Viktor Orbán, a desperate man with dangerous ideas

In 2005 Péter Popper (1933-2010), a psychologist, university professor, and publicist whose writings I greatly admired, wrote a psychological portrait of Viktor Orbán. He admitted that he had serious reservations about psychoanalyzing someone he had never met. In addition, he freely acknowledged that he didn’t like Viktor Orbán. But why then did he decide to write this portrait?

He began his explanation by telling a story about a movie hero in an American war film who is transformed from a scrawny, bespectacled, awkward youngster into a fearless leader of his troops because, after seeing what remained of the concentration camps, he “became angry at them.” Popper decided to write because he became very angry with Viktor Orbán and his former college friends. By now there are a lot of Hungarians who are also very angry and who found this brilliant essay by Popper perhaps even more timely now than it was in 2005. So, this 10-year-old essay began circulating again online.

“The name of Viktor Orbán has become a symbol for me. The symbol of the still deeper political depravity of a country with eighty years of moral turpitude behind it.” Popper nonetheless predicted that “we will see him one day on the side of the road as a cast-away piece of stone.” There are signs that Orbán’s “time” might be closer than some think. Perhaps a sense of panic about his impending political demise is responsible for Orbán’s erratic political decisions of late.

The way Viktor Orbán is seen in foreign news / Photo Attila Kisbenedek / AFP / Getty Images

The way Viktor Orbán is seen in foreign papers /  AFP / Getty Images/ Photo: Attila Kisbenedek

If we can believe the speculations offered by the Hungarian media, all of Orbán’s political ideas come from Árpád Habony, a man about whom we know practically nothing. He is Orbán’s chief political adviser with no official title. His lifestyle suggests considerable wealth, but the Hungarian public knows nothing about the source of his opulence. The general belief is that it was Habony who came up with the idea of lowering utility costs, which in a miraculously short time turned Fidesz’s lagging popularity into a huge electoral victory in April 2014. So, the argument goes, Orbán now has total trust in Habony’s extraordinary political intuitions and follows his advice without the slightest hesitation.

Of course, we have no idea how much influence anyone among his very small circle of advisers and politicians has on Orbán’s political moves, but there is one thing I’m pretty much convinced of: he doesn’t share his thoughts with the top party leadership. I’m almost sure that he wouldn’t have the unanimous support of Fidesz bigwigs to combat Jobbik by adopting more and more of their ideas. I’m pretty confident that some of the saner voices in the party would point out to him that Fidesz’s strategy vis-à-vis Jobbik has failed. Adopting half of Jobbik’s party program hasn’t resulted in weakening Fidesz’s far-right opponent. In fact, in the last year or so, as a result of the growing unpopularity of the government party, Jobbik has gained ground. So, moving along the same path makes no sense whatsoever. And yet, it seems, Orbán has opted to do just that.

Viktor Orbán, who has been frequently pestered by reporters about Habony’s role in the decision to conduct a “national consultation” on immigration, on one occasion blurted out that he is the only one who is responsible for whatever happens in his government and that he takes full responsibility for everything he does. For example, for that vicious questionnaire that will further poison the minds of Hungarians. One cannot blame the evil adviser who whispers morally unacceptable thoughts into the great man’s ears. The idea of the questionnaire or his latest brainstorm to reintroduce the death penalty might originally have come from Habony, but it is Orbán who decided that his problems can be solved by moving farther toward the extreme right.

Of course, the rationale behind Orbán’s thinking is that by raising the specter of African blacks and Syrian terrorists his wayward supporters will return to the fold. And if you add the death penalty, which the weak-kneed European Union forbids, the love affair between the prime minister and Fidesz voters will be restored. At least this is what he believes. I think he is too optimistic. Something has been broken, and the shattered pieces cannot be glued together. Especially since the prime minister of a member state of the European Union cannot make unilateral decisions here. He cannot develop anti-immigration strategies tailored for Hungary, and he cannot introduce the death penalty unless he wants to take his country out of the European Union.

