Beyond the Cusp

April 9, 2014

Does Jobbik Party Electoral Success in Hungary Taint Europe?

If there would be an extreme and overt reaction to the election results in Hungary which gave the Xenophobic and Anti-Semitic Jobbik Party a three percent increase in the vote making them the third most popular party behind Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz Party and the fractious opposition center-left alliance led by Attila Mesterhazy, it would come from the European Jewish Congress (EJC). The EJC claimed on Monday the success of the anti-Semitic Jobbik party in Hungary was “a source of grave concern for Europe.” Additionally, EJC President Moshe Kantor was quoted in the European Jewish Press saying, “The gains made by Jobbik, an unashamedly neo-Nazi political party, should serve as a wake-up call for the whole of Europe. Once again in Europe we are witnessing democracy being appropriated by those are the enemies of democracy. This is truly a dark day for Hungary. It is the duty of both European leaders and voters to ensure that a strong message is delivered by supporters of democracy throughout Europe to show these racists and xenophobes that hate has no place on our continent.”

 

Of course the Jobbik Party did attempt to distance themselves from their former anti-Semitic and anti-Roma past reputation by presenting themselves as a more center of the road but “radical nationalist” movement focused on law and order and attacking corruption. Like many extreme fringe groups, the Jobbik rebranding of themselves to offer a more acceptable and affirming front in place of their former negative and hateful rhetoric required the relative silence of some of the more rabid old guard, something they were apparently quite successful. One such candidate is Istvan Meszaros, a candidate from Baja on the Serbian border, who is the leader of the New Hungarian Guard, a controversial vigilante group that has held torchlight marches in Roma neighborhoods, much like its predecessor, the Hungarian Guard, which was banned in 2009. Meszaros was quoted by AFP at his Baja campaign offices claiming, “Jobbik offers action, not just talk. Crime falls in those areas after(wards).” This was a reference to the measureable results of such marches. Of course, it is needless to point out that retaining candidates like Meszaros in “safe” locals fortifies the extremists from the old and less savvy Jobbik Party.

 

The question is what does their improved election results mean about the rise of xenophobia and racism across Europe? Similar results have been noted in Greece in recent elections with their Golden Dawn Party, reputed to be even more extreme group of nationalists than the Jobbik Party. There were also the gains made in France by Marine Le Pen’s Front National Party in recent local elections. In the eleven towns and districts which are now controlled by the Front National Party there has been debate on a sensitive issue about the substitution meals targeting mainly Muslim and Jewish students. Marine Le Pen told RTL radio, “We will accept no religious requirements in the school lunch menus.” She defended the decision saying it was necessary to “save secularism”. I have some problems that in some manner I can understand and even agree with Miss Le Pen’s as she has obviously discovered that Secularism is, if its practitioners were to be honest, a form of religion replete with commandments, deities, and a formative cannon. The religion of Secularism is, in many ways, one of the least tolerant religions and, as is often the case with any religion in its youth, and is determined to replace and subvert every other religion and place itself as the preeminent religion over all within any society where it gains a foothold. This is another reason for the advancement in election of the uber-nationalist as they are the purveyors on the front lines of exclusive secularism.

 

The rumors that religion has died in Europe are actually a false narrative used by the Secularists who claim that secularism is a political viewpoint and not a religion. They claim that it is anti-religion and purely logical and science based is one of the basic religious cannons of the secularists who make such claims to imply that secularism is steeped in unarguable facts and thus not faith based. Their argument is along the same line as the ecology anthropogenic global warming advocates who also claim that the debate is over and their definitions are the only acceptable and truthful views making everything else a form of apostasy. There is a fair amount of overlap between the secularists and the nationalist parties, especially when it comes to their exclusive and narrow acceptance of only those of similar beliefs and backgrounds and rejection of traditional religious minorities. Both groups also tend to be socialistic in their political persuasions. Their emotional attachment resembles religious fanatical observance to a rigid structure and defined cannon which rules out any debate or variance. Such a limited and rigid structure often leads to fanaticism and a developing hatred for those who are perceived as the other, those opposed to their political beliefs. For the secularists that includes the religious while the nationalists it includes all foreign groups and those religions other than the traditional religion or possibly a religion formed by the nationalists themselves which could easily be considered a secular belief. These groups, as they include greater numbers, can lead to oppressive societies which are often capable of victimizing minorities and whomever they label as the evil other, and the outsider is always evil simply because they are different and not in agreement with the rigid belief structure adhered to be such groups. The danger comes when they gain legitimate power through elections or other methods and can eclipse reason and acceptance of those who are labeled as unacceptable minorities who threaten to subvert the order and accepted mandates of the society. This will eventually lead to oppressive policies and animosity beyond normal acceptance under what is considered common custom. Europe has been down this road before in many different scenarios which always resulted in tragedies and abhorrent hate-filled persecutions. Hopefully the economic and social difficulties which are the driving impetus behind the rise of such fanatics will subside and the stresses relieved before Europe once again drives itself into another fanatical and hateful obsession.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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