Being a part of the Strategic Culture Foundation certainly has its benefits: one of them was receiving a personal request from someone in EU politics (who will remain unnamed) to watch and comment on what could turn out to be a very important moment for the direction of the continent. “Europe Uncensored” (ER: the video in English is at this link) organized by The Foundation for a Civic Hungary, brought together the leaders of Slovenia (Janez Janša), Serbia (Aleksandar Vučić), Hungary (Viktor Orbán) with an MEP French moderator (François-Xavier Bellamy) to make what I would call a historic warning shot in a roughly hour long video premiere. Speaking in English with general language, the speeches seemed equally targeted at the peers of the speakers and members of the elite.
So what were the messages of this video, and why did they bother to put together this online international declaration?
In politics often there is a lot being stated without words. Symbols and imagery are very important to intellectuals, so before we get to the stated content of the video, we should take a look at the unstated content. Behind each of the politicians were plenty of flags of their own and the nations participating in the Europe Uncensored event, with big EU flags right alongside them. This send a strong visual cue that they want reform, not a rebellion – the EU flags were prominent and hung with pride. The logo of the event had a political map of Europe with the notable but not surprising exceptions of Russia, Turkey, nations in the Caucasus Mountains, Israel and surprisingly Iceland. The Crimea was displayed on the logo as part of the Ukraine. Sometimes designers just grab the first rights-free vector map they can get their hands on, but the exclusion of these certain nations is most likely on purpose.
And, of course, the name “Europe Uncensored” implies that the views expressed at the event have been oppressed unfairly, which is true.
Image: The logo of the event.
The Opening (François-Xavier Bellamy)
The Moderator of the event, Mr. Bellamy, laid down the ideological framework of the views of an “Eastern” European Union and a summary of its history from this other point of view. He did such an excellent job that it is best to take a look at what he actually said without summation.
“Politics could finally come to an end and dissolve itself in the efficient administration of the economy, there was nothing more to care about, nothing left to be protected…” “All of this, even the human condition itself, was to be replaced and this was called progress…”
‘Societies were not made of citizens but of consumers… work was only a boring means to buy leisure…”
“Anything that dared still to claim a higher, a higher value than individual life, and immediate pleasure was a danger to denounce…”
“No limits could now stop a never-ending movement preventing any historical continuity to occur, no rules to stop the vibrations of the markets to absorb all of human life and no borders to refrain the migration that was supposed to become our common horizon. In this moment, it looks like (the) European Union was a synonym for this end of history… we are in 2020 now, watching the end of the end of history and this is what we should talk about today…”
“We are united by the whole history of a civilization, Europe is not an international organization that would be empty of any content; though we denied it in the last decades, we are united by our common roots. Eastern, Central, Western Europe share a common heritage and simple eyes can see it…”
The important thing about what is said is not so much in the details but the fact that an alternative view of history from the Liberal status quo has now been worked out. Everything in Mr. Bellamy’s words was concise and thought out. About 10 or 15 years ago, any attempt to forge a different historical narrative to the progressive march of history that we are used to seemed impossible, and the people trying to do it were labeled racist whackos trying to mask their Fascist beliefs in an official package. Now, a reasonably argued, alternative historical narrative has come from Eastern/Central Europe and is coming out of the mouths of mainstream politicians. As Mr. Bellamy said, this is the “end of the end of history”.
Going further, the moderator laid out the idea for the perfect definition of what their vision of Europe should be – something Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian. These two terms combined present a very compact but wide-reaching idea that is understandable to anyone with even a passing interest in history. In order to shift norms, one has to offer a vision to the public.
This short statement Greco-Roman/Judeo-Christian could very well become the “Make America Great Again” for the European Right.
Aleksandar Vučić, President of Serbia
Mr. Vučić’s speech was a call for mutual respect and pragmatism. As the leader of a minor player in EU politics that was brought into Europe’s sphere thanks to Bill Clinton’s bombs, this feeling of disrespect that he has should not be surprising. The Serbian President went into great detail about how his nation and Orbán’s Hungary can have a great relationship (especially economically) when they stay out of each other’s internal affairs. All of the speakers seemed annoyed by Brussel’s overreach, but Vučić seemed to be the most bothered.
In terms of the economy, Vučić has a very pessimistic view of what the post-Covid-19 EU is going to look like. He said that instead of predicted GDP increases of a few whole percentage points, the continent is now going into the red due to the unexpected blow from the Coronavirus. He argued that the most important issue in Europe is and will be its financial status, which is in contrast to some of the more ideological demands of his counterparts.