The most servile flunkies, like the newly reappointed leader of the Fidesz parliamentary delegation Antal Rogán, already rushed to Orbán’s rescue by claiming that capital punishment can be the subject of negotiations between a member state and Brussels. He also falsely asserted that the current law is illegitimate because the Hungarian people had no opportunity to vote on the death penalty. He claimed that it was the Constitutional Court that decided the issue. As usual, only a small part of the statement is true. Yes, in 1990 the Constitutional Court instructed the government to delete the article on capital punishment from the Criminal Code because it was deemed unconstitutional. But then, in 1993, parliament did vote on the issue. Orbán wasn’t present, but the nine Fidesz members of parliament all voted against capital punishment. In 2004 there was another occasion when the Hungarian parliament voted on a law that reaffirmed the abolishment of capital punishment. Antal Rogán himself was present and voted for it.

Even as the prime minister incites the population to hatred and vengeance, he continues his trips to the larger cities of the country, promising them pie in the sky. Pécs was the most recent stop on his “Modern Cities Program” tour, another attempt to bolster the popularity of the government. Népszava‘s article bore the title: “Pécs, the land of milk and honey,” which of course was meant ironically. The city is in terrible economic shape, and soon enough the government is planning to locate an “atomic cemetery” for spent nuclear material “in its backyard.” Near one of the most beautiful cities in the country and a former cultural center of Europe. According to the latest estimates, Pécs is unlikely to vote for Fidesz at the next election. No promises of another sports center and a couple of new roads will make an impression there. Even in 2014 it was touch and go.

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exTor
Guest

https://translate.google.com/#hu/ja/lélek
https://translate.google.com/#ja/en/魂

This is definitely offtopic. Perhaps the group will overlook this one indulgence on my 65th birthday [April 29th, 15:15 Budapest time].

One person has asked about the red character beside ‘exTor’. Perhaps others are also curious.

It is Japanese and it means ‘spirit’, ‘soul’, ‘anima’, ‘being’, etcetera. A Hungarian translation could be ‘lélek’, amongs others.

The reason I like the character is its name, which (using Hungarian orthography) is pronounced ‘TAMASI’, stress on the first syllable. Note the the two ays are identically sounded.

My name is TAMÁSI, which is one vowel pronunciation removed from the Japanese word.

As a writer (using a literary alias unknown to this group) I now reside in Budapest. To me, it is somehow fitting that LÉLEK signifies me here. Thanx.

MAGYARKOZÓ

tappanch
Guest

Another story of nepotism:

Orban, his friend Garancsi and the mandated cash registers with real-time access by the Hungarian IRS headed by Orban’s old friend Ms Vida, who is denied entry to the US for corruption.

http://nol.hu/gazdasag/garancsival-konnyebb-1530955

Latefor
Guest

Dearest Eva,
As you all know by now, I’m responding (commenting) in my capacity as an every day, ordinary person. For the life of me, I (and many people out there) will never ever understand the reasons for arguing against capital punishment. In my simple view, punishment should fit the crime and it is (should be) every governments duty to protect the innocent victims, not the criminals. I’m too frightened to say more about this as I don’t want to have my head chopped off and making poor taxpayers paying for the comfort of my killer for long years to come! I hope common sense will prevail regarding this pressing issue!

An
Guest

Latefor, one innocent person executed by mistake is one too many. And so many get innocently sentenced by mistake… this is one (but not the only) strong reason against the death penalty.

Latefor
Guest

An, that is why we have a reliable Legal System.

Webber
Guest
Which reliable Legal System are you referring to? The American one, where so many people condemned to death, and languishing on death row for decades, have been found to be innocent on a review of their cases? Then there were the innocent people actually executed. I can give you links if you don’t believe this happened – but just look for yourself and you’ll find plenty of cases. Or do you mean the Hungarian one in which the son of Irma Balla was falsely accused and sent to prison for his mother’s murder, or where two innocent people were sent to prison for life for the Mori murders? (had there been the death penalty, they probably would have been executed). The same Hungarian on where the prosecutor has clearly been charging people for political reasons? Or do you mean the British one, where, among others, the Bradford five were falsely imprisoned for decades? I am not saying the legal system in Britain or the US is not fairly reliable, I am saying it is not reliable enough for me to want a death penalty. You see, no matter whate legal system you have, people are involved. Investigators may botch evidence… Read more »
Latefor
Guest

Webber,
The difference between you and I is that I cannot bear one more innocent person MURDERED or to witness the pain in the eyes of their relatives, for the simple reason that their path crossed with these barbarians. Punishment should fit the crime. I have nothing more to say.

