A question of viewpoint

Everyone filters what he experiences in some way, according to some principles that inform his judgments. If we are (as F. H. Bradley argued in The Presuppositions of Critical History) both the architect of the past–however recent that past may be–and the author of our filtering principles, then in effect there will be as many points of view as there are people. Of course, we tend to minimize this diversity and talk instead about principles that inform the judgments of groups of people. József Szájer, Fidesz European parliamentary member, for example is convinced that their removal of the cordon was a victory for democracy. It would be strange were he to think otherwise. After all, he was one of those who helped Viktor Orbán dismantle it. Gergely Bárándy, a young lawyer and MSZP politician who comes from a long line of lawyers, thinks that the verdict was a death sentence for the rule of law in Hungary. Krisztina Morvai (a so-called legal expert) and Zoltán Balog (a Presbyterian minister and Fidesz member of parliament) are convinced that October 23, 2006, marked the beginning of dictatorship in Hungary where the prime minister himself ordered the police to attack peaceful demonstrators in a most savage manner. Others consider the mob’s action despicable and the police reaction weak.

Some "political scientists" are certain that a minority government cannot work and that the current Hungarian government is doomed to failure. Others are hopeful. Some people think that the only rational policy of MDF and SZDSZ is the path they are currently pursuing while others find their decisions of late to be suicidal from their own vantage point. Some economists are certain that Hungary is destined to be the loser of the region: everybody, including the Romanians, will surpass Hungary, and the poor Hungarians will be looking at Slovakia with envy in their eyes. Well-known economists project economic growth at a fixed rate: currently the Slovak economy is growing by 10% while Hungary’s growth is about 2%, and, they claim, this disparity will continue far into the future. Others are pretty sure that eventually the Slovak economy will settle into a yearly growth of about 4% and that the Hungary economy will do the same.

Some political analysts are certain that there is a huge political and economic crisis in Hungary. Fidesz especially likes to talk about crisis. István Stumpf a couple of days ago talked about a "triple crisis," i.e. political, economic, and societal. Viktor Orbán added a fourth one: state crisis. I’m at a loss to figure out what that means. Others are convinced that there is no real economic or societal crisis and that the political one was actually created by Fidesz. Fidesz’s "linguists" in charge of political discourse came up with the idea that perhaps if they repeat the word "crisis" at least ten times a day, eventually people will believe that there a is real, immediate crisis. This strategy seems to work, by the way.

Let me insert here a cartoon I liked very much. It appeared in Népszava.

Valsag

Caption: "Heeeelp, we are sinking!"

NWO thought that I look at the policies of MDF and SZDSZ (yesterday’s blog) through tinted glasses while, obviously, he and others who think similarly to him, look at events as they really are (which, of course, is as impossible for him to do as it is for me). He incorrectly infers that he is right and I’m wrong. He may be right or I may be right. Or we both may be wrong. I find it hard to understand why it would be good for either MDF or SZDSZ to have early elections. Sure, they could distinguish themselves from MSZP this way, but then what? Would they be willing to sacrifice their parliamentary representation? Nice distinguishing! Let me insert here another cartoon that appeared in today’s Vasárnapi Hírek.

Koltsegvetes

Gyurcsány stands on a ball called "Budget," carefully balancing, while Ibolya Dávid and Gábor Fodor are pulling him this way and that way. Dávid says "We are not going to vote for it." Fodor says: "Neither will we." And the caption reads: "Be careful because in the end we may all fall on our faces!" It seems that I’m not alone in thinking that this may be the wrong strategy. But the best thing is to wait and see. Or perhaps we will not see because it is always possible that they will reconsider and change their tune.

