This sometimes causes American conservatives to believe they must have a lot in common with right-wing groups in Europe, and to have some automatic sympathy with them. Well, they have some things in common with them, certainly. But they often have bizarre mythologies of their origins - pagan revivals in Scandinavia and New-Agey druids in England come to mind - and adopt customs with little grounding in history.
I recall discussing a Romanian election with friends from there years ago, when they shook their heads in frustration, because the choice was between a literal communist, a literal fascist, and a third candidate dedicated solely to the rights of the Hungarian minority there. We throw the words communist and fascist around too easily in America. They still have the real deal there, not only in universities and small publishing groups as here, but in their legislatures and town councils. There are mayors deeply concerned about the influence of Jews in places where no Jews have lived for decades. They've got some crazy, violent folks on the right in Europe. We shouldn't lose sight of that.
And yet, much of the criticism of the European right seems to be taking the worst possible interpretation of their actions (as in the US and Canada), coupled with a complete denial that there is any danger from the left at all - even when it is occurring as they speak. So...I think it is interesting to read this Harper's essay on Hungarian ultranationalists and try to navigate the facts versus the tone. Aren't many of the actions at these festivals he mutters so darkly about fairly similar to a Renn Faire? The anger expressed at the concerts of the rock band Karpatia - is it that different from the Fish Cheer from Country Joe at Woodstock?
Gábor Klaniczay, a professor of medieval studies at the university, told me that Fidesz’s attack on gender studies and the revival of Turanism were of a piece: both promise a return to an imaginary, idealized past. “This type of right-wing populism wants to undo everything certain types of twentieth-century progressive thinking achieved,” he explained. "The Hunnic past—martial, autocratic, and patriarchal—stands in clear opposition to contemporary liberalism."
I'm sorry, did he say that Autocratic is in clear opposition to contemporary liberalism? Is promising a return to an imaginary, idealised past very different from promising a creation of an imaginary, idealised future? Maybe it's a bit crazy and poorly supported, but how does it compare to transgenderism or affording the Green New Deal?
Read and enjoy.
*Interestingly, we do see echoes of that among violent terrorists called right-wing in the US frequently. One finds a demand for universal health care or universal basic income, or environmental concerns looming large in their manifestos and writings.