Webber
Guest

What a revolting comment!
How dare you imply that ANYONE can bear the pain of another innocent person murdered, or the pain of their relatives
The difference between you and me, if there is one, is that I have treated you with respect in this dispute and have not insinuated that you believe something foul just to score points.
Having said that, I will also say that I do not believe that a single murder has been prevented by the death penalty. If murder were be prevented by the death penalty, the United States would have a far lower murder rate than – for example – the United Kingdom. As you know perfectly well, the opposite is true (and before you accuse me of making another foolish argument I haven’t made – I am most certainly not saying that not having the death penalty prevents murder.)
If you can live with a few innocent people being judicially murdered every year, innocent people whose families must not only suffer the pain of the killing of their loved ones, but the social ostracism that comes to people whose family members are charged with murder – well, that’s your problem.
Even the idea makes me physically ill.

Latefor
Guest

Yeah..blah.. blah.. blah..”es az orszag uton a négy okor lassacskan ballagot” with all due respect!

Member

I believe the punishment that fits these crimes is life without parole. I’m (the taxpayer) willing to pay the price of their incarceration.

exTor
Guest

Wrong, Latefor, the difference between you and me, the difference between you and most who regularly contribute to this site, is that you support state-sanctioned executions for unsupportable (though perhaps understandable) reasons.

You are a reactionary on the death-penalty issue and most at Hungarian Spectrum understand that reactionaries are usually short on logic.

Your prodeath-penalty reasoning is twofold: punishment and prevention.

Executions do not deter murder. Statistics have long ago shown the truth of the nonviability of the death penalty as a deterent for murder. There is some thought, though, that the existence of the death penalty in certain jurisdictions has actually increased the number of murders.

Killing a person who had killed someone close? I can see that. How about putting you to death, Latefor, after having killed someone with your car after you had consumed a bunch of alcohol and were clearly intoxicated?

Personally, on a gutlevel, I’d be up for the death penalty for vehicular homicide. Not sure that the incidence of drinking & driving will go down.

Canada has moved a step or two forward on the road to greater civilization. The United States, on the other hand, has allowed the reintroduction of the death penalty, which some states have done.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Latefor
Guest

“PEOPLE KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON…..Baby, baby, baby you’re out of TOUCH…you’re out of time my baby… (Rolling Stones)

petofi
Guest

Such terrible, knee-jerk, liberal, nonsense.

There was a very good idea why capital punishment was in use for thousands of years–it’s deterrent value. ‘An’ is worried about ‘one innocent’ person. How about thinking of the hundreds, nay thousands, of innocent person who might be saved by the deterrent value of the punishment against future murderers?

The death penalty is not cruel punishment for those who have been judged: it’s a stern warning for those in the future who would visit murder on members of the society; and thereby attack the very fibre of good order of that society.

What many don’t know is that many prison inmates live a better life inside of prison than outside of it. That’s a problem. For my money, prisons for die-hard criminals should be located in areas of pestilence: big, black flies like the ones found in northern Ontario. I’d bet very few criminals would wish to go to prisons like that. But as things are, prisons are a haven. Murderers deserve worse.

An
Guest

petofi, latefor,

Unfortunately, it’s not one person.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/28/death-penalty-study-4-percent-defendants-innocent

the deterrence value of the death penalty is highly questionable, to say the least (and I’m not the first on this forum to point this out)

https://www.law.columbia.edu/law_school/communications/reports/summer06/capitalpunish

Oh well, I know, facts are not going to convince anybody.

exTor
Guest

http://www.origo.hu/itthon/20150428-kolleganoje-helyett-dolgozott-amikor-meghalt-a-kaposvari-eladolany.html

Just by chance I heard the 10 PM Kossuth Rádió newscast and an item dealt with the Kaposvár murder of the tobacconist employee. (A suspect has already been apprehended.) It was stated that many in the town were in favor of the death penalty.

