This article has been published online by XXI Század Intézet on April 26, 2021.
European politics has been vegetating in the shadow of the competing superpowers since World War II. Germany (apparently) gave up on being Europe’s leading cultural and military power, but in exchange has gained unprecedented economic supremacy not seen since WWII. There were some statesmen who wanted to forge their own path in Europe (Charles De Gaulle), but in the end, European politics always submitted to the expectations of the superpowers.
The dynamics of European history are determined by two forces: stability and progress. Leaders of European countries were successful when they were able to distinguish between things worth preserving and those that need to be renewed. There are recurring motifs throughout history, but the problems themselves are always new – and the major connections are usually only recognizable after decades. Western public opinion has long been averse to accepting the relation between the ideologies of liberalism and socialism, or their fraternal directions. Superficial observers of world politics interpreted the Cold War period as a struggle between these two ideologies; however, in hindsight, it is clear that this was only the surface.
Classical liberalism has been in decline since 1914.
The great winner of the past century was socialism as the first half of the 20th century was nothing more than a struggle between different versions of it. In 1989/90 it was not socialism that failed, but rather just its Soviet version. Today, China – the world’s number two economic and military power – has perfected it in its modern form, building a true Orwellian society. Simultaneously, the world’s number one, the USA, is heading straight for socialism: since WWII, federal power has been growing continuously, along with welfare spending and nominal national debt. Following the terrorist attacks of 2001, the power of the current American administration drastically increased compared to previously. The lives of its citizens are under surveillance to an unprecedented extent while the government gets more and more areas of civil society under its control. In 2016, Bernie Sanders campaigned on the promise of Scandinavian-type socialism and under Joe Biden’s presidency, he has begun building the gigantic welfare state.
Amid the vibrations on the surface, the power of Big tech companies is also growing uninterruptedly: historically unprecedented power centers are emerging where they control the activities of natural and legal persons through Big Data and are already able to significantly influence the outcome of elections.
Globalization has now surpassed all political views. It has emptied liberalism – the only leftover of which is a passion for the free market – and modernized the left: hard and soft communism. Progression also colonized most of the forces that call themselves conservatives. Events disturbing this process occurred with the awakening of Central Europe’s self-awareness in 2010, followed by Donald Trump’s presidency from 2017 to 2020.
Findings from the European right
The European right essentially has two main courses of attack: 1) the outspoken problems of the radical wing are often coupled with socially unacceptable rhetoric and flawed federal policies. A typical example of this from Western countries occurred with Enoch Pwell and Jean Marie Le Pen while in Hungary, István Csurka fell into the same trap. Thus there is always a glass ceiling pulled tight over radical politics. In times of crisis, support for these parties rise, but their attempts to gain a political center fail.
2) In comparison, the European center-right is always looking for an opportunity for unity. Its aim is to reconcile stability and progress according to local conditions. It seeks to dominate the political center with compromise solutions, preserving the traditional European and national values as much as possible. The European center-right directives are traditionally based on natural law reasoning. Secular principles derived from Christianity (protection of human dignity, subsidiarity, solidarity) are often supplemented by a reference to Christianity, sometimes with explicit reference to the social teachings. Until recently, the European People’s Party (EPP) served as its umbrella organization, whose strength was due to two factors. First, widespread, mass support; a significant number of members came from broad-based center-right parties. Second, the economic forces behind it, the financial, economic strength and influence. Parties belonging to the EPP had access to influence at the international level.
This kind of compromise policy has brought serious benefits – with an acceptable amount of losses. However, the status quo established in the 1990s was shaken up by a number of events: the EU was hit by the financial crisis in 2008, the migration crisis in 2015, and then the unprecedented blow of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. In all three cases, the EU performed poorly. It was not capable of reacting quickly and this repeatedly led to a faltering social order and a decline in living standards. EU policy is typically slow, bureaucratic and unaccountable.
Even after 2008, this had detrimental effects: the crisis in the real estate and financial markets resulted in significant realignment of wealth, from which the citizens of Europe could not benefit. The migration crisis further undermined Europe’s sense of security: it has upset the already critical ethnic proportions in several major cities, violence against women has erupted, the number of atrocities against Jews and gays has increased significantly, and Christians are more frequently the target of attacks. In France, attacks on churches and religiously motivated murders have become a regular occurrence.
