US media is reporting on the third US-based National Conservatism Conference, held in Miami from September 11 — September 13. According to one report:
NatCons see an existential threat from the secular left, and they want to use the power of the state to put conservative values back in the center of public life. These ideas were on full display during the National Conservative Conference in Miami, Florida, this week. For three days, hundreds of conservative activists, intellectuals, and aspiring politicos debated the future of America’s conservative movement at the third annual gathering of the National Conservative Conference.
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A Salon report identified the most prominent speakers at the conference, including Florida governor and potential Presidential candidate Ron DeSantis:
Last year, Viktor Orbán’s Hungary emerged as the nation NatCons saw as their most imitable model. But more recently, Florida, which this week hosts its second consecutive NatCon conference, has been declared America’s most promising version of a domestic Hungary. So it was no coincidence that DeSantis, a national conservative lightning rod and likely 2024 candidate (even, perhaps, against Donald Trump), was the headline act on opening night. Sunday also featured keynote addresses from Sen. Rick Scott of Florida (the embattled chair of Senate Republicans’ campaign arm) and conservative tech billionaire and GOP mega-donor Peter Thiel. Monday featured speeches from Florida’s other Republican senator, Marco Rubio, the slightly tarnished Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado. Leading Southern Baptist theologian Albert Mohler will close the conference Tuesday night. While both Rubio and Hawley spoke at last year’s NatCon, DeSantis’ debut address was greeted with a rapturous welcome. Marion Smith, CEO of the Common Sense Society, an international conservative nonprofit, introduced DeSantis as not only “the future president of the United States” but one fashioned after Ronald Reagan.
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Salon further reports on DeSantis’s speech with themes echoed by other speakers:
- Even if Twitter, Facebook and Google are not “formally colluding with the [Chinese] government,” he continued, “they are de facto the enforcement arm of regime narratives.”
- DeSantis also echoed other speakers on Sunday in attacking the recent FBI search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence as evidence that national law enforcement and national security agencies “have been weaponized” “against the rest of us.”
- They tend to view many large corporations with skepticism, believing that they have become a cornerstone of “woke” cultural hegemony and — perhaps to a lesser extent — that they have fostered a labor market that harms middle-class families. DeSantis echoed some of these arguments as well.
A February 2022 Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) report examined the new and developing alliance between US conservatives and European nationalists, described as a potential means for Russia to exert covert influence in Europe and the US, using Hungary as a platform. The report identified a series of earlier National Conservative conferences sponsored by the Edmund Burke Foundation and characterized them as follows:
In the US, the National Conservatism alliance is being spearheaded by the EDMUND BURKE FOUNDATION, headed by an Israeli academic who had his origins in a little-known Israeli-American conservative nexus. This foundation has sponsored five unusual international conferences bringing together a wide variety of US conservatives and European right-wing nationalist politicians, academics, and others for the first time. The most prominent of these was Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor ORBÁN, who took the opportunity to rail against “the communist way of thinking.” Other prominent speakers have included FOX News star Tucker CARLSON and three Republican US Senators. The conferences were said to have an “apocalyptic” tone, with speakers assailing various alleged left-wing attempts to destroy nation states, families, and local cultures, and anti-immigration sentiments were also expressed.
Read the full report here.
The GIOR report further concludes:
…the ORBÁN government, has sponsored events and teaching positions for prominent US right-wing figures. Russia has already begun to employ National Conservative themes in its influence operations which will likely find a more receptive Western audience than in the past. Hungary is particularly fertile ground for Russian exploitation of National Conservatism given the existing close relationship between Russian and Hungarian elites and an extensive pre-existing Russian influence network
The Miami conference reflected ongoing links between US national conservatives and their Hungarian counterparts. Conference publicity materials identified conference speakers Balázs Orbán, the Political Director for Viktor Orbán (no relation), and Rod Dreher, a US journalist and avid supporter of Orbán. Balázs Orbán also tweeted that he appeared on a conference panel on the “Woke World Order.” [see note below]
GIOR reported earlier on a Dutch political party figure and conspiracy theorist with close ties to Russia who spoke at the academic year opening of a Hungarian education facility associated with the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
[NOTE: Woke (/ˈwoʊk/ WOHK) is an English adjective meaning “alert to racial prejudice and discrimination” that originated in African-American Vernacular English (AAVE). Beginning in the 2010s, it came to encompass a broader awareness of social inequalities such as sexism, and has also been used as shorthand for American Left ideas involving identity politics and social justice, such as the notion of white privilege and slavery reparations for African Americans.