Tyrants and their toadies
Today's New York Times front page article by Patrick Kingsley chronicles European Parliament conservatives' much delayed responses to Hungary’s Viktor Orban. The crux of Kingsley’s piece is that the conservative European political parties were hesitant to criticize Viktor Orban as his policies and rule became increasingly undemocratic and restrictive, and now they are finally moving to criticize him: “…it was better to have him inside and under our control than outside and out of control…Now we see that he wants to change us rather than us changing him,” reflects a European parliament member. One thinks of Hitler, of Trump, of any autocrat allowed (encouraged) to fester and grow in power until the politicians who believe they have some control of him realize they don’t. The list of Orban’s illiberal actions (immigration, siding with Putin, restricting civil society, fulminating against intellectuals) parallel Trump’s. The positive in this piece is that the European Parliament is finally uniting against him, as the conservatives (Merkel for example) recognize how far out of control the situation is. Will such a response ever occur within the U.S. Republican party, now completely in the thrall of Trump? When the rats abandon the sinking ship, will they be pulled under as well? One can hope.