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New World Order
Guest
Eva I will try one more time to get my point across. I think one must distinguish between a Party’s public tactics (in this case-a call forearly elections) and the Party’s (or the Party’s leader’s private calculations) (in this case, understanding that becasue it is probably not in the interest of any Party to have early elections, they will not occur). In this case, this is a perfect example of a basic Prisoners’ dilemma. Each Party knowing that early elections are not in their interest believes they can “call for such elections” as a way of distinguishng themselves, but do not actually have to risk an election now as long as the other Parties also act rationally. The cartoon is a good one because, like all such instances, these situations can fall apart if the various Parties mis-judge each other’s intentions. On this point, Eva, what do you think is in the best interests of the two small Parties? How do you think they can find a consistent block of support? For SzDSz, what is gained by staying in coalition with the MSZP when Gy and the MSZP believe their sole road to political salvation is to “throw out” SzDSz’s… Read more »
dinayekapelye
Guest
Eva, you never answered my observation pointing out your logical inconsistency (previous post). But since that is not your habit when cornered (I know, no time, more pressing things…), let’s precede anyway. It may also be that there are some politicians who are just conceivably more motivated by their own moral stand than by political gain? Is this within your compass of comprehension? Also on bias in observations in the forming of theoretical discourse you are right that bias is inevitable as many more eloquent people have pointed out before. You unfortunately are not widely read (stuck in political tittle-tattle most of your life) and have had a blinkered academic career. Otherwise you would know and understand the corollarly to your argument. Just to upset Dumneazu, I will point you in the right direction with some choice passages gleaned from self-compiled chrestomathy: “All human knowledge thus begins with intuitions, proceeds thence to concepts, and ends with ideas.” – Kant, B 730, Critique of Pure Reason (1787) “A person’s processes are psychologically channelized by the way in which he anticipates events.” – Kelly, G. A. (1955) “The Psychology of Personal Constructs”, New York: Norton, p.46 “Twenty-five years ago I tried to… Read more »
New World Order
Guest
With reference to my prior posts on Hungary’s economy, see below an article from Portfolio.hu– Anti-competition attitudes limits growth in Hungary – Political Capital Friday, 16, May 2008 01:58:00 PM Economic and political processes in Hungary – similarly to other CEE countries, – are extensively influenced by voters’ anti-market and anti-competition sentiments. This has a considerably negative effect on competitiveness. This in turn translates into a number of risks that operate in the short, medium and long terms from the perspective of investors and other economic players, Political Capital’s Risk Forecast Division warns. The population’s strong aversion to the market economy and anti competition attitude is also a risk factor, the research company says. Cyclical fiscal policy and political demagogy are also mentioned among the rsik factors. The voters expect the state to provide a high level of services, yet they advocate the reduction of taxes. They clearly favour market competition in areas where, as consumers, they can enjoy its benefits, but they turn against the market when they themselves are expected to compete in it. They expect more protection from the government, while they also opine that the state interferes too much in their life. Although Hungarians consider competition… Read more »
dinayekapelye
Guest

New World Order,
Thanks for pointing that article out. A great piece of writing.
The link is:
http://www.portfolio.hu/en/cikkek.tdp?cCheck=1&k=2&i=14848

Adrian
Guest

Eva,
“My suspicion is that Hungarian politics is moving toward a two-party system.”
I wish, unfortunately, I don’t think the electoral system will allow it. Any proportional representation system empowers marginal – dare I say it, “extremist” views. If they are knocked out this time, new groupings will be formed in the futrure
Orbán would not be where he is today – rhetorically – if it hadn’t been necessary to pick up as many right-wing votes as possible.
Similarly, Gyurcsány would not be beholden to form coalitions with non-serious political outfits like the SZDSZ.

Odin's lost eye
Guest
@ Prof Balogh You mention the names of József Szájer, Krisztina Morvai and Zoltán Balog and the opinions they hold and talk of in public. If I may make 2 quotes from your piece 1 *** “József Szájer, Fidesz European parliamentary member, for example is convinced that their removal of the cordon was a victory for democracy. It would be strange were he to think otherwise. After all, he was one of those who helped Viktor Orbán dismantle it.” *** May I remind people of ‘Pride’s Purge’? I presume that what Fides members wanted to do was something akin to ‘Prides Purge’ or at least intimidate those with other viewpoints to ‘stay away’. For those who do not know what ‘Pride’s Purge’ was. On the 6th December 1648 Col Thomas Pride and his regiment (of foot) entered the Houses of Parliament in London and of the 489 elected Members of Parliament, arrested 45, forcibly removed another 186 and scared off a further 86 members, leaving a ‘Rump’ of just 83 members. There were 18 ‘no-shows’ that day. 2 *** “Krisztina Morvai (a so-called legal expert) and Zoltán Balog (a Presbyterian minister and Fidesz member of parliament) are convinced that October… Read more »
Odin's lost eye
Guest

From what I have read in this excellent web site, much of which is way beyond my knowledge, I think that Krisztina Morvai, Zoltán Balog and József Szájer really believe their own statements. I also think that the fluency and ease of the language used so do the other party bosses in Fides. If this is true then when and IF they come to power God help us all. “When the lunatics take over the asylum it is every man for himself”!

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