Viktor Orbán Is Europe’s Future

I have formulated five tenets for the project of building up Central Europe. The first is

  1. that every European country has the right to defend its Christian culture, and the right to reject the ideology of multiculturalism. Our second tenet is that
  2. every country has the right to defend the traditional family model, and is entitled to assert that every child has the right to a mother and a father. The third Central European tenet is that
  3. every Central European country has the right to defend the nationally strategic economic sectors and markets which are of crucial importance to it.
  4. The fourth tenet is that every country has the right to defend its borders, and it has the right to reject immigration. And the fifth tenet is that
  5. every European country has the right to insist on the principle of one nation, one vote on the most important issues, and that this right must not be denied in the European Union. In other words, we Central Europeans claim that there is life beyond globalism, which is not the only path. Central Europe’s path is the path of an alliance of free nations.

 

..  a pattern in which matters in Europe have effectively been decided by competition between two camps: on one side, communities based on the continuing foundations of Christian tradition – let us call them Christian democratic parties; and, on the other side, the organisations of communities which question and reject tradition – let us call them left-wing liberal parties.

..  a situation can arise in one country or another whereby ten per cent or more of the total population is Muslim. We can be sure that they will never vote for a Christian party. And when we add to this Muslim population those of European origin who are abandoning their Christian traditions, then it will no longer be possible to win elections on the basis of Christian foundations.

Those groups preserving Christian traditions will be forced out of politics, and decisions about the future of Europe will be made without them. This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the situation, this is the goal, and this is how close we are to seeing it happen.

.. we must demonstrate that there is an alternative to liberal democracy: it is called Christian democracy. And we must show that the liberal elite can be replaced with a Christian democratic elite.

.. Christian democracy is not about defending religious articles of faith – in this case Christian religious articles of faith. Neither states nor governments have competence on questions of damnation or salvation. Christian democratic politics means that the ways of life springing from Christian culture must be protected. Our duty is not to defend the articles of faith, but the forms of being that have grown from them. These include

  1. human dignity,
  2. the family and
  3. the nation

– because Christianity does not seek to attain universality through the abolition of nations, but through the preservation of nations

.. The bait for this trap is hanging right in front of our noses: it is the claim that Christian democracy can also, in fact, be liberal. I suggest we stay calm and avoid being caught on that hook, because if we accept this argument, then the battle, the struggle we have fought so far will lose its meaning, and we will have toiled in vain. Let us confidently declare that Christian democracy is not liberal. Liberal democracy is liberal, while Christian democracy is, by definition, not liberal: it is, if you like, illiberal.

  1. .. And we can specifically say this in connection with a few important issues – say, three great issues. Liberal democracy is in favour of multiculturalism, while Christian democracy gives priority to Christian culture; this is an illiberal concept.
  2. Liberal democracy is pro-immigration, while Christian democracy is anti-immigration; this is again a genuinely illiberal concept.
  3. And liberal democracy sides with adaptable family models, while Christian democracy rests on the foundations of the Christian family model; once more, this is an illiberal concept.

.. Liberalism, he says, has become a system and a way of looking at the world that destroys nations and traditions, especially the Christian tradition. He’s right about that: it’s not a bug of liberalism, but a feature. It’s something that’s very hard for Americans to see, because we were founded as a liberal nation, and unlike contemporary Europe, we have not yet faced mass migration from non-Christian civilizations. For traditional Europeans, this is not an abstract discussion. They are fighting to save their civilization. If that requires illiberal democracy, fine.

.. they recognize that the kryptonite they’ve been able to use so effectively for so long to paralyze opposition no longer works on people like Orbán.

.. Americans rarely stop to ask if the people there actually want liberalism, at the expense of the things that make them a people.

.. Who is a more trustworthy contemporary steward of European faith and culture:

Viktor Orbán, or bishops who preach more immigration and more gay pride parades?

Steve Bannon: ‘China, Persia, and Turkey’ Forming ‘New Axis’ That’s ‘Confronting the Christian West’

Former Breitbart News Executive Chairman and White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon is warning of a “new axis” of powers that will confront “the Christian West.”

BANNON: What we’re seeing today is China, Persia, and Turkey—three ancient civilizations—coming together to form a new axis. It’s confronting the Christian West and also a big part of Islam that is tied to the West. You’re starting to see this form every day like in the 1930s. You’re starting to see it crystallize more and more. [Emphasis added]

.. GQ: Are you going to make a push to advance this idea of a “new axis”? How do you plan to do that?