I get it. I too would probably want to off the killer of my girlfriend (or of a neighbor) were she the one murdered.

It is telling that you use ‘kneejerk’ with liberals, petofi, a descriptor that I could just as easily employ with you.

What you are talking about is crime and its punishment, however you try to link deterrence to capital punishment. That putative connect is a nonstarter. Most sociologists reject the thought that society can limit certain types of crime, such as murder, by prescribing certain types of punishment. To believe otherwise is to exhibit jejeune thinking.

You may soon return to Canada, where the death penalty is nonexistent. Crime in general has gone down, yet Prime Minister Stephen Harper (who is somewhat akin to Viktor Orbán partywise and thinkingwise) has been trying to legislate ‘tougher’ punishments.

Again, this aint about deterrence, it’s about punishment. Your stance, petofi, puts you beside Viktor Orbán. Interesting.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Latefor
Guest

BRAVO, Petofi! BRAVO!

Webber
Guest

If Hungary becomes the first EU country to violate its treaty obligations and re-instate the death penalty, Hungary will become the first country to have its EU membership suspended.

Latefor
Guest

Or, Victor Orban might become a hero of the European people….one can never know! People are fed up with the usual arguments against the death penalty…they are scared.

Guest

I think you’re crazy!
Maybe you should leave this site alone …

Europe has come a long way, there have been enough killings!

Anyway as the example of the USA shows the death penalty is no deterrent – just look up the statistics. There are many more murders in the states with death penalty than in other countries.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

Latefor
Guest

Ok…why don’ t you just microwave my leftover little brain from a distance and change my beliefs?

Webber
Guest

You’ve lost it. Viktor (with a K!) Orbán is one of the least popular politicians in Europe – excluding Hungary – and his latest spew has done nothing to improve his image. He is so toxic that many European leaders rush to the door when he appears. If they must appear next to him for whatever reason, they do their best to make it clear to everyone in the room that they disagree with him (witness the performance of the Polish PM or Angela Merkel when they last met Orban)

Webber
Guest

Here is data from a British poll on attitudes toward the death penalty that includes Among Europeans polled, the British are most in favor – about 1/2 of Brits support the introduction of capital punishment. By contrast, only 28% of Spaniards are for the death penalty. As you’ll see, the percentages are much, much lower for other European countries polled.
https://www.ipsos-mori.com/Assets/Docs/Archive/Polls/attitudes-to-death-penalty.pdf
And according to the following, more and more Americans are coming to oppose the death penalty:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/17/world/europe/In-Europe-and-US-Divergent-Attitudes-Toward-Capital-Punishment.html

So, Orbán will certainly not make himself a hero among other Europeans.

Kingfisher
Guest

Orban (or whoever is advising him) is merely a cynical opportunist who most probably has no feelings whatsoever about the death penalty.

He’s just hooking himself up to a narrative about immigration and terrorism (which really have nothing to do with Hungary) in order to detract attention from everything else that Hungarian voters should be thinking about at home.

exTor
Guest

Listen, Webber and wolfi, it’s a loozing [sic] proposition getting into a shoving match with someone on this (or any other) website. The argumentation, such as it may be, soon gets personal and juvenile. I myself dont like seeing it. Doubt that anyone else does. It’s counterproductive.

MAGYARKOZÓ

petofi
Guest

Precisely.
So what do you think that the increasingly desperate Orban is aiming for?

Guest

There will be no capital punishment. Too many of the Fidesz crowd are worried about the idea for personal reasons.

Nádas
Guest

Just to throw in my two cents’ worth: capital punishment is an un-Christian concept. In a country like Hungary – or the United States, for that matter – in which many in government seem to consider themselves God’s anointed on Earth, executing someone as a form of justice is perhaps the ultimate sacrilege.

Having said that though, I would have no problem seeing the Bush Administration war criminals, of which there are dozens, hanged for the mayhem they have wrought in Iraq. Perhaps that would serve as a deterrent to those who want to do the same in Iran.

In Hungary during the Kádár years, executions were in fact carried out by hanging. I wonder what method Orbán proposes.

glurie
Guest

Unfair, I know, but the picture of Orban reminds me of Herbert Lom as Inspector Dreyfus in the Pink Panther films. Of course, it is unfair to Lom.

