You don’t need to know anything about Hungary to recognize that the people who’ve savaged Tucker Carlson all over the media for going there earlier this month are telling whoppers about it. Because what they say about Hungary in their rants about Tucker is intimately bound up with what they say in those very same rants about America.
Quite simply, they hate the Orbán regime, and Tucker’s defense of it, for the same reason they despise flyover Americans.
To begin with, they hate them for their patriotism. For Jared Yates Sexton at the Daily Beast, Orbán’s border wall, like Trump’s, “served as a metaphor for a society that had decided to define itself in opposition to ‘outsiders’ and ‘the other.’” How the hell else does a country identify itself?
At Salon, Heather Digby Parton agreed: Orbán’s great offense was building “a wall on his country’s southern border to keep immigrants seeking asylum from entering the country in the name of preserving Hungary’s (white) national character.” Note that word in parentheses, which seems to suggest that if people who happen to be white seek to preserve their nation’s character in the face of a massive onslaught of aggressive young men from radically different cultures, their motive can’t be anything but racist.
Washington Post columnist Ishaan Tharoor, for his part, took umbrage at the attempt by Orbán, as well as by some Republican-run states in the U.S., “to make … education more ‘patriotic.’” What did Tharoor mean by “patriotic” education? He meant that Orbán, like the GOP state officials who’ve banned the New York Times’s “1619 Project” from school curricula, isn’t about to approve teaching materials that demonize his country and its founders.
For Tharoor, Tucker is a “voice of White grievance” whose fans “embrace an often religious and implicitly racist brand of nationalism.” You see, in the view of globalists, the desire of citizens to preserve their own nation’s identity, security, and prosperity by keeping out violent gang members, drug dealers, and child traffickers is “implicitly racist.” It’s about being white — even if some of those citizens are black or Asian or Latino.
Tharoor also sneered at the “relentless culture war,” by Orbán in Hungary and the MAGA crowd in the U.S., against “the perceived threats of multiculturalism, feminism, LGBT rights and liberalism writ large.” What Tharoor was referring to here was the insane new woke ideology — which is destructively obsessed with identity politics, which isn’t “liberal” at all but far-left, and which represents a very real, not “perceived,” threat to social cohesion.
As offensive as patriotism to Tucker’s critics are Christianity and Western civilization. Parton was palpably disgusted by Orbán’s description of Hungary as “a Christian democracy,” while Sexton referred darkly to Tucker’s enthusiasm for “Christianity and so-called ‘western civilization’” — an enthusiasm that, Sexton maintained, suggests the direction in which “the increasingly anti-democratic Republican Party might be interested in going.”
For these people, you see, “Christianity” and “Western civilization” are fighting words. To the progressive mind, it’s fine to take seriously your identity as a Muslim or Hindu, but a Christian is by definition an oppressor; similarly, exalting Eastern cultures is dandy, but Western civilization? It’s the seat of all oppression.
Which brings us to the ultimate offense, in these people’s eyes: opposition to open borders and mass immigration.
Tucker, wrote John Haltiwanger at Business Insider, “espouses] a white-supremacist ‘replacement’ conspiracy theory on his show, accusing Democrats of ‘importing’ immigrants to ‘dilute’ US voters.” Right. The Democrats usher illegals into the U.S., exempting them from COVID rules that apply to U.S. citizens and offering them professional and educational opportunities denied to those citizens; but to suggest that this policy is motivated by anything other than pure humankindness is to espouse a “conspiracy theory.”
No, Tucker’s enemies aren’t big on honesty about immigration, whether Mexican or Islamic. They pretend that Western European leaders haven’t done drastic harm to their countries — and sold out their children’s future — by welcoming Muslims en masse. For example, Tharoor sneered at Tucker’s celebration of Orbán for “defending his countrymen from the supposed dangers of Muslim migrants.” “Supposed”? How about “amply documented”?
Liam Hoare, writing in Slate, dismissed Tucker’s premise that Hungarians today are, in Europe, almost uniquely protective of their nation’s heritage. If Tucker were “interested in a people protective of their language, literature, or culinary heritage,” counters Hoare, he “could have whiled away his summer in a villa overlooking the Mediterranean in France, Italy, or Spain.”
Yes — and been the first to welcome the boats full of refugees arriving from north Africa.
Note the ridiculous pretense that opposition to mass Islamic immigration is rooted in concerns about “language, literature, or culinary heritage,” rather than in a deep firsthand awareness of the deleterious impact of that immigration on welfare-state funds, freedom of expression, and public order.
There’s much more. Hoare was one of several critics of Tucker who cast his (and Orbán’s) criticism of George Soros as anti-Semitic — a now-common move by leftists who otherwise seem unbothered by Jew-hatred. Hoare also depicted Orbán’s ban on “the teaching of gender studies in Hungarian universities” — that ridiculous non-academic non-subject — as some kind of assault on higher education, rather than a valiant defense of it. In addition, he likened Orbán to Benjamin Netanyahu — and didn’t mean it as a compliment.
