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Hungary: How Liberty Can Be Lost - Public Seminar

Brainwashing has also been going on since the beginning by means of so-called “national consultation” questionnaires distributed by the government to all Hungarians. These questionnaires ask a few questions to which only one answer can be given, questions I would not dare ask a four-year-old child. The obvious agenda behind the practice of “national consultation” is to demonstrate popular support for the government (since no other answer can be given than the one required by it); the less obvious agenda is brainwashing to create obedient subjects.

Hungary: How Liberty Can Be Lost - Public Seminar

First of all, liberation came to Hungary as a gift. Other than a few thousand intellectuals, no one fought for it or did anything to make it happen. Representatives of the old communist party and of the new parties sat at a round table and decided the future of the country, the character of its institutions, and how its “peaceful transition” would take place. The general population was excluded from the hard work of the transition (far more than in Romania or Czechoslovakia, for example) and consequently did not receive the education that inclusion in the process would have provided. In essence, Hungarians received liberty for free, but nothing is ever truly for free. Sooner or later one must pay, and that time has come for Hungary.

Hungary: How Liberty Can Be Lost - Public Seminar

Instead, Hungarians seem to have relied on a longstanding tradition of following a leader, expecting everything from above, believing, or pretending to believe, everything they are told, mixed with a kind of fatalistic cynicism of the impossibility of things being otherwise.

Russia-Ukraine War: Romania Fears It May Be Next on Putin's Hit List - Bloomberg

As for European allies coming to the rescue, Romanians do not trust France and Germany at all. French President Emmanuel Macron, it is thought, will sacrifice any principle for the sake of making France a middleman between Russia and Ukraine. As for the Germans, they have already built two Nord Stream pipelines for Russian gas. “And what gets built, eventually gets used,” a local analyst told me. It was a refrain I heard from others: When winter comes, and Germany and other parts of Europe suffer heating shortages, that’s when European resolve against Russia will erode.

Does Hungary Offer a Glimpse of Our Authoritarian Future? | The New Yorker

Representation in Hungary has grown less proportional in recent years, thanks to gerrymandering and other tweaks to the electoral rules. In April, Fidesz got fifty-four per cent of the vote but won eighty-three per cent of the districts. “At that level of malapportionment, you’d be hard pressed to find a good-faith political scientist who would call that country a true democracy,” Drutman told me. “The trends in the U.S. are going very quickly in the same direction. It’s completely possible that the Republican Party could control the House, the Senate, and the White House in 2025, despite losing the popular vote in every case. Is that a democracy?”

Does Hungary Offer a Glimpse of Our Authoritarian Future? | The New Yorker

Carlson told Dreher that he had already thought about visiting, but that he’d been encountering some bureaucratic hurdles with the Hungarian Embassy. A few days later, Dreher met Balázs Orbán—not related to Viktor, but one of his closest advisers. (Many Hungarians I spoke to described him as a sort of Karl Rove figure.) “I tried to convince Balázs that Tucker was somebody who could be trusted,” Dreher recalled. He offered personal assurances that, on the big questions, Tucker and Orbán were in alignment. By the summer, the red tape had cleared. (Carlson declined to comment.)

Does Hungary Offer a Glimpse of Our Authoritarian Future? | The New Yorker

The system that Orbán has built during the past twelve years, a combination of freedom and subjugation not exactly like that of any other government in the world, could be called Goulash Authoritarianism. Scheppele contends that Orbán has pulled this off not by breaking laws but by ingeniously manipulating them, in what she calls a “constitutional coup.” She added, “He’s very smart and methodical. First, he changes the laws to give himself permission to do what he wants, and then he does it.”

