Politics

Hungarian Nationalism Is a Dead End

Hungary's brand of nationalism generates not just cronyist domestic policy but tawdry foreign policy as well.

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For the growing majority of Americans who do not approve of Joe Biden's job performance as president, scanning the landscape for potential successors reveals a depressing reality: The road to the GOP presidential nomination apparently now runs through Budapest. It's a lovely city but a revealingly inappropriate setting to locate inspiration for the new American nationalism still being workshopped by the professional political right.

In September, hot on the heels of Fox News host Tucker Carlson, former Vice President Mike Pence became the latest high-profile American conservative to trade bon mots with the proudly "illiberal" Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on his home turf. "I want to applaud Prime Minister Orbán for choosing to make family the central focus of Hungary's government policy," the former veep said at the fourth-ever Budapest Demographic Summit.

The "demographic" concern that brought together elected populists, mostly from Central and Eastern Europe, was the insufficient number of native-born residents from the dominant tribe within each relevant nation-state.

"Within 30 years Nigeria—just one African country—will have more inhabitants than the entire European Union, more inhabitants than the United States of America," warned Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, three weeks before losing reelection, lamented that within 30 years, Irish people will be a minority in Ireland: "It is just not right that we should look on idle and see how indigenous populations are becoming a minority and are under pressure."

Milorad Dodik, a Serb, is the current rotating president of Bosnia and -Herzegovina—a country he has long worked to dissolve, for which he was individually sanctioned by the U.S. State Department in 2017. "Who will live in Europe 50 years from now?" Dodik wondered. "Will there be Europeans? I live in a region only four and a half hours from here, where migrants come from the Middle East. Do you think it is far from Europe? No, it is not."

Such zero-sum notions of who should and should not be considered fully fledged citizens of a country used to be anathema to most on the American right. Our "nation" was creedal, not ethnolinguistic or religious, and open to all "who were possessed of an abiding love of freedom and a special kind of courage," including "those later immigrants who were willing to leave the land of their birth and come to a land where even the language was unknown to them," as Ronald Reagan put it at the inaugural Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 1974. "Now," Reagan crowed, "we are a nation of 211 million people with a pedigree that includes blood lines from every corner of the world."

In the ensuing 47 years, American conservatism has gone from valorizing the mixing of blood to regarding mongrelization as a Democratic plot. The same week Pence was in Budapest, Carlson reiterated his oft-repeated claim that the Biden administration was actively seeking to "change the racial mix of the country," explaining ominously that "in political terms, this policy is called 'The Great Replacement,' the replacement of legacy Americans with more obedient people from faraway countries."

Such "replacement" language in American politics used to be limited to its more paranoid and marginalized corners, like the 2017 Unite the Right tiki-torch march in Charlottesville, Virginia, where "You will not replace us!" was one of the demonstrators' chants. But now we're beginning to hear the conspiracy theory from elected GOP officials, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R–Fla.), Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and Rep. Scott Perry (R–Pa.). "For many Americans," Perry said at a committee hearing in April, "what seems to be happening…is, we're replacing national-born American—native-born Americans—to permanently transform the landscape of this very nation."

You can almost predict the next U.S. conservative to swoon for Viktor Orbán by seeing whether he has publicly quit the long, messy slog of democratic persuasion in a rights-based republic and instead begun to view the Enlightenment itself as part of the problem. American Conservative writer Rod Dreher, the John the Baptist to Orbán's Jesus, preceded a visiting fellowship in Budapest by arguing in 2017's The Benedict Option (Sentinel) that Christian conservatives should exile themselves from institutions corrupted by the decadent left.

"The key insight about Orban is that he believes that the future of his nation and of Western civilization hangs in the balance," Dreher wrote in August, after supping in Budapest with Carlson. "He's right about that….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 Hungarian prime minister makes for an odd champion of American-style Christendom. Abortion is uncontroversially legal in Hungary, the people aren't particularly religious, and Orbán has exercised kleptocratic control over churches that dare to dissent from his policies. Dreher's contention that "Orban protects European Christianity better than Pope Francis" notwithstanding, the key reason for trad-con attraction to the Carpathian nationalist is that he fights the right enemies (globalists, the media, liberalism, George Soros) and wins elections. "We are inoculated against the woke virus in Central Europe," Orbán bragged at the Demographic Summit, ever aware of what words please conservative American ears in 2021.

