After Strange Gods

Letter from Budapest

In Hungary last October, U.S. diplomat André Goodfriend noted that Americans’ “right to express their views would be protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”  Making clear that his sympathies lay not with U.S. citizens arrested in Budapest but with the Hungarian officials who had arrested them, he hastily added, “We’re glad to see that the government of Hungary shares our concerns that messages that a group like this promotes are abhorrent.”

The group in question was not an affiliate of Pussy Riot, which may rest assured of Western governments’ protection whenever it desecrates Orthodox and Catholic churches in Russia or France.  The target of Hungarian President Viktor Orban’s ire was the National Policy Institute, a Colorado-based right-wing think tank.  With assistance from Hungary’s conservative Jobbik Party, NPI had organized “The Future of Europe”—a conference dealing with the effects of uncontrolled Third World immigration upon European cultures and peoples.

Urged on by leftist watchdog organizations, Orban’s government declared the event racist and had NPI’s Budapest hotel reservations canceled.  Unwilling to face the political heat, Jobbik withdrew support.  Police took into custody NPI president Richard Spencer, who was then deported.  Using social media, the remaining...

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