Does Hungary Offer a Glimpse of Our Authoritarian Future? | The New Yorker

He enlisted Arthur Finkelstein, a political consultant from Brooklyn who had worked to elect Jesse Helms, Strom Thurmond, and Ronald Reagan, among others. “Try to polarize the election around that issue which cuts best in your direction, i.e., drugs, crime, race,” Finkelstein wrote in a 1970 memo to the Nixon White House. In 1996, Finkelstein put this principle to work on behalf of Benjamin Netanyahu, a candidate for Prime Minister of Israel who was then about twenty points down in the polls, and who started alleging that his opponent, Shimon Peres, planned to divide Jerusalem. This was a lie, but it stuck, and Netanyahu won. In 2008, Netanyahu introduced Finkelstein to his friend Orbán; Finkelstein became so indispensable that Orbán reportedly came to refer to him, dotingly, as Finkie. One of Finkelstein’s protégés later told the Swiss journalist Hannes Grassegger, “Arthur always said that you did not fight against the Nazis but against Adolf Hitler.” Orbán had been running against globalism, multiculturalism, bureaucracy in Brussels. These were abstractions. By 2013, Finkelstein had an epiphany: the face of the enemy should be George Soros.

Does Hungary Offer a Glimpse of Our Authoritarian Future? | The New Yorker

“If these people think the extreme left is hijacking American society in dangerous ways, then, yes, I agree,” the conservative writer Andrew Sullivan told me. “But to go from that to ‘Let’s embrace this authoritarian leader in this backwater European country, and maybe try out a version of that model with our own charismatic leader back home’—I mean, that leap is just weird, and frankly stupid.”

Does Hungary Offer a Glimpse of Our Authoritarian Future? | The New Yorker

ou do not have to have emergency powers or a military coup for democracy to wither,” Aziz Huq, a constitutional-law professor at the University of Chicago, told me. “Most recent cases of backsliding, Hungary being a classic example, have occurred through legal means.” Orbán runs for reëlection every four years. In theory, there is a chance that he could lose. In practice, he has so thoroughly rigged the system that his grip on power is virtually assured. The political-science term for this is “competitive authoritarianism.” Most scholarly books about democratic backsliding (“The New Despotism,” “Democracy Rules,” “How Democracies Die”) cite Hungary, along with Brazil and Turkey, as countries that were consolidated democracies, for a while, before they started turning back the clock.

Does Hungary Offer a Glimpse of Our Authoritarian Future? | The New Yorker

The lights came up, and Szánthó walked to the lectern, waving stiffly. “Hungary has fought wars, suffered unthinkable oppression, to gain and regain our liberty,” he said. In the current war, he went on, the enemy was “woke totalitarianism,” personified by George Soros (he paused for boos); the hero was “one of the true champions of liberty, a man you know well, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán” (a generous round of applause). He praised “President Trump” and tried to initiate a cheer of “Let’s go Brandon,” a substitute for “Fuck Joe Biden” used by right-wing culture warriors who spend too much time on the Internet. He quoted the old chestnut “Hard times create strong men,” although, the way he said it, it sounded like “strongmen.” And he invited the audience to join him at the next CPAC conference, the first to be hosted on European soil: CPAC Hungary.

Does Hungary Offer a Glimpse of Our Authoritarian Future? | The New Yorker

That afternoon, on the CPAC main stage, Dan Schneider, the executive director of the American Conservative Union, singled out Orbán for praise: “If you cannot protect your own borders, if you cannot protect your own sovereignty, none of the other rights can be protected. That’s what the Prime Minister of Hungary understands.” The house lights dimmed and a sort of political trailer played, set to melodramatic music. “For over a millennium, to be Hungarian meant to sail the rough seas of history,” a narrator intoned over a horror-movie-style montage: Mongol invaders, migrant caravans, a glowering George Soros, drag-queen story time.