By prioritizing culture war pugilism, the Magyarphilic American right has turned a blind eye not only to Orbán's own considerable corruptions but to many of its own erstwhile principles. Like virtually all European nationalists, Orbán is a pro-welfare-state mercantilist, intervening early and often in economic activity, centralizing the federal government's power, and doling out favors to friends and family. Partly as a result, Hungary, which as recently as 1993 led the entire post–Warsaw Pact bloc in per capita gross domestic product, now sits at the bottom with the also-nationalist-run Poland, while the Baltics and the former Czechoslovakia zoom ahead.

Hungary's brand of nationalism generates not just cronyist domestic policy but tawdry foreign policy as well. Trumpist Republicans and other globalism skeptics may get a thrill from Orbán's nose thumbing toward Brussels. But as Pence learned in his one Budapest applause line that bombed (when he encouraged the audience "to stand with the U.S. against China"), the Euro-nationalists are notoriously cozy with both Moscow and Beijing, which are only too glad to help stoke division within the West's multilateral institutions.

In Reagan's CPAC address, which would become famous as the "shining city on a hill" speech, he spun a long tale about America nearly going to war in 1853 over the fate of a single Hungarian immigrant who had been seized by Austria soon after applying for his U.S. citizenship papers. It was an example, Reagan said, "of government meeting its highest responsibility." Nearly a half-century later, CPAC announced in September that its 2022 annual convention, at which a parade of GOP presidential aspirants is expected to make its usual appearance, is relocating from the outskirts of Washington, D.C., to a new temporary home: Budapest.

NEXT: Brickbat: Do You Know Where You're Going To?

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  1. "Hungarian Nationalism"

    Indeed, for us Koch / Reason libertarians all forms of nationalism are completely unacceptable — except Israeli nationalism. They're allowed to remain "the Jewish state." They're allowed to have an enormous wall.

    For every other country on the planet, however, we demand open borders. Makes it easier for billionaire employers like our benefactor Charles Koch to import cost-effective foreign-born labor.

    #ImmigrationAboveAll

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    2. Reason simply hates government of, by, and for the People.

      They want government of, by, and for Corporate Power.

  2. Hungary's brand of nationalism generates not just cronyist domestic policy but tawdry foreign policy as well

    It should be noted that the guy that wrote this voted for the international brand of socialism that's bringing us the cronyist domestic policy and tawdry foreign policy we're getting at home.

    1. Beat me to it.

      A fractured nation with no borders, no shared culture, no common religion, no understanding of its history or roots, mutual enmity between splintering ethnic groups ..... and a corrupt federal leviathan.

      Nationalism terrifies the globalists because people capable of being united in the cause of their own existence are not the type of people that report their neighbors to the authorities for not wearing a mask in their own home.

  3. Such "replacement" language in American politics used to be limited to its more paranoid and marginalized corners, like the 2017 Unite the Right tiki-torch march in Charlottesville, Virginia, where "You will not replace us!" was one of the demonstrators' chants. But now we're beginning to hear the conspiracy theory from elected GOP officials, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R–Fla.), Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and Rep. Scott Perry (R–Pa.). "For many Americans," Perry said at a committee hearing in April, "what seems to be happening…is, we're replacing national-born American—native-born Americans—to permanently transform the landscape of this very nation."

    --But totally cool to write in Serious Publications about ending white people and nod your head at cocktail parties when anti-racists demand a new society without whiteness*.

    *Math, logic, objectivity, autonomy, responsibility, etc.

    1. It's a conspiracy theory!

      https://theconversation.com/the-us-white-majority-will-soon-disappear-forever-115894

      The U.S. will never be a white country again.

      Once can find positively glowing articles from countless leftist outlets not only remarking upon white replacement, but celebrating it --- wishing for it; reveling in the prospect. At the same time, the left enthusiastically claim white replacement is a conspiracy theory dreamed up in the racist imagination of white supremacists.

      Please, gaslight us some more.

    2. "--But totally cool to write in Serious Publications about ending white people and nod your head at cocktail parties when anti-racists demand a new society without whiteness*"

      "Whiteness" is their code word for the working class and they'll happily toss Indians, Koreans, Filipinos, ethnically Christian Arabs and conservative blacks under that umbrella term when it suits them.
      The will of the people is still the biggest threat to the political and economic powers the elites are currently amassing, and damned if they're going to let that stop them.

      1. The enmity toward white people is real. The white working class for example, is denounced in stark contract to, say, the hispanic working class -- the latter being frequently portrayed in the image of great pioneers, while the former is portrayed as an example of backwardness, low intelligence, and stagnation.