BANNON: Absolutely. In this new entity that I’m setting up, part of it is—weaponizing ideas maybe is too strong a term—but getting ideas out there. One is economic nationalism, one is populism, one is this world that “America first” is coming into. And certainly I’ll be arguing this, or just pointing to the facts. [Emphasis added]

The religious right carries its golden calf into Steve Bannon’s battles

At the Family Research Council’s recent Values Voter Summit, the religious right effectively declared its conversion to Trumpism.

.. A time to live and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to uproot. A time to mourn and a time to embrace angry ethnonationalism and racial demagoguery. Yes, a time to mourn.

.. Evidently the Christian approach to social justice is miraculously identical to 1930s Republican protectionism, isolationism and nativism.
.. Rather than confidently and persistently representing a set of distinctive beliefs, they pant and beg to be a part of someone else’s movement. In this case, it is a movement that takes advantage of racial and ethnic divisions and dehumanizes Muslims, migrants and refugees.
.. If Christian conservatives are loyal enough, Bannon promises that they can be “the folks who saved the Judeo-Christian West.”
.. All that is required is to abandon the best of the Judeo-Christian tradition: a belief in the inherent value and dignity of every life.
.. It means that the primary mission of Christians in public life is not to secure their own interests or to defend their own identity. It is to seek a society in which every person can flourish. This is the definition of the common good — which is not truly common unless it includes the suffering and powerless.
.. If there is a single reason that Republican health-care reform has failed, it is because party leaders could not make a credible case that the common good was being served.
.. Who would now identify conservative Christian political engagement with the pursuit of the common good? Rather, the religious right is an interest group seeking preference and advancement from a strongman — and rewarding him with loyal acceptance of his priorities.
.. They are associating the teachings of Jesus Christ — a globalist when it came to the Great Commission — with ethnonationalist ideology. This should be a sobering prospect for any Christian. But few seem sobered. Instead, the faithful give standing ovations to the purveyors of division and prejudice.
.. When anyone or anything takes priority over the faith, there is a good, strong religious word for it: idolatry. And the word is unavoidable, as religious conservatives carry their golden calf into Bannon’s battles.

The Ghost of Steve Bannon

it is important to recall the three pillars of the Bannonite “America First” philosophy.

Earlier this year at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Bannon outlined them: national security and sovereignty; economic nationalism; and deconstruction of the administrative state.

.. As The Washington Post reported at the end of August, Trump continued to defy the wishes of his Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, including by reaching out to Bannon: “The president continues to call business friends and outside advisers, including former chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, from his personal phone when Kelly is not around, said people with knowledge of the calls.”

On Sept. 12, The Wall Street Journal reported that Bannon told a private group in Hong Kong that he “speaks with President Donald Trump every two to three days.”

Is Tom Cotton the Future of Trumpism?

The junior senator from Arkansas is a hybrid of insurgent and old guard.

At forty years old, Cotton is the youngest member of the Senate

.. when we hear that kind of ridicule, we hear them making fun of the way we look, and the way we talk, and the way we think.”

.. It was, on one level, a breathtaking leap—to equate mockery of a louche New York billionaire with attacks on the citizens of this small, conservative city, which lies across the Arkansas River from Oklahoma.

.. “Next to Trump, he’s the elected official who gets it the most—the economic nationalism.

.. Ben Sasse, of Nebraska, whose term is not up until 2020, said that, by threatening journalists, Trump was violating his oath to defend the Constitution.

.. “The President puts things sometimes in a way that I would not,” he said in early October. “But he was still nominated by our voters and elected by the American people to be our President, and if we want him to accomplish our agenda we need to set him up for success.”

.. From the beginning, Tom could play to both the establishment and the Tea Party. Everyone recognizes he’s got a firm set of conservative principles, but that makes him a polarizing figure. There are a lot of people here, too, who hate him and think he’s the Antichrist. The only thing everyone agrees on is that he wants to be President someday.”

.. To make that next leap, Cotton expresses the militarism, bellicosity, intolerance, and xenophobia of Donald Trump, but without the childish tweets.

.. He and his supporters see Trump and Trumpism as the future of the Republican Party.

.. He was the one who told us about John Kelly,” the former Marine Corps general who is now Trump’s chief of staff

.. after Cotton spoke out against a quick deal to protect the Dreamers, Trump made a formal proposal to Congress that attached many strings Cotton had demanded.