“I think also that our parties should put economic change and economic cooperation and security cooperation above fake social relativism and alleged political correctness because people are fed up.”
He said these issues, along with border control, were the job of the “Center-Right,” which he claims they are a part of. It is a shame that all the speakers at Europe Uncensored chose the term Center-Right to define themselves. This choice of wording means they are submitting to the Liberal talking point that anyone on the Right is a Nazi/Extremist. In most English language journalism about Europe, there is the Center-Right (acceptable enemies) and the Far-Right (unacceptable enemies) with nothing in-between. When trying to make a bold declaration for a new Europe, one should not play into the enemy’s word game trickery. Having a Right-Wing position cannot be a sin in a near-future EU.
Overall, Vučić seemed like a frustrated middle manager at a large company. Loaded with responsibility but completely dependent of other greater powers who may not even know that he exists. You could feel his burning annoyance at this disrespect as he spoke, especially in terms of the EU’s hypocritical treatment of Serbia at the start of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Image: The entire panel of speakers
Janez Janša, Prime Minister of Slovenia
The Slovenian PM did a good job of recalling the joyous optimism that there was for the EU decades ago, but since that point, there have been many failures and crises in his opinion, which include the following:
- European Constitution’s Lukewarm “Acceptance”
- Lisbon Treaty
- 2008 Economic Crisis
- 2015 Migrant Crisis
- Covid-19 revealed massive failure of EU and global institutions
His picture of a crisis-stricken EU that needs to recover demands “pragmatic” solutions as he called them. His offerings for solutions were as follows…
- Extend the Schengen Zone to all of Europe (Croația, Romania, Bulgaria, etc.)
- Focus the EU on Demographics and Family-friendly policies
- Acknowledge that the main threat for the future of the EU is “Cultural Marxism”
Regarding this surprising direct attack on Cultural Marxism, Mr. Janša said:
“To create a new world, you need to dismantle a nation, family, private property, private schools and religion. And this is going on now. This is Cultural Marxism and it’s obvious there is a messy offensive going on through mass media, universities, cultural industry, multinational institutions, some political parties… and the front against the [sic] is offensive is weak and uncoordinated.
It is hard to argue with the obvious truth that in order to fight ideologically, one needs to be organized with a well-vetted historical narrative and talking points, as well as the civil organizations, media and university infiltration to push it. Compared to the machine these men are up against, their forces seem very small. So, the question is, to what extent will/are the participants in Europe Uncensored actually going to be able achieve even half of what they want to do?
Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary
Mr. Illiberalism himself was, as expected, the most passionate speaker on the panel. He made various points about the failings of the EU without any calls to give up on it all together.
“Europe is in retreat,” he said in reference to the dismal divorce and birth rate statistics across the union of nations. He also added that the “balance of power” has also changed over the last 30 years with the UK dropping out among other things. As the leader of a smaller often ignored country, a restructuring of the balance of power could certainly help Hungary. The EU has been dominated by the Liberal West. If the core of the EU shifts East, there could still be hope for a family friendly, pro-human, traditional Europe.
Orbán underscored these differences between Eastern and Western members in their approach to issues like the 2008 Financial Crisis and the 2015 Migrant Crisis. The West says the Welfare State and Immigration are the solutions respectively, whereas the East promotes a Workfare State and increasing the Birth Rate. Going further about the “two Europes,” Mr. Orbán said the following…
“The first concept is the progressive liberal left, is may I say from a Budapest point of view, semi-Marxist…”
“…A concept of Europe based on Christian Culture… this concept is deeply anti-Communist and pro-family…
Calling a “spade a spade” is always a good option for a Populist. The key thing is, despite these strong words, the message of Mr. Orbán and the other leaders is one of changing course, not jumping ship. So far, the subcontext of the language used at the event sounded like a warning shot. They are essentially trying to politely yet loudly tell the EU that the ideological side of the status quo is not working. They want to shift the EU towards a pro-Christian, less-Liberal, pro-Family organization, not tear it all down for the sake of some revolution. They want the Eastern vision for what the EU could be to come into mainstream acceptance.
I use the term “warning shot” because, at this point, the voices on the Right in Europe are happy to play nice as long as they start to finally get some of what they want. However, if the EU’s Cultural Marxist foolery continues another 5 or 10 years and those like Viktor Orbán see the death of their culture on the horizon, the next volley will be a lot “lower”. Furthermore, much of the EU depends on the USA, and if Washington is no longer able or willing to dominate Europe, certain countries will no longer need to engage in polite begging.
Europe Uncensored was a friendly warning that something is wrong in society, with a gentlemanly offer to fix it together. But no offer lasts forever.
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