Hungarian prime minister Victor Orban enjoys growing adulation among American far-right “conservatives,” receiving a standing ovation after his keynote speech at the recent meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas. Social workers should be deeply alarmed.
It’s no secret that the U.S. conservative movement has plunged far to the right since the Trump presidency, steadily purging itself of moderate voices while promoting extremist candidates, blatant political lies (notably the “stolen” 2020 election), unpopular public policy measures, and a range of antidemocratic actions aimed at securing its minority rule. The celebration of Orban and his patently racist, scapegoating authoritarianism leaves no doubt about the direction the U.S. rightwing wants to take the country should it gain control of Congress and the Presidency in the 2022 and 2024 elections.
A few highlights from Orban’s ovation-worthy speech:
Orban claimed that Hungary is being “invaded” by immigrants from Africa and the Middle East, at a level comparable to the 13th century European invasion of Genghis Khan.
Orban railed against liberal Jewish Holocaust survivor George Soros, communists, progressives, liberals and liberal causes such as transgender rights and same-sex marriage, referring to himself a “Central European anti-communist, old-fashioned freedom fighter.”
Orban insisted that fervent nationalist leaders like himself “cannot fight successfully by liberal means” against the “‘woke’ globalist Goliath.” Calling for the re-election of his friend Donald Trump, Orban insisted that “We need a strong America with a strong leader. We have seen the future the globalist ruling class has to offer. The globalists can all go to hell, I have come to Texas.”
Orban, Trump, and the full cast of CPAC characters, including scores of pro-Trump elected officials, media personalities, and shadowy funders and “advisers,” are steadily filling out the playbook for a new American and global fascism. We ignore the rising threat at our peril and the peril of the vulnerable classes social work cares most about.