What Makes Central Europe Different?

Eric Zemmour is a popular French commentator who appears often on radio and television. In the following clip Mr. Zemmour discusses the recent “turn to the right” in Central Europe, which has seen electoral success for EU-skeptic anti-immigration parties in Hungary, Poland, Austria, and now Czechia.

His analysis of the reasons for the rightward swing are spot on, although he elides some of the historical complexities of the region. Not all the states he mentions were part of the Habsburg Empire — from the early 18th century until the early 20th, Poland was divided among the Great Powers, mostly between Prussia and Russia.

The separate provinces or vassal states that eventually became Romania were at different times ruled by the Ottomans, the Austrians, the Hungarians, and the Russians, but mostly by the Ottomans, with varying degrees of autonomy.

Parts of Hungary were occupied for centuries by the Ottomans, while the rest recognized a Habsburg king. When Hungarian territory was wrested from the Ottomans after the Siege of Vienna in the late 17th century, Hungary became part of the Austrian Empire. After the Revolutions of 1848, it became (at least theoretically) an equal partner in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After the Great War it became an independent state whose borders were greatly reduced.

Czechia (Bohemia and Moravia) and Slovakia were historically kingdoms or principalities that were more often vassal states than sovereign ones. They formed part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until its dissolution in 1918.

Complicated, isn’t it? And this is the simplified version.

By and large, however, Eric Zemmour is exactly right about what is happening in Central Europe. Many thanks to Ava Lon for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

00:00   You are watching RTL, RTL morning
00:04   “We don’t necessarily agree.”
00:08   “We don’t necessarily agree” this morning with Eric Zemmour. —Good morning, Eric. —Good morning.
00:12   In the Czech Republic the elections gave a large victory to a populist movement,
00:16   which happened after a victory for a Right very much to the right, in Austria.
00:20   This is called “a series”. The Czech Republic happens after Austria, which happens after
00:24   Poland, which happens after Slovakia, which happens after Hungary. The same elections
00:28   that revolved around the question of migration and Islam. The same victory
00:32   of a Right that rejects them [migration & Islam] without doubts and guilt. The same rapprochement
00:37   with a right wing that doesn’t care about all the taboos resulting from WW2.
00:41   The same loggerhead with the Brussels Commission that denounces attacks against the rule of law.
00:45   The same contempt of the European media for the populists.
00:49   The same moral lessons given by French and German leaders.
00:53   But words became meaningless. We think they are hostile towards liberalism.
00:57   We call them “illiberals”, but in reality they are even more
01:01   for the free market because they did know the damages of the communist system.
01:05   They are being called “Euro-sceptic”, but they are even more in favor
01:10   of Europe, because their entrance into the EU automatically gave them the right
01:14   to slide under American umbrella. One could reproach them for it,
01:18   but they are less hypocritical than the Westerners who do
01:22   also think that European defense is called NATO. Those people reject
01:26   a liberalism which would be systematically libertarian, as has been the case in France
01:30   since May ’68. They also refuse European institutions that
01:34   impose… that would impose a quota of migrants
01:38   or gay marriage. The joy of diversity that forms the happiness of France,
01:42   of Germany, and of England doesn’t tempt them. They want
01:46   neither the mosques nor the jihad. Their parents lived under the communist boot.
01:50   The Hungarians and the Czechs saw Russian tanks
01:54   on the streets. The Poles were threatened with them and the Austrians were
01:58   forced into a cautious and fearful neutrality. They know the price
02:02   of national independence, and they don’t wish to replace Moscow with Brussels.
02:07   History, in your opinion, explains those seemingly similar political behaviors?
02:11   Yes, history, like politics, unites them. All those countries
02:15   were, before the War of 1914, part of the same Habsburg Empire.
02:19   They saw its glory and the decline. They underwent in 1930
02:23   the tragedy of the nations that had to live with minorities which couldn’t be assimilated.
02:27   The Germans in Czechoslovakia, or Hungarians in Romania. Those countries
02:31   found — at the same time as their sovereignty— the happiness of homogeneous nations,
02:35   where there’s confidence, because everyone the shares the same culture and the same history.
02:39   A history which crossed paths with Islam a long time ago. Unlike
02:43   France or Germany, Hungary was occupied for three centuries
02:48   by the Ottoman Empire. And Vienna went through two sieges, the last one
02:52   in 1683. At the time it was a European army
02:56   led by a Polish general [Polish King Jan III Sobieski] that pushed the Muslim invader away.
03:00   The French king, Louis XIV, didn’t lift a finger.
03:04   Three centuries: it was yesterday. —Eric Zemmour for “We don’t necessarily agree”.

