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Lewis Hamilton Lies About Hungary

Woke race car driver Lewis Hamilton (Source)

I came out of the subway at Déak Ferenc Square in downtown Budapest tonight and saw this scene:

Scene on Deak Ferenc Square in downtown Budapest tonight

It’s the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend. Formula One drivers are supposedly staying in this hotel, and fans have been gathered there for hours. They were there when I entered the subway on the square four hours ago. There are actually fewer of them there now than earlier. It’s a mad scene, though.

About the Formula One race in Hungary this weekend:

[Lewis] Hamilton, a seven-time world champion and eight-time winner of the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest, posted in support of the country’s LGBTQ+ community ahead of this year’s edition of the race.

He wrote: “To all in this beautiful country Hungary. Ahead of the Grand Prix this weekend, I want to share my support for those affected by the governments’ anti-LGBTQ+ law. It is unacceptable, cowardly and misguiding for those in power suggest such a law.

“Everyone deserves to have the freedom to be themselves, no matter who they love or how they identify. I urge the people of Hungary to vote in the upcoming referendum to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, they need our support more than ever.

“Please show love for those around you because Love will always win. Sending positivity. #lgbtq”

Hamilton has been vocal about social issues in recent years. Since the start of the 2020 season, he has taken the knee ahead of every F1 race and worn various social and environmental messages on his shirt.

He’s also started the Hamilton Commission, looking at the lack of diversity in motor racing. He has also pledged £20 million to a new charity, Mission 44, aimed at empowering young people from under-represented groups in the U.K..

Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel, a four-time world champion, arrived at the Budapest paddock with a rainbow strip on his trainers.

Vettel also spoke out against the legislation.

“Everybody’s free to do what they want and exactly that I guess is the point,” Vettel said. “So I find it embarrassing for a country that is in the European Union having to vote or having some laws like this as part of their constitution, whatever.

“I just think we’ve had so many opportunities to learn in the past and I can’t understand why you’re struggling to see everybody should be free to do what they like, love who they like and it’s along the lines of ‘live and let live’.

“So it’s obviously not for us to make the law, that’s not our role, but I think just to express the support for obviously those who are affected by it.”

I bet if you put a gun to the head of either one of those Formula One drivers and asked them what the Hungarian law says, they would not be able to tell you. The law does not prevent anyone from doing “what they want,” unless what they want is to teach children a progressive ideology on LGBT matters. I certainly understand that that is not how most Western liberals see it, but very many Hungarians — like majorities in Central and Eastern Europeans countries — have unfavorable views of LGBT. The Western Europeans and Americans are seen by many people here as being haughty cultural imperialists — and they’re right.

I was at a social gathering tonight, and talked to some Western academics about this. Both said that their friends back in the UK are convinced that Hungary is going after LGBT people in some vague way. The UK people have no idea what the law actually says, according to the people with whom I spoke, but they are sure that it’s super-horrible. I have had a version of this conversation with a number of Western people living here. Whether or not they support the Hungarian government, they are all amazed by the massive distinction between what life in Hungary is actually like, versus what Western publics, misled by the media, think it’s like.

A professor from a different country — I think the Netherlands, but I’m not sure — said tonight in conversation that his friends back home expected the LGBT Pride march in Budapest last weekend to be some sort of bloodbath. It went off without a hitch, because people here in Budapest have the freedom to protest, and the government has no interest in stopping them. Thanks to the distorted reporting of the media and the fatmouthing of politicians, the publics in Western countries have no real idea what it’s like here.

At this party, a man walked in wearing flip-flops with the Star of David on the straps. Turns out he’s a Hungarian ambassador, and he had just returned from a few days in Israel. He talked about the work he had been doing there, and make a couple of black-humor jokes about how anti-Semitic the Hungarian government is. The joke was that the Orban government is actually quite pro-Israel and pro-Jewish, but because Orban criticizes George Soros, the progressive Daddy Warbucks, the media smear Hungary constantly as anti-Semitic.

Look, there’s plenty to criticize Hungary about, from a progressive point of view. But the outright lies, and manifold distortions of what life in Hungary is really like deeply anger me, and make me hold the US and Western European media in disgust. It is all about defending the Narrative. I have been talking for months with my friend Tucker Carlson about Hungary, and urging him to come here and see for himself what it’s like. He took me up on the offer, and arrives here in Budapest on Sunday to spend a week seeing the place and doing some reporting. Part of his crew arrived here earlier this week. They interviewed me on camera about why Americans should care about Hungary. I told them that Hungary has been facing down a lot of the same challenges that bedevil American conservatives and traditionalists besieged by the woke. Hungary is small and relatively weak, but it punches above its weight because it is led by Viktor Orban, who knows what he believes, is a brilliant political tactician, and is not intimidated. Orban’s Hungary shows what can be accomplished when you have an anti-woke, anti-globalist leader who cares more about politics and strategy than tweeting and lib-owning. Orban fights, but Orban also wins. He is so much further ahead than American conservative politicians on the nature of the fight in front of us. Hungary has a lot to teach American conservatives about how to deal with the woke menace.

