However widespread the international backlash regarding Hungary’s new anti-paedophilia law may be, it is far from being unanimous. Despite the sensitive nature of the issue, many political figures voiced their support across Europe and America.
The condemnation of the new law (for being ‘anti-LGBT’) was especially harsh among certain MEPs and European Commissioners in Brussels, resulting in a joint EU statement calling for its repeal that has been signed by 17 countries across the board. However, we tend to forget, those countries do not represent the whole bloc, and eight countries refused to become signatories, including the V4s, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria. In other words, the usual suspects of Central Europe have shown their general commitment to timeless conservative values once again and their opinions should not be any less valid than of those in the West.
What’s more, two of these countries
have not only abstained from condemning Hungary, but some of their leaders also expressed their genuine support for the new law. Polish Education Minister Przemysław Czarnek, for instance, said in a recent interview that his country ‘should copy these regulations on Polish soil in their entirety!’ Czech President Milos Zeman also defended the Hungarian government’s decision, saying that PM Viktor Orbán ‘is not against homosexuals, but he is against the manipulation not only of parents but also of children in sex education.’
When it comes to Western Europe, of course, governing party officials mostly just fall in line with the increasingly authoritarian mainstream narratives. Outside of the establishments, however, some are still free to voice differing opinions. One such contrarian regarding the law was the Dutch parliamentarian and leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV) Geert Wilders, who explained that he supports ‘the idea that sexual upbringing is done in the family and not in school.’ He added that ‘things like politics and sexual education […] must take place within the family and not at schools, as it to pertains to minors.’
In the US, one of the first journalists
to hit a supportive tone while covering the new Hungarian law was Charlotte Pence Bond, daughter of former Vice President Mike Pence, who served under President Trump in the last administration. In her article featured on the Daily Wire, Pence highlighted that the legislation came just after several US entertainment companies faced severe backlash for creating children’s programmes that heavily promote LGBT behaviour and champion trans, queer and pansexual inclusion (for example, Nickelodeon’s Pride Parade cartoon). Pence concluded the article by writing that ‘It might be difficult for any legislation to pass that is meant to protect children from specific content, however, if those who oppose such efforts continue to push the implication that virtually all LGBT content is automatically acceptable.’ Ben Shapiro, the popular conservative author, journalist and editor emeritus of Daily Wire shared Pence’s article by simply saying ‘A must-read.’
But perhaps the most active American proponents of the new Hungarian law is Rod Dreher, senior editor at the prestigious American Conservative and established political writer across the globe, who has written a series of articles related to the issue at hand. ‘If Hungarian voters saw the kind of thing that American children are propagandized by, they would be totally behind this bill’, he wrote, as already quoted by an earlier Hungarian Conservative article, referring to programmes like the above mentioned Nickelodeon cartoon and other blatant pieces of child propaganda. ‘The government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán wants to keep that garbage away from Hungarian children. Thank God for that. Hungary is not as far gone into decadence as we in America are. They still have a chance to hold this stuff at bay – but not if they elect the Left.’
In a subsequent piece, Dreher argues that the new law is a way Hungary is trying to protect itself from the harmful effects of Western cultural imperialism: ‘So, to Western eyes, the Fidesz anti-LGBT legislation must look like nothing but cynical bigotry. But from the point of view of Hungarians who support it, it’s about the government refusing to allow Hungarian cultural beliefs to be steamrolled by Western elites, NGOs, and the media.’ And in another, referring to the unbelievable statistical increase in terms of gender transition among Western teens, he noted that ‘the Hungarian government is just using common sense in trying to prevent the kind of madness that has overtaken the UK and the US from conquering the minds of Hungarian youth.’
When Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister said Hungary had no place in the EU because of this law, Dreher responded by saying that ‘this is really extraordinary. A country that has been part of Europe for a thousand years is now regarded by other European leaders as unfit for their company because it bans a kind of sexualized material aimed at children — a ban that probably would have been supported by majorities in every European country forty or fifty years ago.’ And, switching to his familiarly witty manner, he noted: ‘I wonder if Europe’s Muslims support the Hungarian law. If they do, is there no place for them in the European Union? Someone should ask the Dutch prime minister.’ Touché.
Tamás Orbán, Danube Institute research fellow