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Miklós Szánthó: “Today, the Enemies of Liberalism Are the Friends of Democracy”

Miklós Szánthó is the director of the Center for Fundamental Rights. Among other things, we talked about political correctness, cultural Marxism, the media and migrations.

What is the purpose, goals of your institute?

The Center for Fundamental Rights is Hungary’s sole Conservative think tank dedicated to matters of public and constitutional law. Unfortunately, as is the case with Western public discourse in its entirety, mainstream legal thought is dominated by the progressive interpretation, which attempts to portray every legal matter as a human rights issue. This might sound fine at first, but if you realize that at the basis of this interpretation there is an ambition to turn almost every human desire into enforceable human right that would bound the majority of society and the state itself, it should sound terrifying. Consider gender madness: more and more countries of the West have turned their backs on normality and recognized “third” or “neutral” genders in IDs, or have implemented gender sensitizing programs in public education. Throughout our work in the public eye, in our research and analyses, the Center is determined to resist political correctness and human rights fundamentalism, we stand for common sense and the values of the nation and Christianity.

Do you also work with like-minded people abroad? Is anyone from Slovenia among them? Can you entrust us with some plans for the future?

Although, naturally, we have had bilateral relations with organizations abroad for some time now, it is only in the past year that we have placed extra emphasis on international (not supranational) cooperation. The Open Society network has used professional tools to organize itself for decades now, and we think, if nothing else, that at least is something we should learn from them. We signed a partnership agreement with the Polish legal institute Ordo Iuris last year, and we’d like to expand this cooperation to a regional level. Talks are currently under way with multiple conservative organizations in several European countries and we are open to anyone who shares our values. In truth, this interview serves the purpose of connecting to the Slovenian Right and to look for opportunities for cooperation. We in Central Europe have a shared past, but we also share a future.

Recently, the Hungarian opposition threatened conservative media journalists to ban them from operating when they regained power. Has anyone from Brussels or international journalists’ associations condemned these threats, and if not, why not?

Perhaps not very surprisingly, the answer is “no”. That is despite the fact that we notified the EU institutions in an open letter. If a Liberal journalist is required to keep his questions short during a Hungarian press conference, the mother of all scandals breaks out in Brussels, but now, that the opposition’s far-Left coalition has threatened to ban journalists they don’t like from their profession, and even suggested Rwanda-like retribution against them the silence is deafening. On the bright side, this only exposes the fact that for them protecting “the rule of law” and “democracy” merely means protecting their Liberal creed and their network.

The left-liberals accuse the Hungarian government of exerting pressure on the opposition media. Are these allegations justified?

What the Left calls “oppression” is merely the end of the monopoly they enjoyed for so long. Like in all the countries that suffered under Communism, the former Hungarian party state’s functionaries and their allies in the intelligentsia transformed their former political capital into economic and cultural capital after the transition to democracy. They enjoyed all the advantages of this in the media market as well, where the leftist press remained in a quasi-hegemonic position until the mid-2000s. In recent years, all that’s happened is (and let’s emphasize this) a market driven transformation that has benefitted the Right, and as a result the Left can no longer shape public discourse to the extent it could earlier. Naturally, we are still far from equilibrium, but some opinion leaders are already deeply frustrated with the current situation, where they do not hear their own voice drown out all other views in the media.

In recent years, Hungary has often been the target of attacks by the left-liberal milieu, the big media and even EU leaders, claiming that Hungary is violating human rights. How do you comment on these allegations?

Hungary has rule of law, human rights are not violated. Post-Communist interest groups and Liberal networks face serious challenges as they struggle for hegemony, that much is true. The entire anti-Hungarian hysteria is grounded in fake news, namely that democracy can only be Liberal, and therefore Liberalism equals the rule of law. According to this view, anyone who dares to criticize modern Liberal practice, political correctness or human rights fundamentalism is in fact attacking the rule of law. However, this exposes the duplicity of the political narrative claiming to be “tolerant”: it is very clear that they are not at all tolerant towards other (Conservative or Christian) interpretations of democracy. A less dogmatic, more healthy approach would recognize that democracy, like market economy, need not be uniform. There can be Liberal democracy, Social democracy, or Christian democracy. The current Hungarian government bases policy, its constitutional approach and the organization of society on the latter. The Liberals don’t like this, because what they strive for is to create a truly totalitarian framework that excludes all views but their own from public law and politics. This is why, deploying genuinely sophisticated communication tools, they smear their opponents as “enemies of democracy”. But seeing the elitist eurocrats of Brussels and the technocrats of the West, it seems today that the enemies of Liberalism are the friends of democracy.