        Working class whites do not exist in the progressive equation except as foils and scapegoats. Why? Because they're white.

        https://theoutline.com/post/8303/white-working-class-political-fiction

        1. You realize the source of this right? It is all rooted in "old world" grudges. The european "intellectuals" who immigrated to the US from 1890-1910 have pushed this since the 1950s in academia, the media, the educational complex, and grifter non-profits. When you read their writiing's it drips of hatred towards mostly Christian peasants in the old countries they immigrated from. They continued this "grudge" against Americans of Irish, Germans, Italian, and yes even North Africans/indiginous peoples from the Middle East. "white" is the code word used by these folks. Where did "multiculturalism" come from versus "the melting pot"? Why they have such hatred is a very good question, but it drips from Salon/Slate/NYT/Wapo. Go back and read what the NYT said about the largest lynching in American history which occured to Italian Americans...the hatred is unbelievable.

    3. That's unfair to the author who still wants whiteness in his childrens' classrooms. I wonder if he voted for Eric X?

    4. The problem with the white race as defined here is that the mixtures do not count as white. So whites keep losing numbers due to intermarrying

      If they started counting the mixed races as white then they would see that they are not declining but are spreading out.

      The mexican philosopher Vasconcelos called it "the cosmic race" that resulted from having elements of all races within.

      Of course there is also the Spanish system that goes "Do you speak Spanish?" "Are you Catholic?" If yes, you count as hispanic.
      (It is interesting how Pilar Primo de Rivera, in her memoirs, says about leaving Morocco and going to Guinea that she felt there a lot more comfortable around people who spoke Spanish and were Catholic - as opposed to the Moroccan people)

      1. I live in Texas and its not unusual to see Mexican nationals who are physically whiter than us "anglos"

  4. If Hungarians were a tribe in the Amazon fighting for their land and culture against European interlopers, Matt Welch would give them his complete support. Since they are European, he considers them to be a resource for the third world and their culture and religion some sort of right-wing oppression of the poor and non-white.
    Of course they can defend what they are in the face of what they don't want to become.

    1. Bingo.

  5. "the new American nationalism still being workshopped by the professional political right."

    "It hasn't been created yet but it's going to be far worse than being ruled by the corporatist, globalist oligarchy in a worldwide imperium".

    Funny how guys like Matt are always pretending that American nationalism, which is tied to ideas and culture, is exactly the same thing as Nazi nationalism which was a racial ideology.

    The alternative to nationalism has always been, and currently is, imperialism (e.g. EU, China). I don't think that's a preferable alternative in any way.

    1. Matt sounds like he's trying to self justify what he's starting to hate but cant' admit he help create in his other articles...

    2. China is a burgeoning modern empire explicitly rooted in notions of its racial purity, as demonstrated by its willingness, among other things, to commit genocide.

      1. Yeah but that’s ok cuz free trade and cheap shit.

        1. The NBA approves this message.

    3. False dichotomy between Nationalism and Imperialism.

      There is also Rational Patiotism, where you love your country like a good parent loves his offspring, praising him when he does good and carefully, gently, but firmly steering the offspring away from the many wrong paths. Nationalism, by contrast means loving one's country like an abused child loves a Stepford parent. (Not8ce how Nationalists call their country "Motherland" or "Fatherland.")

      And Rational Patriotic love of country does not preclude loving good things about other countries and does not preclude others loving your country and wanting to be a part of it, as long as those others are peaceful and self-sustaining or sponsored by willing sponsors.

      I go with Rational Patriotism: final answer (note the lack of capital letters in "final answer.")

  6. It's unfortunate if an American politician embraces some version of white enthnonationalism, but given the demographic realities there's no need to take it as a serious threat to the future. What is a serious threat is the notion that there's no need to promote the values of the founding as we absorb immigrants primarily from non-enlightenment cultures whose idea of the American Dream is purely about material success.

    Theodore Roosevelt saw that problem in the late 19th century when immigrants were still coming almost exclusively from central and eastern Europe, but in those days we still taught schoolchildren about George Washington and Paul Revere as the fathers of liberty, where we now teach them that the founders were slaveholders and evil white supremacists.

    1. Assimilation is necessary in order to maintain national unity. Without assimilation, there is no nation. Without a nation, there can be no state.

