Demolishing the rule of law and being hypocrite is one and the same thing. It means that the rules don’t apply to me.
In late November 2020, a high-ranking Fidesz politician and MEP was caught by Belgian police, trying to escape a men-only orgy through the drainpipes with synthetic love in his backpack. The illegal thing about it was the drug and that the orgy broke lockdown rules. The political scandal, however, was that he was gay. And he wasn’t just a gay member of a homophobic, political Christianist party – he literally wrote the country’s new, homophobic constitution on his tablet in 2010. He said that much.
In other words, a hypocrite.
The case was swiftly forgotten, even though it shook Orbán’s party to the core. But the infamous orgy took place during Orbán’s veto of the EU budget and pandemic recovery fund – and the latter cut where it hurt.
At least we had a few good days, enjoying the hilariousness of the story. One thing I found particularly often was Fidesz voters whining that they “just find the hypocrisy outrageous” “from a party of values”.
But here is the thing: an autocracy is the antithesis of values. It is the rule of strength over values, the rule of power over the law, the rule of might over right.
An autocracy literally means that the leader(s) are above the law, that laws don’t rule over them – hence the demolition of the rule of law. Autocrats and their selected beneficiaries arrogantly flaunt their impunity – and it serves the purpose of making the victims less and less likely to challenge them. They fly private jets to tropical islands while claiming they are poor, they drive Bentleys and lounge on yachts with paid companion and tell the public to sod off, attacking the journalists who dare to uncover them.
There is nothing value-based in an autocracy, even if it barfs up a dogma – and such is the fashionable brand of political Christianism – targeting and hurting groups of people to distract from wholesale theft. The hurt is real – and yet it is a distraction.
Take misogyny, for instance, which is a misnomer, really.* Even the submission of women is not a value, traditional or otherwise, but a power struggle, the enforcement of a hierarchy. Telling women to submit to me, to serve me, to serve my child, to suppress their personhood and dissolve in a service role is not a value by any sense of the word. It is merely a way to deny personhood to a group of humans that I can henceforth use for my own purposes and comfort. No, there is no value in autocracy.
Autocracy is the same thing as hypocrisy.
In 2010, a stay at home mom submitted a short essay to a writing competition. She openly talked about the struggles of being stuck at home with three children, three degrees and four languages spoken fluently. She poke about fighting back the rage sometimes and the urge to hurt them back, even though she loved them. As she is pushing a swing with one hand she is struggling to steal a glimpse of a women’s magazine in the other and sing a children’s song at the same time – she remembers that she promised herself to use her time to hone her skills, learn new words. But that is a distant dream as she has been reduced to pushing swings and cooking meals for seven years. Meanwhile, she is wondering if she should accept an offer to go back to work.
She won the special prize for her essay. She also accepted the job offer. She is now the minister for “family issues” (which is a menacing term for the woman assigned by the men to make other women breed already). We can see her making announcements every week on how much money married couples can get and with what conditions, to stay married, have three children and to stay put and stop trying.
She has also recently released an uncalled-for video, condescendingly lecturing women to accept lower salaries and not to compete with men. Be brave and make yourselves dependent. In other words, push the swing and cook the meals, ladies. Does she even know the woman who wrote that silly essay ten years ago?
When the thickly misogynistic video received a backlash, she looked genuinely confused as to why people don’t get it. It made perfect sense when the men explained it to her. Maybe she should try again to explain why the rules she is making only apply to other women – not herself. That was 10 years ago and she was miserable.
In short, autocracy and the demolishing of the rule of law is one and the same thing: hypocrisy. No need to be surprised every single time.
Sometimes not even the rule of law can save us from abuse. The law is not infallible and when morality and legality diverge, evil can become legal. The go-to example being the Holocaust, which was perfectly legal.
But making sure that the same laws apply to those who come up with them makes it a bit more difficult to legislate abuse. When they feel it on their own skin, they think again.
* These assholes don’t hate women, not really. They love them – love to use them, to be precise. With conditions. The conditions being that you are only a woman if you live up to the role of a woman – as they see it. And it includes submission and servitude. Emotional, aesthetic, reproductive, household servitude. Performed voluntarily and with a smile. They “love” you if you are a woman of this definition. Love to use you.
That being said, their attitude to women is the same as an authoritarian society’s attitude is to any underdog. Any group of humans society singles out for use: slaves, immigrants, ethnic or religious groups, political groups, the opposition, children, women. They have the same attitude to anything they want to use for something, even if that thing is just a scapegoat or distraction. Even their love is hate. Their so-called “respect” definitely is. Just think about all the misogynistic men claiming that they “respect” women. As long as they behave. And when they don’t, they kill them and that is dubbed “honor”. That is all you need to know about their terminology.