12 Handy & Humorous Hungarian Idioms -

1. While you might say “Cool!” Hungarians say “Zsir!” or “Király!”, meaning “Fat!” or “King!”. 2. While you might say “It’s not as good as you think.” Hungarians say, “Nem kolbászból van a kerítés”, meaning “The fence is not made from sausage”. 3. While you might say “It’s all Greek to me.” Hungarians say, “Ez nekem kínai”, meaning “It’s Chinese for me”. 4. While you might say “Yeah right, and pigs fly!” Hungarians say “Majd ha piros hó esik!” meaning, "When red snow falls!" 5. While you might say “A leopard can't change its spots” Hungarians say, “Kutyaból nem lesz szalonna”, meaning, “You can’t make bacon out of a dog”. 6. While you might call something “Useless” Hungarians say, “Kevés vagy, mint mackósajtban a brummogás”, meaning, “You’re as little as the roaring in a Mackó cheese (which is a type of cheese that has a small bear on the label). 7. While you might say someone is “naïve” Hungarians say, “Kenyérre lehet kenni”, meaning, “You can spread them on bread”. 8. While you might say “Far, far away” Hungarians say, “Az Isten háta mögött”, meaning “Behind God’s back”. 9. While you might say “She’s jumping for joy!” Hungarians say, “Örül, mint majom a farkának.”, meaning, “She’s as happy as a monkey about his tail”. 10. While you might ask children “Why are you crying?” Hungarians ask, “Miért itatod az egereket?”, meaning, “Why are you giving drinks to the mice?”. 11. While you might shout “You’re blocking my view!” Hungarians shout “Apád nem volt üveges!”, meaning “Your dad wasn’t a glassmaker!” As in, you’re not transparent, so get out of the way. 12. While you might say “It’s not worth the effort” Hungarians say, “Annyit ér, mint halottnak a csók”, meaning, “It’s worth as much as a kiss to a dead person”.

Republican congressman Andy Harris’s real Hungarian roots – Hungarian Spectrum

So, Zoltán Hariss was never a forced labor inmate in the Gulag. Instead, he got involved with a very bad cause and ultimately served under the Hungarian branch of the SS. I suspect that Andy Harris is not entirely familiar with the true story of his father’s involvement with the Hungarian Nazi movement, which applauded the extermination of Jews and sent more than 400,000 people to die in Auschwitz. But if he is ignorant of his family history, it would be high time to learn the true facts.

The Plot Against George Soros

It began in 2008, when Orbán decided to seek reelection. His old friend Bibi — as Netanyahu is known — introduced him to the two people who would guide his success. Before long, Finkelstein and Birnbaum were applying their formula to Orbán’s election campaign — and then turbocharging it. Enemies were easy to find in Hungary. The country was an economic basket case and had to be bailed out in 2008. Austerity measures were demanded by their creditors at the World Bank, the EU, and the IMF. Finkelstein and Birnbaum told Orbán to target “the bureaucrats” and “foreign capital.” Orbán won the 2010 election with a two-thirds majority as the country shifted to the right. Birnbaum is still amazed today how easy it was: “We blew the Socialist party off the table even before the election.”

Viktor Orbán’s belligerent, apocalyptic speech against neighbors and allies – Hungarian Spectrum

“Let’s understands the depths of the change that has occurred in the last ten years. Let’s not be afraid of what we see. Yes, we are the ones we have been waiting for, those who will change the future of Hungary. We can hope that our generation, the fourth generation of Trianon, will fulfill its mission and will take Hungary to the gates of victory. But the decisive battle must be fought by the fifth generation of Trianon that will follow us.”

Viktor Orbán’s belligerent, apocalyptic speech against neighbors and allies – Hungarian Spectrum

Once he finished with the treasonous left-of-center, he moved against the “West, which raped Central Europe’s thousand-year-old borders and its history.” The Great Powers squeezed Hungarians into an area with indefensible borders and deprived the country of its natural resources without any moral compunction. “We will never forgive them,” he promised. And after Hungary suffered all of these atrocities committed by the West, “we were thrown to the communists without any pangs of conscience.” The enemies of Hungary wanted to destroy the country, but “Hungarians are stubborn” and “were not ready to assist at their burial.” Hungary is alive and kicking, while “there is no Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, or Soviet Union. There is no British or French Empire. What remained of them are wrestling right now in the multicultural grips of their vengeful colonies. The justice of history cannot be avoided.” It is duty of the Hungarians, he continued, “to preserve the Carpathian Basin,” in which “every new Hungarian child is also a new guard post.”