    2. Some groups accepted American values..and some never did. They never got over the "old country" issues that had.

  7. The small "n" nationalist president in Poland just vetoed a law that would have banned foreign media ownership in Poland for fear of alienating U.S. investment, U.S. trade, and U.S. military support.

    "President Andrzej Duda said in a televised statement on Monday that if the law came into force it could violate a treaty signed with the United States on economic and trade relations.

    "One of the arguments considered during the analyses of this law was the issue of an international agreement that was concluded in 1990 ... this treaty speaks about the protection of investments," he said.

    "There is a clause which says that media-related investments may be excluded, but it concerns future investments." . . . .

    Unexpectedly rushed through parliament this month, the legislation would have tightened rules around foreign ownership of media.

    ----Reuters, December 27, 2021

    https://www.reuters.com/business/media-telecom/polish-president-says-he-vetoed-media-law-2021-12-27/

    Terms like "America First" seem to terrify the chattering class, but it's really about national interests. The idea that the purpose of the United States government is to force the American people to sacrifice our interests for the benefit of people elsewhere in the world is fundamentally Marxist. Capitalism is absolutely fantastic at merging the priorities of nations in cooperation. If makes people compromise because it's in their own best interests to do so.

    I strongly believe that trade with Poland and, indeed, our NATO obligations with them are in our best interests, and the small "n" nationalist president of Poland apparently believes that trade and our security relationship is in Poland's best interests--to the point that he's willing to veto a law that would have shut down a media outlet that harshly criticizes both the president and his nationalist government.

    Libertarian capitalists who argue against considering our national interests in terms of trade policy or foreign policy are cutting libertarian capitalism off at the knee. Trade is almost always in our national interests, and wars are almost always against our national interests. If we had more trade with the world, our nation would be more prosperous. If we only went to war when it was in our best interests to do so, we wouldn't have invaded Vietnam or Iraq.

    Because our national interests are best served by libertarian capitalism, we have nothing to fear if the American people start thinking in terms of what's in our own best interests.

    1. The US should leave NATO. It is not libertarian for American taxpayers to subsidize the defense of a large portion of a continent.

  8. Terms like "America First" seem to terrify the chattering class, but it's really about national interests.

    What is libertarian about the concept of "national interests"? It seems to me that the notion that there exists an overriding set of collective interests, termed "national," is fundamentally un-libertarian.

    1. Meant as a reply to the above @Ken Shultz

    2. What is libertarian about the concept of "national interests"?

      That our elected representatives should put the interests of their constituents ahead of the interests of foreigners when representing us overseas because that's literally their one job as elected representatives?

      1. "Our" elected representatives? I did not elect your representatives. You did not elect mine. Chances are, "our" elected representatives to do not see eye to eye on much, if anything at all. To speak of a "national interest" is to undermine the entire structure of a republic rooted in federalism. How such an overriding "national interest" can be considered libertarian, is beyond me.

        1. To be clear, I agree with you. My point is that "national interests" only exist when there is a nation -- and a nation requires a common, largely homogenous culture, whether that culture is built upon ethnic, racial, or even religious ties.

          Libertarianism, in my view, does not provide the binding glue to hold a nation together. National interests are not libertarian. But that is not a criticism of nationalism; it is a criticism of libertarianism.

          I think nationalists should defend nationalism on its own merits, of which there are plenty, rather than hiding behind the veneer of libertarianism.

          1. In fact, I would clarify even further to state that libertarianism is a type of benevolent socialism that can only thrive in an insular, high trust nation with common roots in an ethnicity, race, religion, or all three.

            When a nation is a large family, libertarianism makes sense, as do many aspects of socialism. Fraternal bonds, and a true sense of kinship, are what make either of these ideologies function to any degree. It is also why libertarianism fails when paired with globalism.

            1. I think I get what you're saying, but it's not quite accurate.

              Libertarianism only doesn't make sense when individual agency, natural rights, and the concept of private property doesn't make sense; that is almost never (allowing for some possible situation that I can't imagine right now). Every society that has ever embraced these values has prospered and the individuals therein prospered and humanity as a whole prospered simply by the technological advances made by such prosperous societies. It's not a fluke, and it's not only sometimes, and it's not dependant on what kind of society/nation/empire/state/commune it is; it happens every single time, as predictably as the tides. Simply respecting property rights and allowing people to live for themselves, even just a little bit more than before, makes these economic "miracles" happen.

