The American left has a new bogeyman these days. This latest grave threat, as progressives see it, is an emerging international coalition of conservative politicians, pundits and thinkers who are loosely working together to preserve and protect the Western values that animate the right. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, delivered a speech at CPAC this month that occasioned much sturm und drang from American liberals, and has become the latest tool for fear mongering from the left.
Another speaker at CPAC in Dallas, Nigel Farage, also stands in the company of the New Right. The former British MP and UKIP leader was the face of the Brexit battle in the UK in 2015. Many political commentators viewed the successful fight to get Britain out of the European Union as a tremor that presaged the earthquake of Donald Trump’s stunning 2016 victory in his run for the White House.
The throughline between Farage and Trump was a deep suspicion of trade deals and global organizations trying to create a one world approach to problems like climate change, poverty, and migration. And there is an important point here. The global left has long formed international coalitions to achieve their goals. The official song of socialism is literally called, ‘The Internationale.’ But apparently when conservatives use similar tactics it is suddenly dark and nefarious.
The current iteration of fear regarding a rising global right centers on Orban. His approach to leadership has focused on Hungary as a Christian nation, promoting family formation (often with generous government subsidies) and on maintaining cultural cohesion by strictly limiting immigration. The latter issue got him in some hot water recently as he criticized the “race mixing” of much of Western Europe. For Americans and others in the West this understandably raised eyebrows, but it is important to understand that Hungarian is an ethnicity, American is not, and so prying apart cultural and ethnic identities is not so clear cut.
Another supposed terror spun by the left is that the global New Right seeks to impose a Christian theocracy. And yes, Christianity does lie at the core of much of this new coalition. Importantly though, there is a scale at work regarding the place of religion in Western states. Many Americans are appalled that Hungary would allow the teachings of Christianity to be at the center of so many of its policies. In our own system a state religion is barred by the constitution. But the UK has Christianity as its official religion, and even has a Church of England. This has never made Americans view the British system as a scary, illiberal theocracy ripped from the pages of the Handmaid’s Tale.
The fact is, it is impossible to even discuss the history and values of the West without discussing the role of Christianity. For most of its history the West was known as Christendom. When conservatives in the West seek to conserve its traditional ideals, those ideals cannot be divorced from the 2,000 year old religion which gave them shape and form. To surrender the core Christian underpinnings of our societies and cultures out of vague fears regarding separation of church and state would be to surrender the battle for our civilization itself without firing a shot.
The central idea animating the Trumps, Orbans and Farages of the global political scene is that the nation state must remain the primary source of power in a world increasingly given over to global institutions. If much of 20th century American conservatism was a battle to maintain power in the states against a jealous federal government, in the 21st century this battle has shifted to maintaining the power of the American state in a sea of creeping globalism.
Here is how Farage put it in his CPAC speech, “this battle on behalf not just of America, but on behalf of the whole of the free world [is] to save everything our forebears built, designed and defended against the world.” Part of this is of course economic, but the more important part, the piece that drives this global conservative mission is cultural. Something like the fight over the definition of what a woman is does not know clean national borders. As leftist international organizations work to codify transgenderism it is necessary for the forces aligned against such redefinitions to cooperatively confront them.
This has led to some leading figures on the American New Right being castigated for foreign alliances the left deems unholy. Fox News host Tucker Carlson has come under blistering attack for his embrace of Orban, and for broadcasting his show from Budapest. Others like Compact Magazine founder Sohrab Ahmari have been lambasted for finding elements of Chinese communitarianism that they believe America could emulate.
Disagreement with Carlson, or Ahmari, or anyone else is fine obviously, but the idea that they represent some grave threat to American democracy is laughable. In fact, the opposite is true. Their overwhelming concern is that Americans, Brits, and Hungarians decide for themselves and their nations what their future should hold rather than a global leviathan.
Hysteria in the US has reached a bizarre fever pitch. All over social media are images of a Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden in the 1930s, the left seems to truly believe that international New Right politics is a harbinger of fascism. It’s absolutely absurd. There is no call for dictatorship, for expunging anyone from the body politic, for the persecution of minorities. All of this is invented by a global left that sees the emerging global right as a check on their heretofore unchecked power.
For decades now the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the World Health Organization and a whole alphabet soup of international organizations from Denver to Davos have pushed a far left agenda across the globe.
This new scrappy band of international conservatives is nothing for Americans or the people of any nation to fear. The only people who should be afraid of it are those trying to enforce a top down globalism on the nations of the world. But we are not citizens of the world, we are citizens of our countries and the New Right aims to keep it that way.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.