Goodbye 1968, and all that?


We owe it to The Washington Post to join the dots in what Hungary’s Viktor Orban is urging the American right to accomplish: to literally, call time on history. To literally push back the ideas that became powerfully irresistible and prevalent more than half-a-century ago.

For, Mr Orban once declared “war on a generation”. Four summers ago, he predicted a new right-wing wave of elected Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), saying: “We are facing a big moment: We are saying goodbye not simply to liberal democracy … but to the 1968 elite.”

It was code, wrote The Post. Code for the cultural changes that came about as a result of the political unrest and student uprisings of 1968. They led to an “ascendant feminism, atheism and leftist cosmopolitanism”. Instead of those ideas, which bloomed as a result of 1968, Mr Orban said it was time for “the generation of the ’90s…the anti-communist generation” to take pole position. The ’90s generation “has Christian convictions and commitment to the nation”, he added.

As it happened, the 2019 European parliamentary elections didn’t deliver all that Mr Orban had wanted or presaged. The far right did well but so did left-wing parties under a green banner. Europe didn’t seem likely to explicitly embrace “Christian democracy” a la Orban’s Hungary any time soon.

But, Mr Orban did find converts and groupies further away. In America.

The recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) special meeting in Hungary shows the extent of the US right’s admiration for Mr Orban and all that he has accomplished in Hungary. CPAC is the major convening organization of the US right. It is telling that it is so keen to listen to Mr Orban’s prescriptions. Clearly, the American right feels it is sitting at the feet of the master.

And Mr Orban’s messages are brutally clear:

  • Have your own media” to take and hold on to power
  • A firm hold on power is the only way to heal a country of “progressive dominance”, something he managed in Hungary with his fourth election victory (on April 3)
  • It’s war. The right must join forces “and coordinate the movements of our troops” in order to “take back the institutions in Washington and Brussels”.

We’ll next look at the powerful playbook prepared by Orban’s Hungary for a Trumpian America.

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