              What you might be saying is that libertarianism is unsustainable where people can just vote for more free shit for themselves. If that is what you're saying then you're absolutely right. The same human nature that makes communism impossible also means that an ideally libertarian society won't last very long, as people will inevitably want more, and there will always be someone else willing to give it to them in exchange for more power over everyone. But again, this is different from saying that libertarianism doesn't make sense and its orthogonal to nationalism.

              It is also why libertarianism fails when paired with globalism.

              I don't think I need to point this out, but the "Stakeholder Capitalism" being pushed by the great reset crowd has nothing to do with capitalism or libertarianism.

              1. Libertarianism only doesn't make sense when individual agency, natural rights, and the concept of private property doesn't make sense; that is almost never (allowing for some possible situation that I can't imagine right now)

                Libertarianism does not make sense because all of those freedoms, if you will, were acquired, in the first instance, by force and continue to be secured by force. People did not simply become free by believing in individual agency, natural rights, and private property. We have only to observe the history of this country to understand that our historically significant prosperity and expansion was not the result of libertarianism, but of conquest under the flag of a nation that believed in its manifest destiny to stretch from shore to shore. I do not think there is any shame in that, but I also do not believe there is any sense in pretending that this could have been achieved without a deeply ingrained, common sense of nationalism rooted in the knowledge, which our ancestors had, that they were the descendants of families and clans that fought for their claim against tyrants, and won.

                Libertarianism is an idyllic lie, in my opinion, that prevailing members of a dominant and largely homogenous in-group believe, and must believe, to bind themselves to one another in mutual endeavors, while reducing the prospect of mutual destruction.

                This is why libertarianism fails on a global scale, or even a domestic scale when applied to a society that has not been sufficiently assimilated. When there is no dominant group, but a lot of competing groups that see themselves as top dog, and believe that their lineage has equipped them best to prevail and survive, libertarianism is about as useful as an umbrella newspaper in a hailstorm.

                My point is that in order for the "good lie" of libertarianism to have any hope of thriving, the nationalism must come first. Libertarianism will never bring about the foundation required for its own survival.

        2. I did not elect your representatives

          You're not alone, most (live) voters didn't vote for the Biden regime. But not voting for the president is different than not electing the president. And in a broader sense, not voting for my congressman is different than not electing Congress. If you voted in your own congressional race, you helped elect Congress (assuming the ideal case where elections aren't rigged).

          To speak of a "national interest" is to undermine the entire structure of a republic rooted in federalism

          Quite the opposite. The very basis of federalism is that there is a larger interest at the federal level that can not be satisfied at a more local level of government, which is why more local levels of government federated into a larger entity. As for the republic part, the idea of a public interest is right in the name.

          There is nothing in either of these concepts that contradicts the libertarian value placed on liberty above other political considerations, such as safety or equality or wealth. The libertarian federal republic that the was the US as envisioned by those old white guys hundreds of years ago is a great example. The "nation" existed to protect the states from which it derived its authority and advance the interests of the nation's citizens on the international stage in the same way as the state's representatives advanced the interest of their state's citizens on the national stage. This is a perfectly libertarian view of a "national interest".

          1. Quite the opposite. The very basis of federalism is that there is a larger interest at the federal level that can not be satisfied at a more local level of government, which is why more local levels of government federated into a larger entity. As for the republic part, the idea of a public interest is right in the name.

            The federal government was intended to be small and constrained, and one of limited, enumerated powers, so as to avoid overarching national policies being enacted.

            The powers that were relegated to the federal government were not relegated to enable the government to use them in pursuit of "national interests" but to assist the states in coordinating their resources when necessary (such as in times of war). The purpose of federalism is to frustrate the aggregation of power, not enable it.

            The notion of a "national interest," in the form we understand it today, did not emerge until the Civil War and Reconstruction, after which the federal government drastically expanded the scope of its enumerated powers -- a trend that continued and ultimately gave birth to the modern progressive movement, a limitless commerce clause, income tax, and the federal reserve. None of that was, in my view, libertarian.

            The notion of a "national interest" that we discuss today would have been completely unrecognizable to the founding generation -- indeed, up until the Civil War.

            1. The point being that the original concept of a "national interest" under the structure of the Constitution was far closer to libertarianism than the idea of a "national interest" today. With the exception of the abolishment of slavery, our Constitution, our federal government, and this country as a whole, have evolved to be dramatically less libertarian than they have ever been, and the trend is only accelerating.

