Sunday, March 7, 2021

Eduard Habsburg on Hungary’s Family Policy Successes

 From The American Conservative:

Eduard Habsburg has served as Hungary’s ambassador to the Holy See and Sovereign Military Order of Malta since 2015. “I am unusual as an ambassador in that I have done many other things—TV work, animation producer, screenwriter, bishop’s spokesman—before, much to my surprise, being nominated as ambassador by the Hungarian government,” Habsburg told me.

In Austria he is still known popularly as Archduke Eduard, and the Habsburgs maintain their royal bloodlines—his wife is Baroness Maria Theresia von Gudenus, with whom he has six children. It is an ancient family with a very current role in 21st-century politics: “I had visions of diplomatic life that can best be summed up as ‘standing around at boring cocktails, holding a glass, and always having to say nice things.’ Boy, was I ever wrong.” Habsburg, who tweets his thoughts on a wide range of issues daily, is a staunch advocate of the pro-life and pro-family policies of Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Habsburg is a devout Catholic and Orbán is a Calvinist, but the two agree on much.

As a diplomat, Habsburg represents one of the European Union’s most controversial countries. Joe Biden called Hungary and Poland “totalitarian regimes”; historian Anne Applebaum took aim at Orbán and his allies in her 2020 book Twilight of Democracy; and mainstream media outlets regularly speak of Hungary in ominous tones. This largely stems from Hungary’s social and cultural conservatism, which is offensive to many progressive and liberal journalists and commentators.

“With Hungary you are facing the rare beast of a country where a conservative government has been ruling for three uninterrupted periods—with a two thirds majority,” Habsburg told me. “We all know that a great part of the journalists in the so-called Western world pride themselves on being slightly (or strongly) ‘left of the middle.’ These two realities must necessarily clash, even if we had a prime minister who would speak and act like a mix between Gandhi and Martin Luther King—which Viktor Orbán doesn’t.”

Habsburg says that the media interprets Orbán for the wider public. And since “Hungarian is a unique language that very few people speak themselves,” most people “have to rely on sources inside or outside Hungary that translate material about Hungary. And many of those sources have, let us say, peculiar or strongly political points of view.” The reality is also that “Hungarians don’t like to chisel away at a statement for hours until it is politically correct but like to communicate in a clear and direct way without taking into account how things might be perceived in other countries.” (Read more.)


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