Throughout the course of the coronavirus pandemic, bureaucratic policies have caused even more damage than before.
“Doing things by not doing things” has so far cost the lives of tens of thousands of European citizens – but the Brussels elite still has not paid the consequences though events have consistently confirmed the arguments of national, right-wing, sovereign parties.
Progression undermines the Western world
The 2008 economic crisis proved to be a historic opportunity for “progressive forces”: progression reached a certain level and the transformation processes were accelerated. The experience of dynamic globalization is a challenge for all. During the great transformation, there is competition for primacy. Globalization in itself has an equalizing effect on the world, with differences between continents steadily narrowing – as was already observed at the beginning of the last century (Ortega y Gasset The Revolt of the Masses 1929). It is in the interest of global big capital to accelerate or contain this process. To this end, it is constantly increasing its influence within the system of cultural and scientific institutions. They determine trends in the entertainment industry (TV shows, film production, video games) and the media agenda. In the Western world, they have practically complete control over social science research and publications, which has several purposes. On the one hand, it creates the concepts by which this process can be described according to their interests. On the other, it also creates a self-regulatory defense mechanism, creating a language in which one cannot even discuss problems that may be undesirable.
Part of this process is infiltrating the moderate European right with progressive ideas.
The concept of “Christian Democracy without Christ” was created to this end, considered as a universal model for nations in the Western cultural circle. A kind of decorative-right is being built with props, slogans, and visual elements evoking an atmosphere of conservatism, but not jeopardizing any strategic goals of progressive forces. Part of this large-scale mission is to blur differences between cultures, merge populations of continents, and weaken societies’ internal cohesion. The World Economic Forum, one of the most important informal decision-makers, has already declared that private property will cease to exist within ten years. The sovereign nations of Europe pose an obstacle to all of this. This is how globalization and sovereignty became the true fault line of European politics today.
A geopolitical trap
The European right seeks to preserve what once made our culture great and what gives it its strength to this day. However, this seemingly obvious goal is detrimental to a number of interests. Effective European cooperation based on strong nation-states runs counter to the interests of power centers such as the American Democrats and the funding behind them, namely Big Tech companies. A strong Europe does not serve the interests of communist China, nor the Arab monarchies that export both oil and political Islam. Traditionally, Russia has also been considered against European success, but this is far from clear cut. A fully Americanized EU serving the ideology of democracy export is certainly not a good neighbor for Russia.
In a globalizing world in the grip of American, Chinese, and Arab powers, Europe should be interested in effective cooperation. However, the current direction of unification does not serve this purpose. The growing Brussels administration is clearly working against a competitive economy and stronger self-defense. Political decisions are bureaucratised, yet in the meantime, bureaucracy is imbued with ideology. Officials that cannot be held accountable make decisions on the worldview of 446 million people (cancel culture, gender ideology, LGBTQ lobbies) while vaccine purchases have been inhibited, costing the lives of tens of thousands within the past few months.
Until recently, the paradigmatic concepts of European politics were the neoliberal economy and liberal democracy. In 2008 the former, and in 2015 the latter declared bankruptcy definitely. The economic crisis spiraling out of America made it clear that financial markets need much stronger supervision. The migration crisis and the cynical reasoning of human rights organizations that are encouraging migration have made it clear that the natural need for European identity cannot be explained or defended in the language of liberalism.
The intellectual framework of our world until now has disintegrated and a new one has not yet emerged. We are in a paradigm shift.
Political forces formerly labeled liberal and socialist seem to be merging; progression has created a new, hybrid political phenomenon that promotes total freedom in private lives (quasi-liberal), but seeks to place an individual deprived of his natural bonds in a new, global dependency, framed by structures that cannot be democratically verified (quasi-socialism).
Challenges for the new European right
Confronting global structures involves enormous risk. If necessary, the right can even draw on ideas from the international left, which still prefers using tools outside of the political institutional system. Catching up seems inevitable: there is a need across Europe for a conservative movement and professional support for community building (lobby groups, action committees, demonstrations, performances). Behind this movement we would need economic power as well – a good example of which is the American prolife movement. This highly successful and effective initiative created a coalition for the protection of life with neo-Protestant, Chatolic and Orthodox denominations.