              1. And, to make the point clearer, if libertarianism continues to be sold as some sort of global economic theory that, by its very nature, produces prosperity for everyone, the cause of liberty will suffer. The only thing that ends up happening if you repeatedly force a square peg into a round hole is that the square peg eventually wears away and loses its shape until it fits.

                That is what is happening with libertarianism today. Because libertarians refuse to acknowledge that libertarianism requires a firm bedrock of nationalism (and continue to view nationalism as a primitive and retrograde evil), the sides of the square libertarian peg are being smoothed out, little by little, year by year, until libertarianism remains a husk for those too deluded to see that the "libertarianism" is nothing more than a comforting label designed to ease the process of accepting their dispossession by a hungry, nationalistic world.

    3. What is libertarian about forced sacrifice?

      Should we squander our troops and resources on behalf of the people of Vietnam and Iraq?

      Why is that libertarian?

      The argument that we shouldn't invade Vietnam, Rwanda, or Iraq--because it isn't in our best interests to do so--is a thoroughly libertarian argument.

      The idea that our government should or shouldn't make us do things--because it is or isn't in the best interests of people elsewhere in the world--is a thoroughly socialist argument.

      You can take this all the way back to British Imperialism if you want. Britain's adventures in Africa began with an attempt to stamp out the source of the slave trade at its source. It all ended in tears!

      In the 1980s, wanting to do nothing while our inner cities were wracked with problems associated with the introduction of crack cocaine was considered heartless and racist. The people who initiated the Drug War that devastated African-Americans in our cities sent the police in as an army of liberation from gangs and crack. The African-Americans in our cities would have been better off if white, suburban moms just worried about their own problems instead.

      There is something deeply libertarian about the idea that we should mind our own business.

      1. The argument that we shouldn't invade Vietnam, Rwanda, or Iraq--because it isn't in our best interests to do so--is a thoroughly libertarian argument.

        How so? Conversely, is the argument that we should invade Vietnam, Rwanda, or Iraq because it is in our best interest also libertarian? If not, why not?

        What is the guiding principle here? "Our interest," or something else?

        1. We should not have invaded any of those due to the NAP. But we did because of the USD going to the military industrial complex. And because of war boners in Washington. Also, folks confusing “I don’t like what you are doing” with “I don’t like what you are doing and I’m going to force you to change.”

          1. Arguably, the military industrial complex is "our interest" and, if that is so, I think in accordance with Ken's position (if I am understanding it correctly) the invasion of Iraq (as one example) could have been justified on libertarian grounds.

            Now, we can obviously debate whether or not the invasion was in fact in "our best interest," but that is somewhat beside the point.

            Does libertarianism permit for the consideration of "national interests"? My take is that libertarianism and "national interests" are mutually exclusive by definition.

            1. No. No it is not. It is funded through coercion.

              And it leads to violations of the NAP.

              Crony capitalist jingoism =/ libertarianism

              1. And that is precisely why I believe that libertarianism is not compatible with the notion of "our best interests," as a country. There is no "our best interests" in a libertarian analysis because it implies that vague collective interests take precedence over the interests of the individual.

                I think people that speak in terms "our best interests," or "the best interests of the country," or any other similar phraseology, cannot claim they are engaging in a libertarian assessment. Again, my view is that libertarianism is rather useless ideological companion, unless one first acknowledge the preeminence of nationalism. Without nationalism, there is no libertarianism.

                1. When imperial Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and declared war on the US, it became a national interest to do something. Same with the War of 1812. Vietnam? No. Iraq? No. The invasion of Afghanistan and subsequent occupation? No. How did those all work out for “our best interests”? Trillions of tax dollars wasted. Tens of thousands of dead Americans. Hundreds of thousands of other people dead. Shares of Lockheed did well so there is that.

                  1. Was it in the national interest to incinerate Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Was it in the national interest for the pacific fleet to have assembled in Pearl Harbor as a means of curtailing Japan's dominion in the south pacific? How did the United States end up in Hawaii anyway? This is not to say that Japan was not itself an imperialist aggressor, but the list of American "national interests" that set the stage for the attack on Pearl Harbor is endless --- and many of those were decidedly un-libertarian.

                    This is not to say that I think the United States was on the wrong side of history in these conflicts, but to claim that libertarianism was the guiding light through the decades of American expansion in the Pacific, for example, would be absurd.

