On the beach with Viktor Orbán — Words that Matter (Part 1)

A Five-Part Series on How the Republican Party’s Love-Affair with Viktor Orbán May Change Life in America — by András B. Göllner

The visit by Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, to Donald Trump’s Florida beach-house — coming just days before Easter — offers everyone a great opportunity to contemplate how their lives may change here on earth if Donald Trump returns to the White House this fall and applies — as he promises to — his Hungarian house-guest’s recipes for governing who gets what, when and how in America.

András B. Göllner is a Canadian-Hungarian citizen – an emeritus professor of Political Science at Montreal’s Concordia University, an Honorary Professor at The Budapest Business School, and holds a PhD in Political Economy, from the London School of Economics. A former advisor to Orbán, he spent the first three months of 2024, including Holy Week, in Washington DC doing research on a forthcoming book. He paused to file this report to the Hungarian Free Press. This five-part report explores the dynamics of the forces that brought two distant relatives – the US Republicans and Hungary’s Alliance of Young Democrats (FIDESZ) – into each other’s arms and landed Viktor Orbán on Donald Trump’s private beach in Mar-a-Lago. It looks at not only how Orbán’s “Gulyás Capitalism” affected those whose lives matter in Hungary, but more importantly, how it will affect the lives of all those “Children of God” who consider that the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness matters not only in America, but everywhere on this increasingly interdependent and God-forsaken planet.

An image from Viktor Orbán’s Facebook page, showing the Hungarian leader with Melania and Donald Trump. The slogan “Tiszta Amerika!” can be translated as “Pure America!’


Part 1: Words that Matter

And Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand.” Pointing towards the Pharisees, the hypocrites among them, he said: These people draw near to Me with their mouths, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” … Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?” And Jesus replied: “Let them be — Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots”. 

Matthew 15:8 – 15

Mea Culpa

The lead to this series could not say it all. These writings that I undertook during Holy Week are not targeted at the audience that Sean Hannity regularly derides at Fox as “the radical mob”. Au contraire: It’s directed, first and foremost, towards the Evangelist community in America and those who may be described, for lack of a better term as, Fox and Friends. I can reassure them all in good faith: this narrative is written with profound respect and sympathy rather than disdain towards them all.

What follows will not be just another, albeit longer, more academically couched refrain from the one reverberating through the liberal media-bubble. Unlike those, ideologically tainted narratives, this one will provide my ill-served friends among the Republican Party in America, and within the North American Hungarian diaspora, with a useful and long overdue Consumer’s Report, a litmus test of the reliability and efficacy of those love-potions that Viktor Orbán brought to Donald Trump’s beach-house, just weeks before Easter, as part of his contribution to making America great again. Indeed, now that Orbán, the leader of a small, far-away nation in Central Europe, has become a household name in America, it is imperative that all Americans, regardless of their political persuasion or origins be exposed to the most reliable, least ideologically infected “test results” on the planet about the “Orbán diet” that Donald Trump plans to introduce once he’s reelected to the White House. This report will answer as clearly as possible, why the “Orbán Diet” is such a big hit not only with Hungary’s FIDESZ supporters but also with America’s Republicans. Our aim is to inform all those whose lives matter in the Americas, how the “Orbán Diet” will affect them as a people who are “divinely destined” to pursue the path of righteousness towards life, liberty, and happiness.

Before embarking on this voyage some brief, preparatory notes are in order. The arguments in this series are rested on three principles: Alas, not one of them comes with an ideological ax to grind. The first one tells us to beware of appearances – they can deceive. The second one tells us to beware of false labels, they can cost us our lives. The third one is the Aristotelian gold standard: let us not allow the decisions, on which our friends’ and fellow human beings’ lives depend, rest on mere hearsay, but strictly on empirically verifiable data. It follows: This report is not one man’s opinion but one man’s compilation of the test-results about Orbán’s remedies produced by the best, most reliable, least biased test-centers from around the planet. And thus, I must apologize, and in the spirit of Easter, to those with a penchant for attacking the messenger: the word lives, it does not fade away by silencing the messenger.