.. Trump gave Cotton a victory on the touchstone issue of his Senate career by decertifying Iran’s compliance with the nuclear-arms deal

.. “Putting aside the issue of technical compliance or noncompliance, it’s clear that the agreement is not in our national interest.”

.. “One thing I learned in the Army is that when your opponent is on his knees you drive him to the ground and choke him out.” In response, a questioner pointed out that killing a prisoner of war is not “American practice.” (It is, in fact, a war crime.)

.. in North Korea, Cotton supports Trump’s brinkmanship with Kim Jong Un

.. one recent report suggested that the President would name him director of the C.I.A. if Mike Pompeo, the current director, were to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.

.. Cotton would ratify the President’s instincts. He offers Trump a certainty that matches his own

..  “The Democratic Party has drifted away from them,” Tom told me, as his parents sat nearby. “Bill Clinton would be repudiated by his own party today.

.. I wrote against sacred cows, such as the cult of diversity, affirmative action, conspicuous compassion and radical participatory democracy. I wrote in favor of taboo notions, such as Promise Keepers, student apathy, honor and (most unforgivably) conservativism.”

.. The letter combined outrage, overstatement, and savvy politics in a manner that Trump would perfect a decade later.

.. “ ‘God, guns, and gays’—social issues—were driving white conservatives to the Republicans all along

.. It is impossible not to see race as a central element in the fall of the Democratic Party here

.. “It took a black President to bring out the threat.”

.. “I would always say to my liberal white friends, ‘Oh, come on, surely it’s gotten better.’ And they’d say to me, ‘Oh, no, it hasn’t. You can’t believe what white people say about Obama in private—he’s Kenyanhe’s Muslim, they’d call him unprintable racial epithets.’ ”

.. I think a lot of people in Arkansas thought he was ‘uppity,’ to use the old smear.”

.. Cotton also benefitted from enormous outside spending by conservative groups, including some affiliated with the Koch brothers

.. outside groups spent twenty-three million dollars for Cotton, compared with fourteen million for Pryor.

.. Democrats in Arkansas had a special reason to disdain Obama: “It wasn’t because Barack Obama was black, it was because Barack Obama stopped the Clinton restoration.”

.. About three hundred thousand people, which amounts to more than ten per cent of the state’s population, have taken advantage of the law to obtain health insurance.

.. The program is not called Obamacare but, rather, Arkansas Works.

.. “If you live in a big city and you work in an office building, immigration is almost an unalloyed good for you. . . . It makes the price of services that you pay for a little bit more affordable—whether it’s your nanny to take care of your kids for you, or landscaping your yard, or pedicures, manicures, that sort of thing. And you get a lot of exciting new fusion restaurants as well.

“But if you live and work in a community where they have a large illegal-immigrant population

  • that’s straining the public school,
  • that’s clogging up the emergency room when you’re trying to get care,
  • that makes it more dangerous to drive in the roads because people don’t have driver’s licenses or they don’t have insurance,
  • or if they are bidding down the wages or even taking jobs away from you, then it doesn’t look nearly so good,”

.. Most economists believe that immigrants, legal and otherwise, add more to the economy than they take from it, and that their presence in the labor force does not lead to lower wages over all.

.. “He probably knows more about geopolitics than most senators.”

.. In March of his first year in the Senate, Cotton wrote an open letter to the “Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” which was co-signed by forty-six other Republican senators, warning the mullahs that Congress might undo any agreement they reached with Obama. The letter was denounced by Executive Branch officials as an attempt to interfere in a diplomatic initiative, but Cotton regards it as a triumph.

..  he boasted about the letter

 .. You simply cannot neglect security, and without security there cannot be political compromise and reconciliation, there cannot be good governance, there cannot be economic development, there can’t be anything.”

.. If Rand Paul is the leading Republican isolationist in the Senate, Cotton, in short order, has become heir to the opposing wing of the Party, the one associated with Senator John McCain, whose efforts to increase the defense budget Cotton has championed.

.. But Cotton has gone well past McCain in his swaggering belligerence.

.. “In my opinion, the only problem with Guantánamo Bay is there are too many empty beds and cells there right now,” Cotton said. “We should be sending more terrorists there for further interrogation to keep this country safe. As far as I’m concerned, every last one of them can rot in hell, but as long as they don’t do that they can rot in Guantánamo Bay.”