                    1. Yes. The bombs saved a lot of American and Japanese lives. Japan had opportunity to surrender and chose to continue fighting. Continue fire bombing and invading the home islands was the other option on the table at that time. There could be other libertarian (and other ideological) options but in the middle of that war, they were not on the table. The two bombs effectively ended hostilities.

                      US Navy ships at an American naval base. Horrific.

                      Hawaii is free to secede as far as I care. As is Guam.

                      Military adventurism under the banner of “our best interests” is like socialism - we will get it right this time.

                    2. If incinerating hundreds of thousands of civilians is libertarian (if that is what you are saying), then libertarianism is even more of a shit show than I ever imagined.

                    3. "Military adventurism under the banner of “our best interests” is like socialism - we will get it right this time."

                      Military adventurism is undermined by questions about the costs and benefits, and I hope that isn't getting lost here. People may disagree about whether it's in the best interests of the United State to invade Afghanistan, but the issue needs to be argued in those terms. The occupation needs to be reconsidered constantly in those terms, too. For the first four months of Biden's presidency, they were all but promising to stay in Afghanistan for the benefit of girls being educated and for the benefit of women.

                      Whether we ended the occupation really didn't and shouldn't have depended on whether it helped the people of Afghanistan. I maintain that a perpetual state of war probably wasn't in the best interests of the girls and women of Afghanistan either, for all that matters, but when was the last time a military intervention for the benefit of others wasn't a scandalous failure?

                      There were people, on this website, who genuinely believed that the Iraqi people wanted us to bomb, invade, and occupy their country. Deposing Saddam Hussein was a bad investment for the American people for all sorts of reasons, but we're highly susceptible to believing that military interventions are justified by trying to help the people we're fighting. God save the people progressives want to help by using the coercive power of the U.S. government--either inside or outside our borders.

                      If the Iraqi people are better off because we bombed, invaded, and occupied their country, that's for them to say. If we hadn't invaded, Saddam Hussein might have ended up like the leaders of Egypt, Tunisia, and Syria anyway during the Arab Spring. All I can speak for is myself, and I don't see anything we received for our investment in Iraq that was worth the cost. In fact, we're strategically worse off now than we were before we invaded in 2003--vis a vis Iran--who really is a state sponsor of terror with a WMD program. And all of this was foreseeable in 2003--leaving Iran to dominate the region included.

                      Six months after we invaded Iraq, 69% of the American people still believed that Saddam Hussein was personally complicit in 9/11--mostly because of the anthrax attack--and that is why they thought it was in our best interests to invade Iraq. The Bush administration made it about WMD--as if Saddam Hussein having WMD were the only question that needed to be answered. It was a terrible mistake, and it could have been avoided if we'd focused more on whether our efforts were likely to be successful and whether the likely results were justified by the cost.

                      It was only later that justifying the occupation became about the benefits of the occupation to the people of Iraq. Their interests would have been better served if we'd minded our own business.

                    4. It reduced profits the military industrial complex would have realized from supplying a home island invasion. So I can see why folks who promote “our best interests” may oppose that. The bombs saved many lives that would have been lost from that mission. Those were the two options that were on the table.

                      Japan would have entertained an armistice or treaty. Especially one that preserved the emperor. Within the context of that war, that was not an option the US was willing to entertain. Maybe things would have played out much differently.

    4. P.S. We are talking about things within the purview of the government's appropriate libertarian sphere--from a small state libertarian perspective (like mine).

      Issues like whether we go to war and whether we enter into a trade treaty are legitimately small state libertarian issues, and taking our national interests into considering on those issues is entirely appropriate.

      I'm not sure religious cults, cigarettes, or the music of Black Pink is in the national interest, but legislation regarding those things is outside the proper purview of libertarian government.

      1. Is Black Pink like Pink in blackface who gives bundles of switches to all the bad boys during Christmas? Asking for many friends...

  9. "Who will live in Europe 50 years from now?" Dodik wondered. "Will there be Europeans?"

    I wonder if the Neanderthals asked that very question so many moons ago. As to there being Europeans, My guess is it will depend on how long we insist on hyphenating our identity in some silly attempt to hang on to a much less pleasant past. But what would a French-Irish-Native-Portuguese-Scottish-Welsh-American like me know about any of that?

  10. Fuck off and die, Matt Welch

  11. Are you just now waking up the fascism on the right? Give me a break.

    Ask them what their policy goals are and you'll find nothing but "against anything Democrats say". Indeed their only goal appears to be eliminating Democrats' voices entirely really. And that's if they even stop there.