I also wish to make it clear in this preamble: though we shall guard this narrative against all man-made, ideological contaminants, we shall approach our subject matter not with an amoral but a moral compass in hand. Values matter, the more so if they are universal. Ours are harmonious not only with those that are listed under the so called “Judeo-Christian” label that Donald Trump and Viktor Orbán proudly profess to follow but also with those that are enshrined within the United Nation’s Charter with respect to justice, equal rights, and ecologically sustainable communal well-being. Virtually all the nation states on this planet have signed onto it, they are as universal as can be. The last time we looked, Donald Trump’s former government as well as that of Viktor Orbán’s current one are signatories of the UN’s Charter, and its Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It’s important to underline: This report situated itself purposefully inside, rather than outside of the professed value frame of its protagonists. (We apologize for belaboring these last points: those who may be inclined to dismiss our effort as an attempt at cleaning up a right-wing spill with a left-wing mop, will be disappointed. Our mop is universal). Let us now begin.

On the Harmfulness of False Labeling

As we have pointed out above, false labels are always harmful to the consumer! The labelling of Trump’s beach-house guest as a “strongman”, a “populist” or even worse, a “Christian Nationalist” by the liberal mass-media is the main reason why tens of millions of American patriots – decent, hard-working, God-fearing conservative men and women – cannot get into a tizzy over Orbán’s presence on that private beach in Mar a Lago, or why they do not see what all the fuss is about on CNN and on all the liberal mass media’s surfaces, regarding Trump’s love affair with Orbán.

As a regular consumer of both the liberal and conservative North American mass-media (it’s one of my job requirements), I must admit: No conscientious Republican who relies only on this fully balanced diet as their basis for understanding who gets what, when, how and why in America, should be faulted for the following imaginary rant:

“Could everyone please take a Valium and chill out about the affinity of Donald Trump for a Hungarian or any other kind of strongman? It’s strong, and oftentimes very conservative, God-fearing strong men who made America so great that virtually everyone on this planet wants to emigrate here. Why don’t the liberals get it? Strength in a man, is not a vice but a virtue in America! Since when has conservatism become a sin in the North Atlantic community of Nations? Wasn’t Winston Churchill, “the British bulldog”, who fought the Nazis on the beaches, himself a strong Conservative man? Weren’t such later icons of the “Free World” as Konrad Adenauer, Ronald Reagan, the so called “Iron-Lady”, Margaret Thatcher or the recently deceased Canadian Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney, all strong, conservative leaders? Where would we all be if Ronald Raegan hadn’t said: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall? How audacious to claim: in America only the Democrats are democrats!”

When my Republican friends are pressed further by representatives of the thunderstruck liberal media about how they can stand their leader’s political affinity for Orbán, that “Christian Nationalist, populist, strongman,” the Republican answer is not only heartfelt, but eminently understandable:

“We consider Orbán our bro because he’s a strong, conservative man rather than a weak-kneed liberal wuss! He is our friend, we admire him, because he is not an elitist know-it-all, he is not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeves. He is proud to stand out as a conservative politician, a family man, a patriot, a faithful servant of the God we all cherish and obey! He is not a persecutor but a dedicated protector of our Christian brothers and sisters around this planet. He is a good shepherd who tends to his flock not only at home but in the far-flung reaches of the Hungarian diaspora as well. Listen to those who are “The Friends of Hungary” in America, the “Hungarian American Coalition”, “The Hungarian Foundation” (that non-partisan” “non-profit” bridge builder between the “good people” of America and Hungary). Hungary’s voters have given Orbán his fourth, four-year parliamentary majority, and they will most likely give him another four-year supermajority when they next go to the polls in less than two years from now. As for the diaspora organizations in Canada, the USA: they adore Hungary’s “boss”, they just can’t get enough of the man who made Hungary great again. A man who loves his people and is fighting for Jesus, cannot be a bad hombré.”

As for those who come at Orbán from the political right, by labeling him a “Communist thug”, I advise my target audience to turn towards John for advice about what’s the right Word (John 1:1).