9 thoughts on “What Makes Central Europe Different?

  1. ‘Three centuries: it was yesterday – Eric Zemmour for “We don’t necessarily agree”.

    Ah, but history is a good teacher to those who wish to take note of it and act accordingly, but by far, a very malicious teacher to those who refuse to learn from it!

  2. Yes well said.The east will never surrender because the east knows how hard and impossible is to live under ottoman empire, how many lives were lost to protect the land of our ancestors.

    The west is stupid but they will learn. And actually, I am not sorry for them.They are lazy, complacent and corrupt.[…]

    • It wasn’t just the Ottoman Empire – they were forced to surrender to the Soviet Union. But surely you know this? That doesn’t mean their oppression was caused by laziness or complacency.

      The same goes for many in the West. We aren’t complacent. Calling us names doesn’t help.

      • Funny thing is that in many aspects, I felt more sovereign back then under the Soviets, than I feel today under the Brussels.

        I mean, sure, Soviets took our uranium and interfered with our science and our industrial research, they placed several military bases in our country, including nuclear missiles, and they expected us to follow their foreign policies – but nothing of that really influenced our everyday lives. Unlike Brussels, they never had the audacity to tell us what to eat, or how much to smoke and drink, or how to treat our ethnic minorities, or how to raise our kids, or how many African settlers to accept.
        In the 70s and 80s, the regime even purposely encouraged the national pride, raised the national folklore awareness and promoted local traditions. Folk ensembles back then received so much funding and support, it was almost absurd at times. As a result, TV was chock full of embroidered skirts and hammered dulcimers. I suspect it scarred my generation forever. 😉

  3. I live in the west so I know the pulse of the west very well.The west had it easy and lives in la la land.how do you explain the the antifa, how do you explain Merkel re-election, and almost Killary election, if not for a complacent, lazy, incapable of thinking populace ?
    How is is possible even Bernie Sanders, a communist/socialist at heart that promises all kind of illusional thinks and it is believed by a great number of people?
    What socialism is? BecAuse people don’t know exactly , they did not lived the atrocity so they are enchanted by it over and over again.
    How many times during the Cold War communists cells where infiltrating the USA government ?
    How it is possible after all those human sacrifices , a new generation to reimagine it over again?
    And I say west is delusional and stupid.Western Europe especially.
    USA? With Trump I had big hopes but he will allow refugees in and I don’t see that wall going up soon…and DACA it may be another failure…
    USA mai just have postponed it for 4 years and then another crooked killary,or another 🐒 obama .
    Would you and I be ready to fight and leave Confort behind in order to protect freedom with the gun in our hands ?

    • You are generalizing the entire Western culture! If you were paying attention you would have noted that not all in the West are delusional and stupid.

      As for your gripe about Trump, please explain what you would do better if you were in Trump’s position.

    • I am surprised myself that communism, an ideology that murdered millions of people in order to implement its promised utopia, is allowed to stand out in the open. Take any European country, you’ll find a Communist Party participating in the democratic elections (in the Austrian elections a couple of days ago, they got 0.7% if I’m not mistaken). Perhaps the communists decided to play the long game, where, instead of murdering property owners and political opponents, they pushed for a society where very few people own their own homes, where they live paycheck to paycheck or they are dependent on the state for their survival. There’s the expanding proletariat.

      “Would you and I be ready to fight and leave Comfort behind in order to protect freedom with the gun in our hands?” You will, but only if you think you can win. You don’t want to end up in something like the Pitesti experiment.

    • All self-loathing Westerns should be shipped to live in Burkina Faso or Venezuela for a year.

      Then they can come back and tell us all how amazing those countries are.

  4. I think the Net is going to help us all get wiser and more shrewd and survive all these terrible quandries….the insane uttering of a genetic optimist.

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