it.
I had dinner with Tucker last night in Budapest. We talked about why American conservatives should be interested in Hungary. We agreed that it is an example of a country where — unlike our own — conservatives have successfully fought against wokeness and other aspects of the liberal globalist agenda. …
You don’t have to agree with everything that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has done in order to come here, study what’s going on, and think about what lessons it might have for American conservatives, who have been routed by the Left and the Establishment Right, which apparently welcomes our new Woke Overlords, and would like to remind them that as trusted public intellectuals, they can be helpful at rounding up others.
The key insight about Orban is that he believes that the future of his nation and of Western civilization hangs in the balance. He’s right about that. His various strategies for how to address that existential challenge may be wise or correct, or ineffective or morally wrong, but what sets him apart from American conservative leaders is that he recognizes the nature of the crisis, and is prepared to act boldly to address it. He believes that contemporary Western liberalism has surrendered to a civilizational death wish. I prefer the (possibly flawed) ways that Orban is meeting the crisis than the ways that the American Right is failing to do same. …
The perfidious establishment right in America:
It is astonishing, but I guess not all that surprising, to read American commentators who heretofore had not said much of anything about Hungary discovering, now that Tucker is here, that Hungary is a dictatorial hellhole that all right-thinking people must denounce. It is remarkable watching their denunciations of right-wing illiberalism in Hungary as I struggle to recall how and when they raised their voices against left-wing illiberalism conquering US institutions and transforming America into a country many of us struggle to recognize.
For example, here’s a prominent Never Trump Republican:
What has Pete Wehner ever said to defend Christians, social conservatives, and others targeted by the various manifestations of wokeness that have emerged over the past five years?
I searched his entire output of writing, collected on the Ethics & Public Policy Center website, since September 2016, and found exactly zero columns attacking any manifestation of wokeness. The only column critical of left-wing radicalization was a single Atlantic column — April 3, 2019 — lamenting the radicalization of the Democratic Party as made manifest in Bernie Sanders’ popularity. That’s it.
Know how many columns and op-eds Wehner wrote directly attacking Trump and Trumpism since today’s date in 2016? Sixty-five, out of 122 things he has written (collected on the website of the EPPC, where he is a fellow). Opposing Trump and what he stands for has been the overwhelming theme of Pete Wehner’s written output over the past five years, accounting for just over half of his output. …
The Establishment-class conservatives are too obsessed with politicians like Donald Trump and Viktor Orban to object to [wokeness] — not that they would, because they have already reconciled themselves to the cultural revolution, and are busy constructing rationales for it. Most of the Trumpy rebels are wasting their energy and their minds on ridiculous own-the-libs performative stunts that give right-wingers the feeling of having done something, but which in fact do little or nothing to stop the woke consolidation of power in American life.
The American Left and its Establishment-conservative fellow travelers do not recognize the left-illiberal, soft totalitarian nature of the order they are bringing into existence. Bizarrely, neither do most on the Trumpy American Right, who seem to think that as long as we keep voting Republican and holding the right lib-owning views, that will be enough to protect our liberties.
Silicon Valley and Woke Capitalism are already laying down the rudiments of a social credit system. Where is the sustained opposition to this from the Right? Are there GOP lawmakers thinking of legislation to stop it? If not, why not?
The real fascists:
The US Left does not actually want diversity. It wants ideological uniformity — or else. The American Left has no problem with corporations threatening economic punishments to conservative American states whose democratically accountable legislatures pass laws that the corporations don’t like. Have you seen the Pete Wehners of the Right object to this? Of course you haven’t. Ideological coercion is fine as long as it is coercing democratic majorities to march leftward, or face losing their livelihoods.
Which is the only power capable of standing up to Woke Capitalists, as well as these illiberal leftists in academia, media, sports, cultural institutions, and other places? The state. That’s it. This is disorienting to Anglo-American conservatives, who are accustomed to seeing the state as the enemy, and institutions of civil society, especially business, as friends of freedom. It’s no longer true, and people on the Right who want to fight soft totalitarianism had better start to understand this. This is why American conservatives ought to be beating a path to Hungary and Poland (as well as to Spain, to talk to the Vox party, and to other European countries to learn from non-Establishment populist parties).
Tucker To Hungary is a kind of Nixon To China for conservative American intellectuals and thought leaders. He got here first. He won’t be the last. The unhappy truth is that liberalism as we Americans have known it is probably dead. Our future is almost certainly going to be left-illiberal or right-illiberal. It’s not the future I would prefer, but we are not being given a choice here.
hat-tip Stephen Neil