2021 Aug 4, 10:37am
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Hostility to Hungary increased from 2015 when Orbán famously opposed Angela Merkel’s controversial invitation to Syrian war refugees — and many others — to enter Europe. Most Europeans opposed such a huge movement of people, but the Hungarian leader became the figurehead of the resistance. The series of terror attacks that followed in Germany, France and Belgium seemed to confirm Orbán’s view that the ‘misguided’ immigration policy ‘threatens to have explosive consequences for the whole of Europe’ — and this only made him more of a bogeyman.Coming from a country which endured decades of ideological extremism, the Hungarian leadership believe in the power of ideas to motivate political action. Along those lines, Orbán now faces withering criticism for taking actions against Hungary’s universities. He infamously pressured the Soros-founded Central European University to leave Budapest. More recently, Orbán withdrew government accreditation and funding for gender studies programs within universities. Though not a fan of gender studies, or any of the other grievance studies fields, I once would have been appalled at the state interfering in the academic life of universities.No longer. As an American, I have seen how the madness of gender studies has migrated in the blink of an eye from a once-fringe academic discipline to a commanding ideology of the Western ruling class and its institutions. Along with critical race theory, gender ideology is tearing American apart. To dissent from gender ideology in any way — even, as J.K. Rowling did, as a left-wing feminist — is to risk your career. Academic freedom is an important liberal value, but it cannot be society’s suicide note.