    1. Are you just now waking up the fascism on the right? Give me a break.

      If I have to chose between fascists and liberals, give me the fascists. No fascist dictator ever shat on their native citizenry to extent liberal democracy has.

      Ask them what their policy goals are and you'll find nothing but "against anything Democrats say". Indeed their only goal appears to be eliminating Democrats' voices entirely really. And that's if they even stop there.

      And I wish them all the luck in the world!

  12. Did Soros write this shit?

    1. Perhaps Matt polished Soros.

    2. As Soros sinks more money here expect a lot more of these columns. I don't think we'll recognize the place in a few years.

  13. So CPAC's relocating its annual convention to another country for the first time is supposed to be an example of their xenophobia? Seems to me this is recognition of conservatism as an international tendency.

    1. Wow, you really are credulous, aren't you. It was a satirical statement. CPAC 2022 will be in Orlando. As in Florida. Jeepers. That you are cool with the idea of CPAC in Budapest is disturbing.

        1. Had the same question. I’m sure Brandy will provide an honest, reasonable, answer shortly.

      1. So they're more parochial than I thought.

  14. I see nothing wrong with the President of Hungary promoting the interests of the people of Hungary.
    I don’t see Hungary becoming part of the Chinese belt and road economic slave system. IfHungarians want abortion, then they are free to choose to keep it legal.
    The Irish becoming a minority in Ireland will be a huge problem for native born Irish people.
    If the newcomers would adopt the language and values of the Hungarian or Irish people, then it would be perhaps good to have “black Irish”
    However, these immigrants are mostly fundamentalist moslem and will sow conflict with the Christian people.
    Just look at any country with a large moslem minority.
    Import the third world and become the third world

  15. How about showing us the public satisfaction surveys with government in Hungary as opposed to the public satisfaction surveys of more Enlightened™ countries like the United States?

    Yeah, that's what I thought.

  16. I have to assume the impetus for a post like this is Welch's social group, not his readership or reality. The comments support this view.

  17. Interesting to note that Orban is an outspoken critic of George Soros who happens to be Charles Koch's new BFF. Considering the fact that Reason is a propaganda organ for Koch, shouldn't we get a conflict of interest disclaimer? I mean this shit is getting pretty transparent.

  18. This article is too scattershot to make any one point effectively. A few good points are buried in there:

    Orban's domestic policy is predominately grift. Other Eastern European countries are doing much better, also without forcing pissed off conservatives to "bake the cake."

    Most of the article is seemingly whining about whining about replacement theory.

    If you want to convince people that Enlightenment ideals, as enshrined in modern principles like free speech, are the correct tact for the preservation and advancement of a (particular) nation or group, then make that case.

    1. You don't even have to go all the way to making a positive case. Go ahead and make a unitary negative case.

      Like how I point out what an ineffective, incompetent fool Donald Trump was. How he accomplished less in policy terms than any Republican president in living memory, because he was an incompetent administrator and dealmaker. He could neither promulgate meaningful, surviving executive action, nor make the deals in Congress required for major legislation. I'm not saying his disregard for (classically) liberal ideals or principles caused his incompetence, but it certainly didn't help him accomplish anything (in the way a pragmatist would argue against strict adherence to principles).

      (in the 2016 Republican primary, a plurality of) conservatives picked an illiberal troll and they got basically nothing in return, other than a party in shambles and the same illiberal troll doing his damnedest to sink the Republican party's fortunes and elect Democrats into the future.

      That the dumber echelons of them have convinced themselves that he's the BEST EVAR is some depressing mix of drinking the koolaid and general ignorance of their own.

      1. I found his deal making between Israel and all those Arab countries to be particularly useless.

        1. He forgot to start a few wars too. That asshole.

          1. Yeah, that's the thing. Let's not assume that Republican presidents accomplishing stuff has been mostly good things. It's a lot of what Trump did not do that other Republicans did, that matters.

            The two Bushes had a high ratio of bad to good stuff accomplished.

      2. You do make some good points about President biff.......I was attacked like I peckerslapped the pope in the breitbart comments when I said that trump wasnt all that great when it came to defending the 2A
        but credit where credit is due
        He sold rice to china
        He fucked a porn star half his age, and SHE IS THE ONE WHO WONT SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT IT

  19. Wasn't "Magyar" the term comedian Richard Lewis used for the automobile Jaguar, to keep from being sued by the company? 😉

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