The Metropole is angry
Feelings are not opinions worth publishing
Andreas Kluth’s recent opinion piece on Bloomberg.com, The European Union Should Be Able to Kick Out Hungary, reiterates the well known clubs-have-rules argument against our membership, although, to give him credit, he also explains that freedom of association can cut both ways (through American examples, we’re all living in America after all).
He concludes that in our case it should apply, because, well, he provides no argument other than redeclaring his own loyalty to the Imperial Consensus, so it should be a no-brainer to anyone standing beside him on the Right Side of History that Hungary must be kicked out. Throw in a “populism” for good measure.
I did a cursory look at Andreas for context, his opinion gets an important platform after all, so he must have earned to have his words amplified above the blabber of the masses in the few remaining comment sections.
What I got as my first and so far only impression — brace for a power word — is that he’s one of those dime a dozen well-established globalist bootlickers that parrot the same shit1. He’s an economist or something, which is not a science (it’s closer to astrology).
Now, Andreas, don’t take this personally, you can be a cool guy in person, I’m sure we could have a beer or two and my opinion of you would improve significantly, and you certainly managed to land a well-paying grift doing this crap for 24 years now, which I respect.
Going back to your article, from my Hungarian perspective, and the perspective of a part-time editor who often struggles with correcting opinion pieces, I noticed some faults that avoided the red pen of whoever is your editor.
Tempers were flaring at a recent summit of the European Union when Mark Rutte, prime minister of the Netherlands, looked straight at Viktor Orban, his Hungarian counterpart, and said what everybody was thinking: If you don’t share our values, you should take Hungary out of the EU.
If I was harsh I would remove the Mark “Eastwood” Rutte part, it’s a bit too shameless even for a lionization. Hungarians are sensitive to this, it’s reminiscent of bombastic, Stalinist era journalism.
We also don’t know what everybody was thinking. These are politicians, so even if everybody was saying the same thing — recordable, unlike thoughts —, they could have been thinking the opposite. Assuming that politicians lie, to me, is healthy adult cynicism, but Western politicians might be honest angels, I wouldn’t know, but I’d rather stay on the safe side.
In the Hungarian case, Orban’s latest affront was a law that curbs sex education in a way that crudely stigmatizes homosexuality, in effect equating it with pedophilia.
Crudely stigmatizes? So, theres a sophisticated way to stigmatize homosexuality? If it achieved the same effect in a more subtle way, it would have been less of an affront?
By trying to whip up feelings — I’m soo angry — and adding that unnecessary adverb, it becomes an argument on style rather than substance.
With many small cuts, he’s whittled away at the rule of law, minority rights and press and academic freedoms.
Those are mighty big claims, but I’ll let this slip as it’s useful to reassure the readers that you and them are on the same page. A bit redundant at this point, like a mantra, but better be safe.
Another member state, Poland, is almost as bad as Hungary in disdaining everything from gay rights to judicial independence. With their illiberal cynicism, these two governments threaten to hollow out the EU’s identity as a club of democratic, tolerant and open societies.
And yet the tools available to discipline errant members are weak.
And we reached the point when I quit editing the article and declare it redundant in its current form.
What do we have here? Angry words, power words, coming from a position of power: the opinion-maker (reiterator), residing in the Metropole delivers a paternalistic scoff at the unruly, peripheral vassal states. Too much feeling for an opinion: the readers already understand your stance at this point, so I’d turn the fee-fees down a notch, hysterical is not a good look, ever.
What are we achieving here that hasn’t been done before? Nothing new, really. You are pledging your allegiance to the Powers, yet again, risking nothing in the process. You could tell every East European to eat shit collectively and it wouldn’t impact your future prospects. It’s free bravery that serves you well.
But what is my publication getting out of this? What are my readers getting out of this? Nothing. It’s all been said before, the war drums against Hungary are beaten to death.
Now it did get published and it did achieve something: it was featured on a Hungarian conservative new site. The editor provided no additional context, nothing was refuted— what’s there to refute in a pledge? — and the readers and commenters went wild with it, as usual. Yet another uppity Westerner proving Orban’s revolutionary rhetoric right. Your article helps his reelection, and to be the cynic again, isn’t that better for Bloomberg’s opinion section? Four more years of Orban, four more years of outrage and drama?
Hey, I’m just a poor colonial subject, let me at least shake my fist at the sky