The lunatic fringe in Hungary: a case study

Reading reports of the seemingly endless struggle over the fate of the deeply indebted Ferenc Markhot Hospital in Eger, I came to realize that the opposition to privatization has shifted from professionals to the lunatic fringe. More about one of the luminaries later.

The last time I wrote about the hospital in Eger I mentioned that Hospinvest claimed that they had 750 or so contracts and therefore would surely receive permission to operate the hospital. On the other hand, the "defenders of the hospital" also claimed to have 750 signatures of people who refused to cooperate with Hospinvest. There was a slight arithmetical anomaly: the hospital's staff was not 1,500  but only about 1,200. Since then a public notary has confirmed that Hospinvest does indeed have the number of contracts it said it had. But the "defenders" don't believe the public notary, and they came up with a new list of 120 names, all doctors who refused to sign a contract with Hospinvest. And, they added, how can the hospital that originally had 150 doctors operate with only 30? This list of names showed up on the internet. A doctor acquaintance shared the link. Although I immediately took a look at the list I didn't save it. A day later the site no longer existed (or at least the link no longer functioned). I assume that some of the doctors on the list objected. Yet a couple of days later Eger newspapers still referred to the list, though without individual names.

Now I hear that the "defenders of the hospital" are organizing another demonstration in front of the cathedral and that for good measure fifty Goy bikers are also heading for Eger. At this point one becomes suspicious about the nature of this defense team. One becomes even more suspicious when one hears that Kazakh doctors are coming to the rescue. Kazakhs? What on earth is going on here?

And now we have arrived at a poster child for the lunatic fringe, Alfréd Pócs. At least he is a doctor, unlike Pál Szabó, another leader who was described as a doctor defender by Magyar Nemzet but turned out to be the hospital's porter. However, Dr. Pócs in "civilian life" considers himself to be a shaman! He has two defender colleagues. First is Kristóf Mánya, a pediatrician who between 1998 and 2002 served as a Fidesz member of parliament but since then has moved to the far right. He is now a supporter of MIÉP and Jobbik. Until recently he worked in the hospital in Gyöngyös but moved to Eger as head of pediatrics after he had a quarrel over money with the hospital in Gyöngyös. Where he will be working next I have no idea but somehow I don't think that it is going to be in Eger. The other defender colleague is Katalin Tóth. I couldn't find out much about her except that she is a doctor at the Markhot Hospital. I assume that she is comfortable with the political ideology of the shaman and the MIÉP supporter. What is incredible is that Fidesz continues to support this increasingly right wing anti-privatization movement. At least this is what one learns from the Fidesz homepage.

Do you think I succumb to hyperbole when I talk about the lunatic fringe?  A few words about Alfred Pócs should set the record straight. In the far-right Magyar Demokrata Pócs gave an interview in September 2006. From this interview we learn that Dr. Pócs became interested in early Hungarian history as a result of his conversations with his grandfather, an ordinary peasant but with "a fantastic knowledge of Hungarian history." It didn't matter what the subject was; he could always answer his grandson's questions. He claims, of course, that people know very little about the subject of Hungarian antiquity because of "one hundred and thirty years of anti-Hungarian propaganda." In this interview he attacked the generally accepted Finno-Ugric theory, (very simply put) identifying an early group that later split to became Hungarians and Finns. Linguists might have devoted their entire careers to establishing semantic and syntactical parallels between Hungarian and Finnish, but his retort is simple: "On the Holy Crown at the depiction of Jacob and Peter there are four lions, not a polar bear or a reindeer." It hurts it is so stupid. And why are the Hungarians so great? To give a single example, according to him there are sources that attest to the fact that the Huns were Christians already in the fourth and fifth century and taught others to be good Christians. Also "our Scythian ancestors became Christians very early because the apostles Philip and Andrew went to Scythia to spread the Word." This man surely cannot be taken seriously. Yet he is heavily involved in radical politics with the blessing of the Hungarian opposition.

The same Alfréd Pócs was the "shaman" who in the name of the Holy Crown "took back the gas field near Makó." During another interview after the gas field incident, he explained that the Holy Crown is God himself.  But a few sentences later we find out that "the Holy Crown is ourselves." As for the gas field and the Canadian company that is investing billions of dollars in it, Dr. Pócs has interesting ideas. Once the wells are functioning one cubic meter of natural gas might be produced for a mere four forints. If it is that cheap why couldn't the state give the gas to the Hungarians for free? He expressed his surprise that no Hungarian party has thought of that idea. "That's why I said that the Holy Crown could do that!" Can this man be a good doctor? There are rumors that he has had some professional mishaps in his career. The latest only a few weeks ago when a he saw a boy with a broken nose and jaw and Dr. Pócs sent him home with only a pain killer. His parents subsequently took him to a real doctor who had to operate on the young man.

I do hope that Hospinvest will not hire Dr. Pócs even if he changes his mind about signing a contract. This man is a lunatic. In brief, the cause of the defenders is not in the best of hands. I would be more cautious if I were the head of Fidesz.

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My dear Popocatepetl,
I am glad I can address one of the resisters in your person.
If I understand correctly from you taciturn comment, you are one of those opposing.
At the great distance from which I view this drama I can more and more see that a small politically motivated group of irresponsible rebel rousers are using you and your cohorts to execute their political aims, but at a cost to you. They have nothing to risk or loose, while you are soon going to be unemployed. And for what!?
You should sit down with a piece of paper and pencil and calculate which is better for you personally and for your community collectively. I believe at the moment you are wrong on both counts.
But if you are going to insist on ideological grounds that the situation is unacceptable, just go ahead and throw the profession into the winds and become an apostle. The pay is meager but the glory is great. Although you will be the only one who will have the personal experience of that. Nobody else will care.


Well, If you think that the is enough compensation for the loss of your job and the ridicule you shall harvest, then I congratulate you and suggest, you should escort KInga to the appointed destination.

Odin's lost eye
I know it is wrong to mock the afflicted but to quote the catch phrase of the well-known character in the comedy ‘One Foot in the Grave’ Victor Meldrew “I just don’t believe it”. This is all so fantastic and so tortuously Byzantine that I doubt if a gibbering idiot like Dr Alfréd Pócs could have made it up. Unless he (and others) were having a very bad ‘trip’ on some very impure chemicals. Professor as you say *** “This man is a lunatic. In brief, the cause of the defenders is not in the best of hands. I would be more cautious if I were the head of Fidesz.” *** Fidesz must be desperate in their quest to drive this country back into the Stone Age to use a ‘Loony-Toon’ like this one. I have recently enquired into the career of the Head of Fidesz when he spent two years reading law in the UK. I know Pembroke Collage well It is near a watering hole called the Apollo in St Aldates and is almost opposite to the ‘House’ (Christchurch Collage). The whole University has a great reputation for being the home of ‘Lost Causes’. I do not know… Read more »