The Corner


We’re All Orban Now

Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban at a plenary session at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, in 2017 (Eric Vidal/Reuters)

At least in one sense. This crisis is bringing home that, when push comes to shove, everyone believes in borders. Even the cosmopolitans who run the EU are now banning non-essential travel into the bloc, and within the EU, countries are erecting their own border restrictions:

The proposal came a day after Germany said it would impose travel restrictions along most of its borders and did so without informing Austria or other neighboring countries.

Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland had already done the same—with equally little coordination, according to several officials.

This is notable because of the clash a few years ago between Angela Merkel’s Germany and Viktor Orban’s Hungary over refugee policy. I’m a neutral in the intra-conservative war over Orban, but the basic premises undergirding his position in the contention with Merkel were obviously correct: The government of a nation exists to serve the people of that nation and should put their interests first; nations are distinct bounded entities delineated by borders, which are always important but especially so in a crisis; if anyone tries to tell a democratic nation how it should control who or what comes over its border, the appropriate answer is, “Go to hell.”



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