“Place in the sun for the hopes of Hungarians”

This is a loose translation of the title Viktor Orbán gave to his speech at the opening of the New Széchenyi Plan. The original is actually more emphatic. He "demands" a place and since it wouldn't make much sense to demand hopes for Hungarians from Hungarians, I came to the conclusion that this demand is addressed to the outside world. In a way he is not much off target because, after all, the whole New Széchenyi Plan will be financed from European Union subsidies. That is, if they keep coming.

The pamphlet that was published for the occasion is 199 pages long and is available online. On the surface it looks very impressive. One wonders how on earth György Matolcsy's new ministry managed to put together such a detailed pamphlet that is being offered for public discussion. Not enough time has elapsed since the Új Széchenyi Terv was published and therefore as far as I know not much has been written about the plan. But a few barbed pieces have already appeared. One in Népszabadság (July 31) by Gusztáv Megyesi is entitled "Stolen material." Megyesi and others discovered that at the very end of the pamphlet there is a list, a very long list, of people who allegedly "participated in the preparation of this pamphlet." I was astonished to see that a dead man, Árpád Skrabski, was busily helping along. What Andy Vajda, the American-Hungarian film producer, contributed to this economic plan is also a mystery to me. I wasn't surprised to see the name of Zsigmond Járay, but another economist and former national bank chairman, Péter Ákos Bod, was astonished to discover his name on the list. Apparently he had nothing whatsoever to do with it. Others discovered the name of Gergely Litkai, who is a humorist. One can imagine how much fun someone can have with the list.

Much of Viktor Orbán's short speech was not at all new. He repeated some of the themes we already discussed in connection with his speech at Tusnádfürdő. But here are some questionable claims from the speech.

First, Orbán contended that the ruins of the Hungarian economy were cleared away by the 29-point "action plan." In reality, the 29-point action plan was thrown together in three days because José Manuel Barroso poured cold water on Orbán's plans for a higher deficit for the current year. The action plan also had to be introduced in a hurry because the two left-handed Lajos Kósa and Péter Szijjártó frightened the world markets to death by comparing Hungary's situation to that of Greece. The ruins this action plan had to clear away were the Orbán government's own doing. Moreover, although some of the economic steps to be taken were passed by parliament, the bill containing them hasn't even reached the president for his signature. So, if there were ruins, they are still lying about untouched.

Yet, according to Orbán, "the financial situation of the country today is stable and reliable." Miracle of miracles! Two months ago, according to Orbán, the country was close to bankruptcy and the "action plan managed to prevent the danger of collapse." To repeat the obvious, if the action plan hasn't even been introduced, how on earth could it have prevented the alleged collapse? And note that Orbán here supports the blatantly false statements of the two culprits who managed to turn half the world upside down for a couple of days. This is typical Orbán. He says certain things for home consumption and entirely different things abroad. Except, in my opinion, in today's electronically wired world, that will not float for long.

After a few encouraging words about the prospects for economic independence which is now possible because his government "established the international conditions" for it, another claim that is questionable, he turned to a favorite theme he already mentioned in Tusnádfürdő: Hungary must become "a land of knowledge." Because of "the peculiar Hungarian way of thinking  and [their] intellectual talents … [Hungary] can be a winner" in this global economy. But this time when he was speaking to an exclusively Hungarian audience and the president of Romania, Trajan Băsescu, wasn't present as he was in Tasnádfürdő, he went further. He added that "there is a saying in the United States that there are two kinds of intelligence on this earth: that of people in general and another of Hungarians."

His audience must have loved this one. Isn't it heartwarming to hear that one belongs to a nation whose IQ is way above or profoundly different from (and superior to) that of any other people?  By the way, there is no such American saying that extolls the superior intelligence of Hungarians. When it comes to the present Hungarian government, one can read all sorts of things about it but none of them mentions the superior intelligence of its prime minister and his economic advisors. On the contrary.

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latefor
Guest

“There are two kinds of intelligence on this earth: that of people in general and another of Hungarians”- I love this, I truly love it! I feel good…soooo good! This is a real moral booster for the people. The question is: how are we all going to live up to this expectation?

John T
Guest

“There are two kinds of intelligence on this earth: that of people in general and another of Hungarians”
Of course, if such a phrase existed, it’s unclear whether you’d take it is a compliment or an insult 🙂
And if it were true, then you would have expected Hungary to have progressed a lot more than it has in the last 20 years, to take account of the massive intellectual advantage.
Lets face it, Hungary has plenty of clever, educated people just as every country in the world has.
But if it is a true saying, it’s a shame that Hungary always seems to pick an idiot rather than an intellectual to lead it!