István
Guest

While I find Popper’s psychoanalysis of PM Orban in some aspects to be bizarre, I did like this line: ” You just need to stay in the saddle forever! Must grip the sword forever, and ever must look strong.” That does fit the Orban image he tries to project. Of course anyone in a power position attempts to project such a self confident image.

Most officers in the military are taught to project an image that inspires confidence of your troops even if you are scared shitless just like your solders. Your physical presence as a leader determines how others perceive you. The factors of physical presence for an officer are military bearing, physical fitness, confidence, and resilience. But there is a deeper quality of leadership that Orban lacks, to be a real leader you must be able to underwrite the honest mistakes of your subordinates if you wish to develop their initiative and experience. Orban blames others for his own mistakes and he abandons those who falter rather than develop them.

To lead women and men into war is a awesome responsibility and so is leading a nation. PM Orban is inherently weak and will ultimately fail.

Tóka Gábor
Guest
I also believe that Orbán is up to something unusual but I find misleading the common interpretation that he is fighting a popularity contest with Jobbik. Rather, he sees and reacts to a far bigger danger than Jobbik’s rise: the lingering doubts about his leadership in his own camp. It would be a big loss to him to loose the prime minister’s office to Vona in 2018, but not a catastrophe as long as he remains the undisputed leader of a significant party. The latter can even buy him immunity from prosecution – as well as some lavish financial backers paying back their dues and investing in the future – just as it did between 2002 and 2010. But to loose his position as party leader halfway in the life of this parliament would be the end of everything for him: if that happens, Fidesz can even stay in government – and all te more so – while he goes to jail. So my speculation is that he just adopted a strategy of elbowing some people out of Fidesz and government while bringing in a large enough part of Jobbik – activists, MPs and afterwards also the voters – so… Read more »
Tóka Gábor
Guest

Of course I am not suggesting either that Orban will succeed or that he cannot succeed.

Demog
Guest
Who would Orban fear within Fidesz? It is inconceivable than anybody else would be the chairman of Fidesz (of course Orban from time to time shuffled positions and had other chairmen too, but I mean the real leader). Nobody who is currently close to power in any way has any meaningful support within Fidesz (hátország to use this military term). Orban can sleep well because nobody will oust him from Fidesz — Fidesz is Orban’s personal property, that’s what people often fail to understand. Fidesz is a not a real, democratic party, but simply a vehicle for Orban to exercise power. He is the adored leader for 1.5 million people, from the moment somebody else would represent Fidesz voters would go away. He is the glue to this constituency. In Orban’s eyes take over the leadership from Orban would mean the stealing, appropriation of all the work, efforts Orban exerted at Fidesz (fund raising from illegal means etc.) during almost 30 years — that’s absolutely unrealistic at Fidesz. Nobody’s gonna steal Fidesz from Orban and nobody would even entertain such a thought. He would ‘cut the limbs’ of any such assailant. Orban realized recently that Jobbik is indeed dangerous to… Read more »
Tóka Gábor
Guest

What I argued is that Orban is in a preemptive attack against opponents from inside (all the time) and he has good reasons for that. His current hyperactivism seems better explained to me by this than his – surely existing – concerns about a distant election going Jobbik’s way. The challenge from Jobbik does play an indirect role, of course: without that few in Fidesz would doubt that Orban is getting things right.

Webber
Guest

I think you are imagining logic where there is none.

Tóka Gábor
Guest

Preparing the national consultation was many hours of work by someone authorized to make relevant political choices for Orban, so it was thought through by someone, as were the clearly premeditated promises of the surreal highway projects.The burp about capital punishment did not seem like an improvisation either – he was given the high ball by a question raised by a servile television journalist who could not conceivably ask a question w/o Orban’s office telling him what to ask. They are not stupid, just look mad because of their objectionable preferences.

