As far as I can tell, the most blatant power grab to date has happened in the country I now call home. A couple of days ago the Hungarian government voted to grant Prime Minister Viktor Orbán the power to rule by decree with no end date.
Reactions to this ruling have been both revelatory and predictable. On the one hand, the EU and other liberal-globalist governments and organizations around the world are wailing about the death of democracy, the rule of law, human rights, fundamental values, and all the rest of it. On the other hand, those on the secular right are praising the news of Orbán's 'coronavirus coup' as a clear sign of globalism's decline in the face of rising nationalism.
The liberal/globalist reaction has been both foreseeable and hypocritical. Organizations like the UN and EU have lambasted Hungary and Orbán over backsliding on democracy, the rule of law, fundamental EU values, and human rights. These most recent protests essentially amount to little more than the liberal elite turning up the volume on the same song they have been singing about Hungary for nearly ten years. What makes the objections even more meaningless now is the uncomfortable fact that liberal/globalist governments all over the West are basically doing exactly what they are criticizing Orbán of doing. All countries in which the birdemic lockdowns have been imposed have become de facto dictatorships. The only difference between them and Hungary is this - the totalitarianism in Hungary is now de jure rather than de facto.
Secular rightists and secular nationalists appear to understand the de jure aspect of Hungary's liberal/globalist democracy-distancing and have been embracing it with open arms. Those on the secular right interpret Orbán's maneuver as a blow against the ruling progressive/liberal/globalist power structure. They also perceive it as a positive development against the Establishment, which has been using progressive, liberal, and democratic principles as a means through which to weaken nation states in order to usher in a one-world totalitarian government.
I share no accord with liberal/globalists. All liberals and globalists, whether secular or religious, are squarely rooted in Leftism; and since Leftism is so blatantly antithetical to Christianity, I cannot break bread with them.
The same holds true for secular rightists and secular nationalists. Though I am positively inclined to some of the tenets and beliefs the secular right promulgates, my affinity with them is limited by their own antithetical stance toward Christianity. To me, terms like right wing and left wing have become fundamentally meaningless.
In my view, only two realities exist here and now - you are either for God, or you are against God. Put another way, one is either religious or a Leftist. Secular rightists and secular nationalists are, obviously, not religious; hence, they are necessarily Leftitsts. Now people can pick on me all they want about faulty syllogisms and the like, but in the here and now, that is what Reality comes down to for me. Granted, rightists might be a great deal less Left than most Leftists, but at the most meaningful level they are still of the Left. At best they are the Reft or The Least Left.
This point is extremely crucial here and now, and will, in my opinion, become even more crucial in the coming weeks and months. Those who view the world from a religious perspective - more specifically from a Christian perspective - must not allow themselves to be tricked into regarding any possible secular rightist or secular nationalist gains in the coming weeks and months as being necessarily Good. Yes, secular gains on the right might include some good, but this does not immediately make them Good. We mustn't forget that secular nationalist advances are underpinned by purely material concerns. Put another way, they are prone to contain no foundation in the Divine, as Bruce Charlton points out in this must read post:
We should not be surprised if recent SJW/ Woke crusades - such as the Trans agenda, Global Warming, Western population replacement by mass migration - are simply thrown under the bus over the next few weeks and months.
The world may suddenly appear to be more (so-called) 'Right Wing'.
. . .
But this is not a good sign! - from any point of view. All it means is that the gloves are off, and the totalitarian agenda is being pursued under another and more effective justification: the Establishment posing as saviours from the masses gripped by abject fear of death.
[Establishment: You are all going to die horribly, unless you allow us to convert the world to North Korea. The Western Masses: Fine by us... Well, what are you waiting for? Get on with it already!]
The real agenda of the Establishment is not Leftism but evil . . .
This brings us back to the subject of Viktor Orbán's power to rule by decree. Well, I can tell you first hand that Hungary does suddenly appear to be more right wing, but as far as I can tell, this shift to the totalitarian right does not, as of yet, appear to be expressly rooted in the Divine.
Orbán's first official break with the liberal/globalist agenda began roughly six years ago and became rather glaring at the height of the 2015 migration crisis. At that time, Orbán touted illiberal democracy as an alternative to liberal/globalist world order epitomized by the EU. Though I supported Orbán's illiberal stance, I recognized the inherent limitations it contained.
A few years later, the Hungarian government made a rather dramatic shift in its rhetoric. Christian democracy replaced the term illiberal democracy. Orbán began to extol the virtue and necessity of Christianity and Christian culture, and indeed, many of his policies and laws - such as family support and childbirth programmes and a stance against Christian persecution - began to reflect Christian principles. It was at this time that I began to explore whether or not Viktor Orbán was in fact a real Christian leader.
Though I have found Orbán's initiatives impressive and, for the most part, Good, I also understand that purely secular governments had also enacted many of the same policies he was touting as Christian-inspired. Case in point, the former communist government in Hungary launched its own family support program and childbirth incentives in the 1970s. Yes, these too can be aligned with Christian principles, but it would be a stretch to claim that the communists were inspired to begin the programs in order to align themselves and their society with the Divine.
Secular nationalists welcome Orbán's sudden authoritarian power grab because it aligns perfectly with their own agenda. For them, there is no higher thing than nation. Any action that frees a nation from the tentacles of globalism and, thereby, ensures self-determination is viewed by secular nationalists as an ultimate good.
I accede - such actions do contain some good, but this in itself does not make them Good.
As of right now, I do not bemoan the loss of democracy because, for all intents and purposes, democracy has been hijacked and drained of all moral responsibility in nearly every place it is practiced. At best, democracy is little more than an abstraction - a cold, crushing system that offers little more than the illusion of participation in power and governance. One need look no farther than at what most Western democracies are currently doing with their trillion dollar bailout packages to understand who really runs democracy and what its real purpose is. I will go as far as to say that democracy itself is evil - that is, it has become, in every conceivable way, antithetical to Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. Thus, I shed no tears over the suspension of democracy.
Nonetheless, Orbán has used the current birdemic crisis to suspend democracy and grab power, just as nearly every other leader and government has used the birdemic to grab power. This in itself is certainly not Good. At the same time, this does not entail that leaders or governments that have not locked down their citizenry are Good by default. If that were the case, the country of Sweden - that bastion of progressiveness - is now one of the most virtuous countries on the planet.
That Orbán snatched the reigns of power on the flimsiest of excuses is inarguable - Hungary currently has fewer than 500 diagnosed coronavirus patients and a grand total of 16 deaths have been attributed to the virus. What Orbán intends to do with his newfound powers remains unclear.
I can nurture only one, faint hope at the moment - perhaps Orbán's moves have been guided by the Divine in some way. If they have, Hungary has a chance. Good can come of this.
However, if the Hungarian government's recent actions have been driven by nothing more than secular, material concerns . . . well . . .
For the time being, I am taking a guilty until proven innocent approach to the whole matter. That is, I am assuming the power grab was not Divinely inspired, which means I have become a citizen of a totalitarian, secular, right wing dream-come-true of a country.
And that, despite what secular nationalists may say, is definitely not Good.
Note added: One measure that was passed when Orbán was granted his decree was a stricter form of media regulation. The legislation allows up to five years of imprisonment for anyone who publishes false or distorted facts that alarm or agitate the public, or undermine the successful protection of the country. In light of this, I could theoretically face up to five years imprisonment for having written this post. I don't believe the government will come after me for this, but technically they could . . . but maybe that was always the case anyway.