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Someone sent me a link to an article by László Bartus, a Hungarian journalist who a few years ago emigrated to the United States and now is the editor-owner of Amerikai-Magyar Népszava, the oldest Hungarian newspaper in the United States. Laci is a brutally outspoken man and therefore I wasn’t too surprised to read this piece written after he and his family visited Hungary this summer. Here it is: http://nepszava.com/index.php?topic=4455&page=4658

John T
Guest

Adding to my earlier post, intellectual ability wouldn’t be at the top of my wishlist for a politician. There are other traits that a more important – honest, respect for others etc.

Jules
Guest

@Eva re the Nepszava article: Wow! This guy totally nailed the mentality. I have posted it to my Facebook page and sent it to a few people (Hungarian-Americans) who were absolutely beside themselves with JOY when OV was elected. My take from the article is not just that Orban will take us to a populist point of no return, but also, sadly, that the Hungarian mentality prevents Hungarians from electing leaders who who are willing and able to enact real austerity and/or growth measures.

fapomogacs
Guest

Isaac Asimov: “A persistent rumor has circulates in the USA: There are two intelligent races living on the surface of planet Earth: the standard people and the hungarians.”
source:
http://www.cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php?action=printpage;topic=13148.0

GDF
Guest

I think Asimov would not say ” a persistent rumor has circulates”.
I seem to remember that there was some remark of this type made among the scientist working on the first atomic bomb, many of them being of Hungarian origin. Most of those though would not be considered Hungarians by many of the Jobbik-FIDESZ, because they were Jewish.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

GDF: “Most of those though would not be considered Hungarians by many of the Jobbik-FIDESZ, because they were Jewish.”
Of course, that occurred to me also. But I took a look at the list from which fapomogacs quoted from. Not exactly a reliable source. A lot of junk about Hungarian-Sumerian linguistic rrelationship which is bunk.

Bummer
Guest

This is a better and more reliable source:
http://www.kfki.hu/tudtor/tudos1/martians.html

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Honest, I don’t care who said it. It is ridiculous and stupid thing to say that one nation’s IQ is higher than others.

Alias3T
Guest
It’s a well-known fact, tediously repeated, that the non-Hungarian scientists at Los Alamos used to talk about the many Hungarians – “Martians” – working on the project to build a fission bomb. They were talking about the unintelligibility of the language these exiled Budapest Jews used to talk to each other in. There were plenty of good physicists in Los Alamos in 1944. I don’t think the Hungarians stood out especially for their brilliance. Perhaps everyone just thought they were weirdos? In any case, it’s an amusing bon mot from 60 years ago, not an oft-repeated American English proverb. But Orban does have a habit of making up “proverbs” used in other countries. And it’s a tic shared by much of the Fidesz front line. A few months ago, Kosa said in a speech that “in England, they say that a good campaign starts with the prime minister’s oath of office.” It’s not a phrase I’ve ever heard. For that matter the PM doesn’t swear an oath of office. He’s ordered to get to work by the queen. But it fitted the occasion – Orban had just sworn his oath of office – and it maybe he thought it sounded… Read more »
Tamas Kiss
Guest

During his first term in office as Prime Minister, Viktor Orban made up a fair collection of “homespun” foreign proverbs and sayings, one of them was the alleged Portuguese proverb which he used in one of his public speeches, namely: “One is glad over one’s guests twice: first, when they arrive and second, when they leave” – Now, I have a close relative who is a teacher of Portuguese, and when asked about this ‘Portuguese’ proverb, this close relative of mine said: Bollocks, there is no such proverb in the Portuguese language, and an extended search of this ‘proverb’ on the Internet also produced no hits… This much about Viktor Orban rather colorful imagination and his credibility…:(

Tamas Kiss
Guest

Another /in/famous type of ‘sayings’ Viktor Orbán invented was the ‘Dakota’ saying. Upset by the opposition’s repeated verbal attacks on him in Parliament while he was PM the first time around(1998-2002), rising from his chair in Parliament he once angrily said something like this: ‘As for the outrageous allegations of the opposition, by way of a piece of advice, let me remind them of an old Dakota saying: ‘When you notice that the horse on whose back you are sitting is dead, it’s time for you to get off the horse’s back’. It is slightly reminiscent of the true English saying: ‘It’s no use flogging a dead horse’ – but brutally distorted and falsely attributed to the Dakota tribe of the American Indians. If I were a member of the Dakota tribe, I would certainly be offended….:(

viagra online
Guest

I don’t know. The daodejing passage you quote seems like pure spirituality to me. The relaxed immersion in whatever it is you face, no matter how horrific, exciting or yawn-inspiring. Water ebbing in all those places.

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