Webber
Guest

We’ll have to disagree. It all seems like improvisation from where I’m sitting. There is no apparent internal cohesion or logic between Orbán’s actions and speech.
What I see are his minions twisting themselves into knots explaining why Orbán’s is the best of all possible worlds.
What it reminds me most of is explanations of why the Party was right, even though it may have made mistakes. That, also, took a certain sort of intelligence – by no means slight intelligence – on the part of those doing the explaining.
In this case, however, there is no apparent coherent underlying ideology, just a loose cannon who fires off his mouth from time to time, and the mess he creates is therefore far harder for his minions to put in order with coherent explanations.
I see that another of those minions, Ferenc Hörcher (Horkay) has given it all up now as a bad job. If he, one of Fidesz’s harder-working ideologues/apologists, cannot make coherent sense out of the mess any longer, I don’t know how anybody else can imagine it is there.

Tóka Gábor
Guest

Sure, you may be right, but I think it is worth to think through other possibilities. And maybe you misunderstand me. Of course I am not trying to normalize what he does by saying that there is a remotely “rational” script behind it, or suggest that this is not so bad etc. Quite the contrary, what I am saying is that it is time for the EPP to wake up. This is not their (slightly naughty) child fighting by whatever means he has left to save as much as he can from good old EPP values while besieged by the dreaded Jobbik. Rather, this is not their naughty child but someone aspiring to become the kept man of Putin instead of becoming a kept man of Hungarian law enforcement. And the next step on that road is not to win elections against Jobbik but to make sure that he is the undisputed leader of Fidesz. If he thinks that this can only be achieved on the medium run by pushing some people out of the party and bringing some others (the new faces, the clean ones, etc) in, then we have seen before that he is happy to do that.

House of Pain
Guest

More like Hörcher (I remember him from his teaching days then he was simply Hörcher) can’t defend Fidesz any more openly. Fidesz became too uncool. He has the problem of working with highly educated people heading a research institute at the Academy of Sciences I think and I guess Fidesz and its policies (whether as regards universities, research or really any other policy areas) are now totally indefensible. So I interpret this as a sign that conservative scientists (Hörcher’s environment) are leaving Fidesz too.

petofi
Guest

The usual supposition is for Lazar or Rogan…but I wouldn’t be surprised if the calmer,
conservative wing of the party decided to elevate Tarlos…

Guest

Today our local German newspaper had a relatively long article and a very scathing comment on Orbán’s ideas for the reintroduction of the death penalty – kick him out of the EU could be a short summary!

I really hope something will happen to finish this crazy episode of Hungary’s history in a kind of positive way – it’s difficult to imagine how this will end anyway.

We just arrived in Germany and yesterday we went to our favourite bar again (it’s an old place in a small German university town). As usual we brought some things from Hungary to sell to our friends – paprika, píros arany, pumpkin seed oil and eggs from our neighbour’s small farm (they are really good!) and an old friend of mine (doc at one of the university hospitals) said:

If you had brought Orbán’s eggs I’d be willing to pay a really good price!

PS:
Do Orbán and his minions really believe that being the EU’s pariah is good for Hungary?

Demog
Guest

“on one occasion blurted out that he is the only one who is responsible for whatever happens in his government and that he takes full responsibility for everything he does”

Orban’s “taking responsibility” just means that the debate is over. Obviously he will not resign or draw any conclusions from his failures other than perhaps to admit it verbally among his top colleagues (which would be a very rare occasion anyway).

The last time was Orban was opposed within Fidesz was in 1994 (more than 20 years ago) by Tamas Tirts — within a year all who voted for Tirts were out of Fidesz.

Fidesz is Orban’s personal property. The entire concept of being responsible has no meaning vis-a-vis one’s property.

petofi
Guest

Orban is grasping at straws to get Hungary kicked out of the EU. He knows that Hungarians wouldn’t go along with an unforced exit from the EU. So Orban must use tricks to effect the kick-me-out-strategy.