Though only realizable in the long term – but an essential strategic goal – is minimizing dependency on information technology. By developing independent IT infrastructure, dependence on Big Tech would decrease. As part of this, an independent, international media network must be built – something American Republicans may be interested in. Due to the well-known double standard in the media, our own television, radio, social network and other online platforms would be best.
Room for maneuver for the Hungarian right
Currently, Hungarian right-wing politics can exert influence on three levels. First, of course, is the self-explanatory level of domestic policy. Second, the Carpathian Basin which the Hungarian left typically ignores but the Hungarian right takes care of and includes in its scope since 2010. The third level however is something new: the wave of migration that started in 2015 put Hungairan on the map of Europe. Hungary, together with its allies in Central and Southern Europe, has once again become a bastion of Europe. However, this unexpected, old-new role has also brought with it unprecedented conflicts: centuries-old historical and cultural differences have surfaced in recent years.
In 1989/90 the people of Central Europe got rid of communism and were given the opportunity to become part of Europe again. In the West however, by the end of the 20th century, changes had taken place along the lines of the secularization model: the Europe that Hungarians and Poles were looking at through the Iron Curtain is no more. It took about two decades after the process of the regime change began, until the people of Central Europe realized that they were at the heart of Europe – the West was nothing more than a promise of prosperity.
By the beginning of the 21st century however, it had become clear that the West had no interest in improving the standard of living in Central Europe.
The colonial logic perseveres invariably: the big powers deny that any region could have independent interests, attaching countries to themselves, trying to weaken solidarity among them. Hungary and Poland stick to the ancient traditions of Europe though: in the face of postmodernity and transhumanism, they stand by models of antiquity and Christianity. As a result, an independent Central European conservatism has emerged in the last decade, which still believes in what the West no longer proclaims. This new conservatism is now being institutionalized, establishing its forums.
A political alliance is lasting if it is based on common interests while also representing certain common values. The Polish-Hungarian alliance, which is being joined by the Italians, is in the period of strategic planning. The number one goal is to formulate a minimum standard that other right-wing forces may eventually join. The European right stands for sovereignty: it wants to end the growing deficit in the European Union. It is likely going to insist on cutting red tape and maintaining subsidiarity. It is expected to take a more radical approach to illegal immigration than ever before to protect the interests of indigenous nations.
Possible value-based mutual goals are as follows: in Western Europe, traditional religion has essentially ceased to exist, but Christianity still belongs to the cultural foundations of society. The new European right is therefore unlikely to be declared religious in a spiritual sense, but it can unequivocally embrace the natural law teaching of Christianity. This can be the basis for traditionality, cultural self-defense and prolife movements. Encouraging natural, domestic reproduction will require a major economic force for the self-defense of indigenous peoples and nations. This must go hand in hand with the rise of a conservative feminism: the education system needs to be radically overhauled so that European women can reconcile motherhood not only with career development but also with a degree. All of this is likely to be accompanied by a desire to to simplify the tax system, support family tax cuts, and the taxation of capital.
The formation of a new political community will only be possible if the political will points in the same direction over the course of several years.
There must also be an economic backing to the European right, without which there is no reality of its survival. A link needs to be found with industries that are also financially interested in keeping fiscal policy and economic regulation within national bounds. We need partners who are willing to bear the medium-term financial losses in order to have the political representation in the long run.
The vast majority of the European political elite do not have their own, independent thoughts, nor do they raise relevant issues. They import political products that are invented in American progressive institutes, built up in the US political system with the help of international media, and distributed though soft-power routes (scientific collaborations, NGOs, film production, and other mass culture platforms). This phenomenon is called “shifting to the left”. If the European right wants to survive, it must have a much wider horizon than it does now. It must look beyond Euopre’s border, but even further, beyond the Western world. It should draw inspiration from Christian orthodoxy which has tremendous cultural power, and also pay attention to conservative thinking in South America. Meanwhile, it must find political allies on the other continents as well.
Miklós Pogrányi Lovas
Translated from the Hungarian language by the Visegrád Post.