.. skirted the edge of demagoguery. “I don’t think any Republicans want legislation that is going to let out violent felons, which this bill would do,”

.. Cotton made his name in the Senate in a more personally poisonous way. In his first year, Cotton placed a hold on Obama’s nominations for the Ambassadors to Sweden, Norway, and the Bahamas, because of an unrelated dispute regarding the Secret Service.

.. “There is a point where winning a political battle isn’t worth it.”

.. “How many guys in town can give a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations and also get kudos in the pages of Breitbart? The answer is, one guy.”

.. Cotton has carved out a clear Trumpism-without-Trump agenda:

  • limits on immigration through legislation,
  • deportations, and a wall;
  • longer prison sentences for American convicts and suspected terrorists abroad;
  • a bigger budget for the Department of Defense.

.. The question is whether he has the charisma to sell that agenda to a broader public.

Why Ryan, Undercut by Trump, May Actually Emerge Stronger

But in President Trump, his mercurial partner in the White House, the speaker deftly found a foil to deflect some of the anger that had felled the man he succeeded, John A. Boehner.

President Trump’s fiscal deal with Democratic leaders in Congress — which passed the House with more than a third of Republicans voting against it — infuriated House conservatives, who struck first at Mr. Ryan, but ultimately turned their ire on the Trump White House. By week’s end, the men feeling the lash were Mr. Trump’s Treasury secretary and budget director. If anything, Mr. Ryan may have emerged stronger.

..  “He didn’t create it; he’s reacting to it. I think he laid out a course that was acceptable to the conference as a whole, and to conservatives as well, and he had the rug pulled out from underneath him.”

.. He singled out Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, and Mr. Ryan by name, saying, “They do not want Donald Trump’s populist, economic nationalist agenda to be implemented.”

.. Mark Meadows, the North Carolina Republican and Freedom Caucus chairman, agreed, warning in an interview that failure on the tax plan would be “extremely damaging for the speaker and for all members of the G.O.P. conference, as well as the president.”

.. By week’s end, tempers among even some of the angriest members of the Freedom Caucus had cooled, and Mr. Meadows insisted that the rumors of a coup in the offing were false.

“I wouldn’t want his job for anything,” he said. “I have a hard enough time keeping 40 members of the Freedom Caucus together.’’

Some moderates said that in cutting a deal with Democrats, Mr. Trump may have done the speaker a favor, demonstrating to hard-line conservatives that they cannot always have their way.

.. As the meeting broke up, some conservatives seemed to feel almost sorry for the speaker. And some of the more unruly voices of the Republican conference were reassessing their uncompromising tone.

What if Steve Bannon Is Right?

In normal times, you could bank the bet that a man who was a Russian stooge, gave comfort to neo-Nazis and spent his first year in office trying to take health care from 22 million Americans was going to get destroyed when voters finally had a chance to send him a message.

Add to that an approval rating that hit 34 percent this week, and a poll from swing states showing one in five of people who voted for Donald Trump are now embarrassed by his presidency, and you’d think Democrats were in great shape for next year’s midterm elections.

.. But they obscure a dark doctrine from Bannon the Barbarian.

“The longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em,” he said of Democrats. “I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”

.. It turns out that racial resentment was the strongest predictor of whether a voter would flip from supporting a thoughtful, intelligent Democrat to a boorish, mentally unstable Republican. When you say Black Lives Matter, these white voters hear Kill a Cop. When you say diversity in the workplace, they hear special privileges for minorities at the expense of whites.

So, if you still wonder why Trump would give comfort to racists and Hitlerites, look at the reaction of his base this week. While the civilized world was appalled at his remarks after the hate parade in Charlottesville, Va., a majority of Republicans approved of Trump’s response. Approved.

.. Yes, there’s a genuine hate-cohort in the Republican Party — neo-Nazis, or “clowns and losers,” in Bannon’s terms — of about 10 percent, which is horrifyingly high.

..  Trump has said demonstrably racist things many a time, from his birther obsession to his taco bowl tweet. He still won, “on a straightforward platform of economic nationalism,” as Bannon noted.
.. Democrats could grab the economic nationalism argument from Bannon, refine it along Bernie Sanders lines, and run with it. Health care for all is pro-American. Raising wages across the country is pro-worker. A moonshot infrastructure program would lift every community.