Ron
Guest
This is the reaction of Frans Timmermans (Vice-Chairman of the European Commission) on Facebook: The Hungarian PM Orban launched a debate on the reintroduction of the death penalty and his government formulated questions for a public consultation on migration. I would like to share my comments with you. The abolishment of the death penalty was a milestone in the development of fundamental rights in Europe and has given our continent the moral authority to campaign worldwide against capital punishment. Article 2 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights prohibits any person from being condemned to death, or executed. The European Court of Human Rights has ruled since 1989 that the exposure to the pervasive and growing fear of execution – the so called “death row phenomenon” – was in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court also held in 2005 that capital punishment in peacetime had come to be regarded as an unacceptable form of punishment which was no longer permissible under Article 2 of the Convention. In 2010, the Court considered that the death penalty involved a deliberate and premeditated destruction of a human being by the state authorities. There is thus no doubt that the reintroduction… Read more »
buddy
Guest
Poor government spokesman Zoltán Kovács, being forced to write things that make no sense in order to defend the Prime Minister. Here he is railing against the Guardian’s piece on Orbán’s discussion of the death penalty: “In the wake of violent crimes like this, especially those that claim the lives of innocent victims, people often ask whether the laws do enough to deter and whether the punishment fits the crime. That’s what the prime minister was doing when, responding to a reporter’s question, he said that, in the face of a murder like this it seems that the current laws are not a sufficient deterrent and that, ‘in my view, the question of the death penalty should be kept on the agenda.’ The question of keeping it on the agenda here is not an expression of political intention but clearly an expression of a certain voter sentiment following an awful crime.” Actually, no, Orbán clearly was expressing his personal viewpoint with the above quote: “in my view, the question of the death penalty should be kept on the agenda.” And when that person is the prime minister of a country and says such a thing at a press conference, there… Read more »
Webber
Guest

I strongly doubt Orbán is or can be threatened by anyone inside his party. He may, however, be crazy enough to believe he is.

Rikard
Guest
You know I went back and checked Mr. Orban back in the old days when he looked to be a young ‘on the make’ politician. He was all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed using his speaking skills getting Hungary revved up for no doubt new and exciting days the Fidesz way. But it looks to me nowadays the old boy has run out of steam and ideas. The idealism that he had spinned out to the Magyar population looks more and more like it is worn out like a broken gyroscope losing all sense of control and balance. Arguably if the Jobbik and Fidesz quest for ‘popularity’ move more to high gear the state of the nation and its institutions may figure less in Mr. Orban’s eyes than the fact of simply keeping Fidesz in the power game. To him that would probably be the selfish choice than generating ideas which which would deter the increasingly troubling questions on which way this ostensibly ‘modern’ Central European state is taking a bleak ride to. Question: is ‘democracy’ or ‘democratic’ in the Magyar dictionary? With two trains going really in the same bad direction, I’d say a train-wreck will be coming. So to paraphrase… Read more »
petofi
Guest

Most everyone thinks that Orban has misguided policies, which are going awry. In fact,
the maelstrom of problems is perfectly ‘in plan’ for the heroic leader. I can’t for the life of me understand why people haven’t cottoned on to the fact that Orban hates Hungarians and is out to punish the citizenry and the country…

Member

@Petofi, you are losing all credibility with this perpetual hyperbole, as well as with the constant hammering on Hungarians of all stripes as if they were a unity. You would do the cause that you (and I) stand for a lot more good if you said less and reflected more, and made a sincere effort to keep things in proportion. Otherwise, you are becoming a poster-boy for the (“illiberal”) opposition.

If you come back with “proof” that Orban is doing it all because he hates Hungarians, then you are incorrigible, and that’s really regrettable…

petofi
Guest

–“…as if they were a unity..”–They are a unity of shame, imbecility and amorality. In 73 years, where is the Hungarian who has had the dignity to apologize to Hungarian jews for the extra 350,000 shipped to the gas chambers? I’m still waiting for Godot…

–“You would do the cause…”–I have no cause, only anger at my romantic nonsense of ‘returning home’.

–“…to keep things in proportion…”–wherefore and why? I am dealing with a unity that has no sense or proportion.

–“…becoming a poster-boy…”–I’m too fat.

–“If you come back with ‘proof’…”–proof smoof; logic is the last resort of the simple-minded.

–“…then you are becoming incorrible…”–I had to look it up. There were four meanings of which I only object to the one that means I’m beyond reform. Not true.
I’ll be fine as soon as Dr. Spock beams me up and I can free myself from the tribal
realities of Hungary.

