BUDAPEST — Like most members of Hungary’s liberal intellectual elite, George Konrad, a distinguished novelist, loathes his country’s stridently illiberal prime minister, Viktor Orban.
“He is not a good democrat and I don’t believe he is a good person,” said Mr. Konrad, a veteran of communist-era struggles against dictatorship.
All the same, he thinks Mr. Orban, the self-declared scourge of mainstream elites across Europe, was right and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany was wrong about how to respond to the chaotic flood of migrants seeking refuge from war and poverty — perhaps Europe’s most serious crisis since World War II.
“It hurts to admit it, but on this point Orban was right,” Mr. Konrad, 82, said, lamenting that in the absence of a joint European effort to control the flow, Hungary was wise to seal its borders and sound the alarm over the perils of allowing hundreds of thousands of migrants, mostly Muslims, to enter Europe willy-nilly.
Quietly, and often with similar misgivings, a growing number of people in Hungary and beyond are wondering whether, despite his shrill and often bigoted message, Mr. Orban had a clearer view of the scale of the migration crisis and its potential hazards than technocrats in Brussels and leaders in Berlin and other European capitals.
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