Nagy Magyarorszag

Orbán began his speech with the following two sentences: “We know the stations. We also know the painful stations of the Hungarian Calvary of Sátoraljaújhely.” To understand what the prime minister was talking about, we must go back in time to 1934, when the “Hungarian Calvary,” consisting of 14 stations, was erected on a hillside just outside of town. Each station symbolizes an important city or region lost to Hungary after World War I. Visitors begin their walk at the station depicting Kassa (Košice) in Czechoslovakia. Following the route, they visit cities and regions in Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, and Romania, only to return to Kassa, encircling present-day Hungary. In brief, this was and still is an irredentist monument, one of the many erected between the two world wars.

For the new right, Hungary is now what Venezuela once was for the left | Nick Cohen | Opinion | The Guardian

You could say that in elected dictatorships, the state purges the civil service and judiciary and controls the media and Britain has not reached that point. But instead of looking at the terminus, notice the direction of travel. Johnson has suspended parliament and purged his party of dissenting pro-European voices. Attacks on the independence of the judiciary and civil service are now standard for a right that cannot tolerate constraints. Britain is not Hungary. But if you want to stop your country heading that way, is it not more effective to start fighting back at the first sign of danger rather than waiting until it is too late?

March 30, 1988, the birthday of Fidesz, in the news – Hungarian Spectrum

Stumpf “informed György Aczél, who was already on his way to meet [János] Kádár, on the phone” about the news. In this version, Aczél met Kádár for dinner that evening, where he managed to convince the general secretary that Fidesz was “in good hands” and that the student organizers were harmless. Aczél, according to Varga-Sabján, assured them that “all obstacles had been removed, Fidesz is allowed to operate.” He adds that, in the wake of Kádár’s explicit permission, “it is understandable why Viktor Orbán and his associates were awarded Soros scholarships for their preparation” for a political role in the government.

Rebellion in Gyergyóditró: The exclusiveness of Szekler nationalism – Hungarian Spectrum

Gergely’s article, titled “Let the pro-migrant politicians be bakers in the Land of Szeklers,” is in full sympathy with the inhabitants of Gyergyóditró because what happened demonstrates that “there is an existing problem.” He claims that “the land of the Szeklers is a closed but tolerant community,” in which it can easily happen that someone from a neighboring village will remain “a stranger” for the rest of his life. Szeklers can handle “exceptions,” but they cannot tolerate mass settlements due to the bad experiences of the past. They are not xenophobes and racists, but they do have to worry about the two Sri Lankans because soon enough four other bakers will arrive from Nepal. The owner of the bakery is importing cheap labor from Asia while 30% of Romania’s population works abroad because of the extremely low living standards in the country. Instead of looking down on the allegedly backward people of Gyergyóditró, we should understand their plight, concludes Gergely.

Orbán, the new Jesus, delivers his Sermon on the Mount – Hungarian Spectrum

Given the superiority of Christian liberty over liberal liberty, western Europe can be saved, in Orbán’s view, only by abandoning traditional liberal concepts and turning to its Christian heritage, which is alive and well in East-Central Europe, mainly because these countries managed to keep migrants threatening European culture out of their countries. And in that region Orbán’s Hungary has a very special place. Let me quote this much-debated passage verbatim: “We shouldn’t be afraid to declare that Hungary is a city built on a hill, which, as is well known, cannot be hidden. Let’s embrace this mission, let’s create for ourselves and show to the world what a true, deep, and superior life can be built on the ideal of Christian liberty. Perhaps this lifeline will be the one toward which the confused, lost, and misguided Europe will stretch its hand. Perhaps they will also see the beauty of man’s work serving his own good, the good of his country, and the glory of God.” First, let’s go to the original, which Orbán failed to identify, the Gospel of Matthew, (5:13-15). 13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.” 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” 15 “Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.”

