It was wonderful to spend time in Hungary, a country Freedom House describes as “sliding into authoritarian rule” — but why stop there when I could be in a land Freedom House describes as “under authoritarian rule for two-and-a-half thousand years"? That’s two-and-a-half thousand times more aspirational! That’s 10 times longer than the United States has been a country at all, and hundreds of times longer than we’ve been deliberately sliding away from at least theoretically embracing representative democracy.
Freedom House says that in Hungary, “authorities have … interfered with opposition figures’ peaceful political activities” and that the country suffers from ”unequal access to the media”; Freedom House’s report on Mordor states that “opposition figures have … been eaten by the great spider Shelob." Freedom House warns that the governing coalition in Hungary has “worked to close or acquire critical media outlets since 2015,” but in Mordor, Freedom House reports, “there are no critical media outlets, only the battle cries of the fearsome Uruk-hai.”
God, what a difference from America. Honestly, my country makes me sick, and I look forward to croaking that out next week before a rapt audience of trolls and, if I’m lucky, a balrog. A pluralistic democracy founded on free and fair elections in which what binds us is not ethnicity or the shared fear of the watchful, unblinking eye of Sauron, but an idea? Disgusting.
We, as I’m always telling my millions-strong television audience, we don’t have real freedom here (whoever wins the election gets to be president, even if I don’t like them), and I often wish we were more like Mordor. I wish that instead of getting to yell at me and try to shame away my advertisers when I said objectionable things, dissidents would simply be trampled underfoot by an oliphaunt. We can’t waste another minute: We have got to replace all our institutions with orcs. The floating eye on the back of the dollar bill can stay.
I liked a lot about what was going on in Hungary, but it absolutely pales in contrast to Mordor. Everyone has been so welcoming. The Witch-king of Angmar and I are going to brunch Monday, and then we’re going to appear on a panel together. This is my new spiritual home, and the more I learn about it, the more I find myself unable to bear the noisome sunlight of the United States. Where are our hosts of orcs, all roaring with vitriol for those beyond their borders? Where is our enormous fortress of dark magic surveilling all the subjects of the land? I want to live in a place that seethes with hatred of outsiders at all times and is willing to trade almost any amount of freedom in exchange for that privilege. Also, I love the rivers of molten rock. Very scenic!
Everything here that I have seen (through the thick darkness shrouding everything, broken only by the intermittent fire spewing from Mount Doom), I have liked. I pine for the freedom they have, the freedom to have all decisions made correctly by Sauron. The freedom to have one’s every act forged in the fierce heat of hatred and despair. I feel like I fit right in — and if people listen to me, we can have this in America, too.