I told them something like that. If I had had more time, I would have emphasized that we on the US Right have to start looking beyond the English Channel. There’s so much interesting stuff going on with the Continental Right. People on the European Right don’t suffer the delusions that they are just one election or SCOTUS appointee away from all their problems going away. They understand they are a minority and a hated minority by all the Establishment, and that the high status elements hate them and want them marginalized or destroyed. This isn’t true for the US Right, all too many of which cling to the mythology that the problem is just a handful of elites, and that “real America” is on their side. The American Right is also in thrall to Donald Trump, still believing that somehow, Trump can and will stop the Woke and save the Republic. This illusion prevents an actually effective anti-Woke opposition from rising. But you have heard this from me before.

I hope that after Tucker Carlson’s week here, American conservative leaders — not just politicians, but cultural and religious leaders — start beating a path to Budapest. Do you know that the Orban government established an entire office to help persecuted Christians overseas? I visited it, saw the pictures, read the report, heard the stories. The Orban government is not under the impression that Drag Queen Story Hour is one of the “blessings of liberty.” 

It stands denounced by the liberal media and liberal sports celebrities like Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vittel because it stands for the radical idea that children ought not to be propagandized about sex, gender, and sexuality. Remember when Americans used to believe that? Remember when Americans who believed that were not considered to be Enemies Of The People?

On Friday, walking down Andrassy Avenue with Tucker Carlson’s crew, we saw two gay men holding hands. They deserved to be safe, and they were safe. Nothing was going to happen to them, despite what the liberal Western media and activists would have you believe. Look, I know most people in the US don’t care about Hungary. But you should — especially if you’re conservative. I hope that after Tucker Carlson’s week here, a lot more American conservatives care about Hungary, and stand up for it. I’m getting ready to head home to America after three and a half months here, and I don’t mind saying that I’ve come to respect and even love these conservative underdogs, who are constantly shat on by the US and Western European political and media establishments. You should too.

Lewis Hamilton may know how to drive better than anybody else, but he runs his mouth right into a ditch. I don’t really care about Formula One racing, or about the idiotic opinions of sports celebrities. But I very much care that these lies keep being perpetuated by the Narrative Machine, at the expense of a people who deserve to be defended.

UPDATE: A reader believes that I have misused the infamous David French quote about DQSH as one of the “blessings of liberty” unfairly. He points to something French wrote about it. Excerpt:

Even though the battle over “Frenchism” began with a tweet about drag queens, I honestly did not expect that discussion of drag queens would consume so much of our debate (you can watch the whole thing here). Yet the question of how (or whether) the right should respond legally to drag queens in libraries permeated much of the proceedings. My position was simple — I don’t like drag queen reading hours, but I also want to preserve for all Americans the First Amendment-protected right of viewpoint-neutral access to public facilities when those facilities are opened up for public use. I don’t want the government dispensing access on the basis of its preferred messages or its preferred speakers. Handle bad speech with better speech. Counter bad speakers in the marketplace of ideas, not through the heavy hand of government censorship.

So if my way is inadequate, what was Sohrab’s better plan? I pressed him on this point, and he countered with two ideas. First, hold a Senate hearing where Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley would make the leader of a national library association “sweat.” Second, pass local laws specifically banning the practice. The first idea is hardly worth addressing. It does nothing except (further) elevate drag queen reading hour on the national stage, and it would be unlikely to go as well for his side as Sohrab expects. Librarians can be quite effective at waxing eloquent about the First Amendment and pointing to the countless other ways that public access to libraries improves the public square.

Sohrab’s second point — an outright ban — is worth addressing at greater length. Our present regime that broadly protects viewpoint neutrality in access to public facilities is the hard-won result of decades of litigation from free speech and religious liberty advocates, and it represents both a public good in its own right and a practical blessing for millions of American Christians. As our government continues to grow — including by creating an immense number of public facilities — it is quite simply just that taxpayers are able to have equal access to the facilities they paid to create.

Well, to be clear, I have never believed that David French thinks Drag Queen Story Hour is good per se. I understand the sense in which he meant his remark; that’s the sense in which I quoted it. I appreciate the opportunity to clarify, because I do not want to join in the piling-on of French that’s so popular now on the Right.

The critics of the Orban government are ripping into the new law precisely because they believe that liberty requires granting activists and advocates equal access to the hearts and minds of children, to proclaim their views and dogmas. I think people like Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel literally don’t know what they are talking about. But I think that informed liberal critics of the law genuinely believe that fundamental rights are being violated here: the right of children and minors to receive LGBT information, and the right of advocates and activists to give it to them.

I deny that they should have that right. It would be interesting to know what David French thinks of the Hungarian law in principle, though American readers should know that Hungary is not bound by the First Amendment and First Amendment jurisprudence. There is little doubt that the Hungarian parliament was acting within Hungarian law when it passed the bill. The European Union claims that the law violates supranational European law. We’ll see.

To clarify: David French does not approve of DQSH, and I never believed that he did. He says equal access is a blessing of liberty. I disagree — though one of the reasons I don’t dogpile French is that he is correct that as far as I can tell, we on the illiberal side of this controversy don’t really have plausible arguments that would work within the US legal system, to defend our position. As I have explained here before, this is why I am torn between Ahmari and French in their great debate. My heart is 100 percent with Ahmari, but what stops me from declaring for him is both the awareness that we live in a post-Christian country where the views of people like Ahmari and me are going to be increasingly unpopular over the years, and that French, as a seasoned litigator, understands better than non-lawyers like Ahmari and me how the abandonment of this legal structure will be used against people like us.


about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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