Hungarian architect, dissident Laszlo Rajk dies at 70 - The Washington Post

Rajk turned his own home into a “samizdat boutique,” where issues of the clandestine journals could be purchased. Rajk was blacklisted in 1981 by Hungary’s communist regime and mostly banned from working under his own name for a decade. The same year, he co-founded AB Fuggetlen Kiado, an independent publisher of mostly Hungarian and Eastern European dissident authors but also works by anti-authoritarian writers like George Orwell, or those writing about the region, like British historian Timothy Garton Ash. Miklos Haraszti, a fellow dissident and former Representative on Freedom of the Media at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said Rajk was a “pioneer” in the launch and strengthening of Hungary’s democratic opposition. “Rajk was a pioneer in making Hungary the second strongest country, after Poland, in the production and dissemination of opposition ideas,” Haraszti said. “It was his authority, enterprise, diligence and talent which guaranteed their continued existence.”

One by one, historical events are rewritten by the Orbán regime – Hungarian Spectrum

The Budapest Festival Orchestra was performing an all-Beethoven concert on August 18, and Iván Fischer decided to give away 400 tickets to the German visitors. And they came. As he said later, they could easily be spotted by their casual outfits. Once the concert was over, a large group of diplomats from the West German Embassy thanked Fischer for his gesture. They told him that during intermission they had distributed pamphlets to the refugees informing them of the narrow window of opportunity at Sopron the next day. Of course, the concert was just one of the places where the German refugees could be reached, but this story is further proof of the joint domestic and international effort to help the refugees. I should add that Prime Minister Miklós Németh paid several visits to the Zugliget temporary shelter. Opposition leaders were giving the government advice on possible ways to solve the problem, as László Kovács, deputy to Gyula Horn, wrote in an article yesterday titled “On the background of the opening of the borders.” But this is not how the Orbán government wants Hungarians to remember the summer of 1989. As we know, Helmut Kohl’s government felt enormous gratitude for what the Germans considered to be a courageous and humane gesture involving considerable danger considering the still fluid political situation in the Soviet Union. As Boris Kálnoky relates in his article “Merkels überraschend neuer Ton bei ihrem Orbán-Besuch,” Zoltán Balog, former politician and apparently future bishop, said at a two-day conference on the Pan-European Picnic’s thirtieth anniversary that “this praise of the Germans for the former communist dictatorship disturbed us, dissidents even then, and it bothers us to this day.” He claimed that “without our pressure, the communists would never have changed.”

Bernard-Henri Lévy Interviews Viktor Orbán - The Atlantic

“You can’t talk like that. I have the best relations in the world with Israel.” “Fine. But with Jews?” “The same. Let me tell you something. There was a time in Hungary’s history when we didn’t have enough farm labor and had to bring in Czechs, Ruthenians, Roma, and so on. So that by the middle of the 19th century, the Magyars were becoming a minority. And do you know how we settled that? Through a grand alliance between Magyars and Jews, which together made up a little more than 50 percent of the population.” He speaks of this alliance in the manner of a captain of industry describing a shift in the majority of the board of directors. And when I ask him about the source of the Magyar strain of anti-Semitism, which was, after all, one of Europe’s deadliest, he counters with this astonishing response. “Béla Kun.” Kun was a Lenin ally who, in 1918, founded the short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic. “Yes,” he insists. “Béla Kun. The Jews played a large role—an unfortunate fact, but a fact nonetheless—in his abortive attempt at a Communist revolution. And that is what undid the fine alliance in Budapest between the Jewish and Magyar people.”

Ancient DNA suggests that some Northern Europeans got their languages from Siberia -- ScienceDaily

"Studying ancient DNA makes it possible to pinpoint the moment in time when the genetic components that we see in modern populations reached the area since, instead of predicting past events based on modern genomes, we are analyzing the DNA of individuals who actually lived in a particular time in the past," Saag explains. Their data suggest that the Siberian ancestry reached the coasts of the Baltic Sea no later than the mid-first millennium BC -- around the time of the diversification of west Uralic/Finnic languages. It also indicates an influx of people from regions with strong Western hunter-gatherer characteristics in the Bronze Age, including many traits we now associate with modern Northern Europeans, like pale skins, blue eyes, and lactose tolerance. "The Bronze Age individuals from the Eastern Baltic show an increase in hunter-gatherer ancestry compared to Late Neolithic people and also in the frequency of light eyes, hair, and skin and lactose tolerance," Tambets says, noting that those characteristics continue amongst present-day Northern Europeans.