The left-liberal side has been attacking Hungary for years, saying it is violating the human rights of migrants by preventing mass migration. What is your opinion on this matter?

This issue is exactly like the rule of law debate. The Liberal approach to law has reinterpreted the right to asylum to the extent where it has become unrecognizable. In essence, they claim that the right to asylum is a right to a global social safety net.  Everyone can migrate wherever they wish, and the societies of the target countries are obliged to tolerate this, even when in order to comply with this demand for tolerance they must sacrifice their own cultures. According to the more sober legal interpretation, the migrant has a right of asylum only in the first safe country they have reached, not anywhere in the world. Furthermore, it is our responsibility not to import the problems of the migrants along with the migrants themselves, but export help where it is needed. Irresponsible policies lead to the creation of parallel societies in Europe due to very real cultural differences, and the third world countries that suffer from conflicts lose those very people who could rebuild their homelands. The Christian value of Solidarity demands that we provide help locally, where help is needed. “Here” I prioritize the interests of my own, “there” I help those in need.

Would you agree that, along with mass migration, cultural Marxism is a major threat to our European civilization? Would you agree that one of the main and very effective tools of those who want to destroy our civilization is political correctness?

Migration, multiculturalism, reinvigorated Cultural Marxism, the ceaseless sensitizing campaigns, the 21st century version of the “sexual revolution” are all aspects of a single phenomenon. Socialistic and Liberalistic visions share much in common: they deny the created nature of Man as well as Creation’s order and hierarchy. Instead, they proclaim the primacy of reason, the relative nature of “good” and “evil” and as a consequence, the total equality of human and cultural patterns of behavior. If everyone and everything is equal, then nobody should be insulted in any way, and political correctness becomes compulsory. If everything is relative, then there is no “good” or “evil”; no barriers (physical or otherwise) can be posited; “evidently” God cannot be said to be the fountainhead of truth and justice; we cannot be proud of our Judeo-Christian heritage, and the created nature of Man and Woman is questioned. This is not “merely” a threat to European Civilization, but to our very existence as human beings, as the relativization of values is used to rationalize and propagandize abortions, euthanasia and drug abuse.

Would you agree that political correctness in the US has already moved to a level of madness? Do you think that this madness can also move to Europe? How do you think this could be prevented?

Political correctness has indeed reached the level of madness in the US, as it had become part of everyday live and practice. This is most clearly evident in the reactions to the vandalism perpetrated by Black Lives Matter. The fact that “antiracism”, the fight for “social justice”, and “inclusion” can justify widespread vandalism, destruction, setting fire to businesses, physically terrorizing innocent bystanders, the tearing down of monuments shows that it is no longer a theoretical dispute, but a struggle for life or death. Only a few decades ago Martin Luther King Jr. preached “colorblindness”, he fought for society not to judge people by the color of their skin, but now what we see is that, once again, one’s race has become a pivotal factor. And they say it openly: “White silence is violence”, which means that White people, who merely want to live their lives in peace, are now called “racist”, because they do not smash shop windows or peoples’ skulls fighting for “Black rights”. Last summer we saw footage from London, Brussels and Paris that was very reminiscent of what had been happening in New York, Seattle or Minneapolis only a little earlier. 21st century’s “racial revolution” has become highly exportable. And we haven’t even mentioned the nefarious propaganda corrupting our children: gender madness, which spreads like wildfire in Europe thanks to Hollywood and the Music industry. All of this can be resisted only by people who have backbones, a “masculine” political attitude if you will. “God, Homeland, Family” must be the words embroidered on our battle flags. It seems to me, we, Central European conservatives are working on just that, and this is not to the taste of the international mercenaries of Liberalism.


Miklós Szánthó (36) is the director of the Center for Fundamental Rights in Hungary.

He has been member of the board of the Central European Press and Media Foundation since 2018 and chairman of the board since 2019. Miklós is the author of numerous Hungarian and foreign language legal and political publications, co-author and co-editor of various books. He is a regular contributor and talking head on TV and radio programs. He is married and the father of a daughter and a son.

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