(Thanks for your concern though, Prof.)

spectator
Guest
A few thoughts regarding the death penalty. (No, I don’t like euphemisms, so it isn’t ‘capital punishment’ to me.) Mostly questions, what everybody should be able to answer to, who advocating death penalty. Consequently – I can’t. Killing is wrong, whoever doing it of whatever reason. Just as wrong as always, as wrong as it was thousands of years ago. Since Cain – if you do buy into the scriptures. Killing the killer isn’t justice – it’s revenge, whatever else you prefer to call it. In reality its hardly ever bring the resolution in the life of the victims – it never makes the deed undone, never bring the loved ones back, its only generate one more unfortunate event, one more killing. Making the ‘wrong’ thing against the wrongdoer will never make it ‘right’. After all the act is the same. And anyway, who kills the killers? Another one, who doing it as a ‘work’? And ‘after work’ goes home to the family, or to a pub with friends? Or a sociopath with ‘licence to kill’? As much as I know in the Christian World still only God has the right to give and take life. To resolve the contradiction… Read more »
Latefor
Guest

Dearest Spectator,
I always admired your clear mind on every issue so far. BUT, this time I don’t agree with you. “The cost of the whole juridical procedure with all the appeals on al levels” could be limited if the Legal System would be working as it was intended: to serve JUSTICE. We all know that. As far as looking into lets say to the sadistic killer’s eyes, it would not move me. As far as I’m concerned, it is really up to God to forgive him. I would do my best to push his image out of mind (Us, Christians might call this: “forgiveness” – I call it: detachment.
Also, I’d say that the great Liberal thinkers are completely out of touch with people’s basic needs: to feel safe on the streets and in their homes. And people are frustrated, angry and sick of hearing about great arguments for- and against capital punishment. People want solutions!

Webber
Guest

Latefor:
If I were you, I wouldn’t be so confident that I represent what “people” want.
Poll data shows that the majority of “people” in many European countries are opposed to the death penalty.
And yes, horrific crimes are committed in those countries, too. There is not a murder-free country in the world, and never will be.
Let’s just leave speaking for the people (as if they couldn’t speak, as if they all thought alike) to demagogues.

spectator
Guest
Thank you for the comment! Of course, I respect your opinion – I am liberal minded, remember! – particularly since my only intention was that inspire you and practically everyone bothers to read my comment to think over the aspects what I outlined above, then make up your mind. However, the result must be your decision. As a matter of fact I tend to see things from a different point of view as normally the case, even if I’m not cross eyed, (the problem much deeper, mind you), and couldn’t let it go without telling. (Not the “cross-eyed mind” my only problem, obviously!) Otherwise I didn’t mentioned the eyes of the perpetrator, but the others around the person – they are humans too! Unfortunately we couldn’t agree on the “Justice” part – killing someone isn’t just, the reasons I detailed above. You must have a total and unwavering trust in the law and the juridical system in order to be able to rely on their decisions – I’m sceptical. Just as sceptical about “what the people really want” – according to my opinion they haven’t the slightest clue as long as someone comes along and tell them, “this is your… Read more »
Latefor
Guest

Dear Webber,
That depends on the political party they belong to. If you question Liberals, they will be dead set against capital punishment (they enjoy to twist a knife in the tummy of the average person just to see how far they can push people), if you ask a socialist, they would be undecided and if you ask a conservative , they would have more common sense and look at the bigger picture.
Cheers.

GHT78
Guest

I prefer Petofi’s character v, Harnad’s.

Petofi is watching the events from the trenches.

Harnad from an air conditioned ivory tower.

Petofi is a man of actions,

Harnad too removed from reality.

The Petofis can stop the enemies of humanities.

The Harnads can fill pages of nice books.

petofi
Guest

GHT78, huh?…Are you related to R2D2?

No matter, my ego could use some air…from any source, even a UFO one.

Matter of fact, I’ve become a committed believer in extra-terrestials because ‘humans’, as exemplified by Hungaricoes, are a sad, demented, throwback to types of many thousands of years ago.

Wherefor Darwin? Didn’t he promise us an advancement of the species? I’d like to puncture his balloon by presenting him Humanus Hungaricus and watch him struggle to fit that lovely group into his theories.

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