Before we turn to the false labels attached to Orbán by many of those who work on either the liberal or conservative side of the American media, some preliminary comments are needed beyond the one we have already given above. The reason why false, untested labeling of our political leaders by the media matters is that they often blind the folks on the “lower decks” – in economy class – to the dangers that lie ahead because of their “captain’s” “bosses” haste to “break on through to the other side”. False labels prevent the men and women below the bridge from taking rational, corrective action, because they are lulled into either a false sense of security by the scribes who work for “the captain”, or into a false sense of panic by those who are working for someone with a “hidden agenda”. It’s when the passengers lose the ability to distinguish who is right or wrong, who is friend or foe, when they cannot distinguish reality from illusion, that litmus tests, like this one, come in handy.

Let not any of the above lead us towards false conclusions. The application of “false labels” to political leaders by the media is not a uniquely American pastime. It is, and has been a global phenomenon, since the invention of writing, well before the birth of Jesus. Hungarian scribes are as good at it as any of their colleagues in America. A brief illustration will suffice. When Viktor Orbán’s self-professed political role model, Admiral Nicholas Horthy declared war on America, on December 12, 1941, many of the conservative scribes in Budapest labelled this a wise move on the part of Hungary’s captain (the label for the Hungarian captain was Kormányzó, the man who steers Hungary’s ship of state on a path ostensibly charted for all Hungarians by God Almighty Himself). That ship of state took 2 million Hungarians to the bottom by April 1945 (600,000 were Hungarian Jews, crammed into cattle-cars like animals, and sent to die offshore so as not to stain the Christian-National family carpet with their tainted blood). Its largely because of false labels that those, whose lives matter, become the proverbial passengers who end up rearranging the deck chairs on the ships that take us all to the bottom. This is how WWI and WWII unfolded during the 20th century, taking close to 100 million to the bottom each time. This is how the wars in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, or now, in Gaza, the Ukraine, Northern Syria, the Sudan are being navigated, steered by “the Captains” on top. Unless we engage in the resolute, testing of our labeling practices, we’ll be blindsided again, and again by the things that tend to come toward us under the waterline. It is at times like these, when we are charging ahead with a full head of steam, in turbulent, uncharted waters, that clear vision – the ability to test fearlessly the validity of our Captains’ claims, their record of achievements – is badly needed.

The Consumer Report, the litmus test that follows is driven by the above imperative and is guided, spiritually, by the words attributed to Jesus by one of His closest Evangelists, Matthew, through whom He warns us what will come of those who use the name of His Father in vain, as an instrument for personal political gain.

And now, for something completely different

It is for the above reasons that we begin this Consumer Report by freeing the Trump Organization’s Hungarian idol of the false labels pinned upon him by both sides of the American mass-media. Our report will prove to those whose lives matter, and back it up with instantly verifiable data rather than hearsay, that Orbán is not a political strongman, as touted by the liberal media, but the chicken that lays the golden egg in the criminal mind.

We shall provide the empirically irrefutable evidence that shows: Orbán is not a patriot, as marketed by the American-Hungarian right, but a sell-out (in French, a vendu), a predator, who uses patriotism as his lure, his bait for snaring his unsuspecting victims to do his dirty work. We shall provide the evidence that shows, he is not a “true blue conservative” but a “curiously yellow fraud”: a veritable “Robbing Hood” whose “strength”, and caché with “the political bosses” in such far flung places as Washington, Berlin, Moscow, Beijing, Teheran or Tel Aviv flows from a single source: his ability to amass great wealth by robbing his country’s hard-working wage earners not only of their money, their dignity, their voice but most importantly, their vision: their ability to see clearly what their “boss” is doing to them, how he is robbing them of their ability to distinguish friend from foe, fact from fiction, illusion from reality on the eve of their destruction. (The song and lyrics have been written for this series a long time ago by Barry McGuire. Those who may have forgotten it, or are too young to have heard it can listen to it here.

Ultimately what this series will show to my Republican friends and those who are willing to weigh the evidence, is that if Donald Trump and the folks at the Heritage Foundations succeed in their efforts to transfer the Hungarian politician’s technique of governance onto these shores, America will become great again, but not as the land of the true north, strong and free, but as the world’s largest Animal Farm. (For the young ones, I suggest looking into George Orwell’s classic by that title.)

To be Continued with The First Round of Test Results

András Göllner

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