“Perhaps Florida is becoming our American Hungary.” Conservative commentator Rod Dreher thought in a column last month that he praised Hungary for paving the way for the U.S. Conservatives to crack down on LGBTQ rights. Dreher is a senior editor of the American Conservatives and an outspoken admirer of Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Urban – so much so that he settled in Budapest and introduced himself to the city’s pro-government intellectuals.
According to Dreher, Florida – Govt. Under Ron Desantis (R) – Influential American Conservatives are attracted to those interested in living in a state that is being steadily rebuilt by one of the country’s most ambitious elected politicians. In his remarks, it is like the capital of Hungary, which has become a popular convening ground for right-wing scholars and intellectuals, and is set to host a foreign edition of the US-based Conservative Political Action Conference this week.
The reunion goes much deeper. Urban, who has been in power since 2010 and recently won re-election, is hailed by American conservatives as a leader who has achieved both political and cultural victories in his country. Urban presided over what he called a “Christian democracy”, a liberal state where “traditional” values prevailed and liberal opponents were excluded or frozen from the core.
Descentis, consciously or not, is a “pioneer of American urbanism,” wrote Zach Beauchamp of Vox.
A Florida state bill, signed by Descentis in March, has been criticized by critics as a “don’t say gay” law, banning guidelines or classroom discussions on LGBTQ issues for children up to third grade. Opponents fear that its vague language will open the door to lawsuits from parents for any discussion of sexuality and gender, and will have a calming effect on schools. But the governor of Florida has announced that he is striking against “the awakening of gender ideology.”
Urban went further, and first. In 2020, he banned adoption by same-sex couples – which has been legal in all U.S. states since 2017 – and makes it legally impossible for transgender people to change their gender. Last year, his government passed a law banning the sharing of content with minors that is seen as promoting homosexuality or sexual redefining. It also includes provisions to restrict education on homosexuality and to establish a searchable registry of convicted pedophiles. The law has sparked a storm of criticism elsewhere in the European Union and plunged Hungary into a slow-moving conflict with its EU partners in the West.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a member of the European Parliament after the law was passed last year that “this law equates homosexuality and gender redefinement with pornography.” “This law uses the protection of children, to which we are all committed, as an excuse for serious discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation. This law is shameful. “
Yet it seems to have at least indirectly inspired Florida legislators. At an April panel in Budapest, Dreher suggested that the Florida bill was “modeled as part of what Hungary did last summer.” To justify establishing ideological control over education, Florida law advocates, like Urban and his associates, have enchanted a world where pedophilia “groomers” are waiting to prey on schoolgirls.
Criticized by influential players – especially Disney, one of Florida’s largest private employers – Descentis came into conflict. His state government passed a second law, punishing Disney executives for speaking out by abolishing the special authority that governs Disney World, allowing the company to maintain its own regulatory and tax provisions in large parts of Central Florida where it operates Disney World.
As Beauchamp points out, the system is much broader in Hungary under Urban, who used state power to deprive a key business leader of the contract and created a system where it aligned major commercial interests with the ruling party’s line.
Organization of America: The United States is walking the path of right Hungary
Many Republican politicians explicitly declare that they are fighting an oppressive liberal orthodoxy that dominates American culture, the education system, a ubiquitous establishment dominated by traditional media outlets and complex corporate behemoths. An attack on Disney could be the blunt end of a reaction; The new legislation, pushed by Republican state legislatures, has a sharp edge in that, in the case of another bill signed by Dissent, the police want to address public schools and workplaces around gender and caste.
Desantis, who has built a profile as a Mundu culture fighter with an eye on the president, has combined a policy agenda with a strong echo of Urban’s ruling policy – where a so-called existential cultural threat from the left justifies the state’s aggressive use. Strength against the enemies on the right, “wrote Beauchamp.
For Urban, the strategy is ultimately about political consolidation and activating a committed right-wing base. “This dangerous world of nationalist rhetoric produces ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’, creating imaginary threats to the nation and providing support,” wrote Graeme Reed, director of Human Rights Watch’s LGBT rights program last year. “In Hungary, immigrants have been denounced as a perceived external monster, while LGBT people have been cast as an internal threat and foreign influence.”
Hungary is not alone in reducing the protection of the LGBTQ community, especially in the former communist world. But Urban presents himself as the main champion of “family values” in Europe, standing against a tide of modern liberalism that has undermined traditional family in his speeches and made his own country one of Europe’s lowest fertility rates. When he took power.
“Hungary must defend itself because the West is attacking the left,” Urban told a population summit in Budapest last September. “It simply came to our notice then. Its tools are gender ideology and the LGBTQ lobby, which is attacking our children. “
Former Vice President Mike Pence, one of the keynote speakers at the conference, echoed his call. “We are seeing a crisis that has brought us here today, a crisis that has hit the very center of civilization,” Pence told the rally. “The nuclear family is characterized by decay, declining marriage rates, increasing divorce rates, widespread abortions, and declining birth rates.” (Pence then correctly predicted that the right-wing majority in the US Supreme Court would soon work to protect abortion.)
U.S. right-wingers encourage Urban’s policies to increase birth rates while preventing immigration. Urban spends about 5 percent of Hungary’s gross domestic product on programs to encourage families to have children. These include income tax exemptions for mothers of three children, generous loans for married couples who wish to have children immediately, and nationalization in vitro fertilization programs for women under 40 (although lesbians do not need to apply).
Yet, no matter the decade of Urban’s efforts, Hungary’s fertility rate is still below the level needed to sustain its population. A United Nations study estimates that the country’s population could drop below 9 million by 2035. One of the main reasons for the decline of Hungary’s population is the massive exodus of thousands of Hungarians in the last decade of Urban rule.