Parton, for her part, was mightily offended by Orbán’s refusal to hop on the trans train.
Then there was never-Trumper Anne Applebaum, who decided to take a different tack than most of Tucker’s other critics. Instead of burning the flag, she wrapped herself in it. While others mocked Tucker’s patriotism, Applebaum ludicrously accused him, in the Atlantic, of being an enemy of “the ideals of America” and “of despising “the United States, its Constitution, and its heritage.” Tucker’s fans, too, for all their pro-American rhetoric, are also really America-haters, insisted Applebaum. How so? Because they despise their own country’s “racial diversity” and “dream of a white-tribalist alternative.”
Yes: Jason Whitlock, Candace Owens, Shelby Steele, Tim Scott, Allen West, Ben Carson, Tyrus, and Leo Terrell all “dream of a white-tribalist alternative.” Lies, lies, lies.
What motivates these mendacious attacks on Tucker Carlson? Answer: his high-profile refusal to parrot the elite consensus on Hungary threatens to upset the entire globalist applecart. To be a globalist is to reject national identity and border controls, as well as to embrace all of woke progressive ideology — including its vapid critique of patriarchy, its silly rhetoric about “white supremacy,” and its rabid insistence on an entirely new and reality-defying language of gender.
The European Union has tried to force this entire inedible diet down the craw of its member states. Only Hungary has totally balked. In reaction, the Western mainstream media have in unison declared Hungary to be violating the basic principles that govern free societies. On the contrary, it’s the EU itself, with its all but powerless parliament and its unelected, all-powerful, control-freak bureaucrats, that’s an affront to basic ideas of freedom.
Millions of Brexiters understood that. They knew, too, that the bureaucrats in Brussels, like other globalist poobahs, are working toward a new world order in which a small, rich, jet-setting elite calls the shots while a huge underclass takes the orders and does the work. In such a world, rooted not in the common-law values of the Anglosphere but in continental Europe’s feudal past, there’d be virtually no middle class, severely weakened national states, and very little in the way of freedom.
Tucker Carlson knows that. He knows, too, that Hungary represents another vision — one that, take it for all in all, is far more consistent than the EU dream with the prescriptions of the American constitution and the wishes of most Americans.
Frank Furedi wrote a useful piece about this situation at Spiked Online. To keep Americans from getting an honest picture of Hungary, declared Furedi, “[t]he globalist media have succeeded in establishing a cordon sanitaire” around that country, depicting it as authoritarian, if not outright fascist — and dismissing as fascist, too, anyone who dares to challenge its narrative.
Well, Tucker Carlson challenged it. By going to Hungary, he smashed the cordon sanitaire. He showed America, wrote Furedi, that “the sentiments that prevail in Hungary are the very ones that resonate with the outlook of millions of people throughout the Western world.” America especially.
And they aren’t — it must be emphasized — ugly sentiments. We’re not speaking here of bigots and racists and white supremacists. We’re speaking of Trump supporters, Tucker viewers. Ordinary working Americans.
And — emphatically — not just whites. Trump took black and Latino unemployment rates to historic lows, and got a bigger share of the black and Latino vote than any Republican in decades. He instituted, under Ric Grenell, a program intended to save gays around the world from brutal oppression, and got a bigger share of the gay vote than any Republican ever.
To suggest that the politics of Trump supporters and Tucker viewers has anything to do with race, or with any such identity markers, is a monstrous lie. Identity labels are the province of Democrats. The people who voted for Trump — and who watch Tucker Carlson — don’t center their identity around race or sex or sexual orientation. Nor do they see themselves as “citizens of the world.” They’re Americans. They’re not bothered by the sight of people whose skin is a different shade than their own.
But they don’t like hearing that people have been allowed to enter the U.S. illegally and been flown by the government to towns and cities around the country to be settled there surreptitiously.
They don’t like illegals being given money and jobs and homes — on their dime — while they themselves may have lost all three because of the COVID lockdown. They don’t like seeing these newcomers respond to America’s generosity with ingratitude and far worse. They don’t like seeing thankless foreigners filling the streets of their cities with garbage and making them unsafe.
And, more broadly, they don’t like the whole globalist project — whereby their own leaders connive to send their jobs overseas while leaving them high and dry, turning their once beautiful and thriving cities into rust and dust. In short, they don’t enjoy the spectacle of their own government — a government that they elected, and whose members they pay, to serve them — treating them like undeserving proles while rolling out the red carpet for people who entered the country illegally.
That’s what it’s all about. Period. But Tucker’s critics — and Orbán’s, and Trump’s — don’t want to admit that this is what the conflict really comes down to. Because if these critics were remotely honest about what their opponents really stand for, they wouldn’t be able to argue with them. Because they don’t have a damn leg to stand on.