Viktor Orbán remembers: Fidesz and the Catholic Church over the years

Viktor Orbán’s speech on Friday has been widely commented on in the domestic and foreign press because of his fleeting but important remarks on the possible connection between a planned “transportation” of Muslims to Europe and the ideas of liberal thinkers about the future of Europe.

But that part of the speech was only a very small portion of the whole. The bulk of his 40-minute speech consisted of his reminiscences of those days when he began thinking in terms of approaching some of the Catholic bishops for political support. All three of the organizations present at the gathering–the Association of Christian Intelligentsia, the Association of Hungarian Civic Cooperation, and the Batthyány Circle of Professors–are formally or informally connected in one way or the other with churches, mostly the Catholic Church, although the Association of Hungarian Civic Cooperation is currently headed by Zoltán Balogh, who is a Hungarian Reformed minister.

It is not easy to paste together Fidesz’s move from the liberal camp to “Christian Democratic values.” But if we can trust Orbán’s memory, he was already trying to form some kind of an alliance with the Christian Democrats and MDF, the governing party between 1990 and 1994, as well as with the Catholic Church. After “the communists returned,” as Orbán labelled the electoral victory of the socialists in 1994, he began thinking about forging a relationship with right-wing parties. According to journalistic accounts, “the Christian line” within Fidesz became more visible after the 1994 election when Fidesz, alongside the Christian Democrats and MDF, were in opposition again. Preliminary steps toward an “alliance” of right-wing parties began already during the summer of 1994. By October serious negotiations among the parties were in progress under the watchful eye of Archbishop István Seregély of Eger. Orbán tried to hammer together a united front of all right-wing parties to run on the same ticket at the upcoming municipal elections. As it turned out, nothing came of this cooperation, mostly because MDF couldn’t quite believe Fidesz’s change of heart. But Archbishop Seregély, according to Orbán’s recollection, made clear to the politicians that “there is a kind of expectation [of the church] that parties that accept civic, national and Christian values should cooperate in the interest of the fatherland.”

Two years later, in 1996, Orbán called on another bishop, Endre Gyulay, bishop of Szeged-Csanád, who was described by a contemporary article as a man who could always come up with some ridiculous turn of phrase that delighted the less than reverent journalists present. Thanks to his efforts, a year later the Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote a circular on behalf of Fidesz which was read in every church of the country. That was a first in the history of the Hungarian Catholic Church. In brief, the Church, this time openly, stood behind a political party, most likely in order to prevent the reelection of the socialists.

Bishop Endre Gyulay and Viktor Orbán arrive at the meeting on "The Signs of Times"/ MTI, Photo Zoltán Máthé

Bishop Endre Gyulay and Viktor Orbán arrive at the meeting on “Signs of the Times”/ MTI, Photo Zoltán Máthé

As it was, Fidesz needed all the help it could get in 1998 because its popularity was not as great as Orbán thought. The party received only 34.7% of the votes and was forced to form a coalition with the Smallholders’ Party. Mind you, by the end of the term Orbán made sure that his coalition partner disappeared from the face of the political earth, never to return again.

In 2002 the Batthyányi Circle of Professors came up with an “action plan” because, according to Orbán, the professors thought that “it is not enough to gather the troops under the flag.” Perhaps some kind of a program was in order. They put together a document called “The Saint Stephen Plan.” Orbán sadly admitted that, although he believes that the 150-page booklet was “a very important document, it received less attention than it deserved.” If my memory serves me right, the document was received with hilarity because of its meaningless clichés. But in retrospect, Orbán thinks that the Hungarian people weren’t concerned in 2010 that Fidesz had no campaign platform because the professors’ St. Stephen Plan showed the way. People knew what they could expect. Of course, this is the figment of Orbán’s imagination. The booklet appeared in 2005 and was forgotten within a few months.

In Orbán’s opinion this new action plan, called “Signs of the Times” (Idők jelei), will serve as a compass for the next ten years, naturally under right-wing governments. Unfortunately, the document is not online. When I was looking for it, I did find a publication called Idők jelei, pillantás a jövőbe (Signs of the times, glimpse into the future) but that is a strange religious publication. Fidesz’s action plan may not be prophetic, but its title is biblical. It comes from Matthew 16:3, where Jesus, in response to the Pharisees and Saducees who wanted to test him by having him show them a sign from heaven, said: “You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.”

This Orbán speech allowed us to hear about the very close political alliance between the Catholic Church and Fidesz from the man himself. The Church’s support has been paid back many times over by the Orbán governments. The Church receives a generous sum of money from the government, which grows every year.

I personally find this relationship between church and state disturbingly close and thus troubling. I think it is an unholy alliance that doesn’t serve the interests of the country and its citizens. Moreover, given the reactionary nature of the Hungary Catholic Church, I find its influence over all facets of life, including the education of the young, unacceptable.

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exTor
Guest

I guess that the Roman Catholic Church has no problem supporting a Calvinist PM, especially if it’s getting cash in return.

Is Viktor Orbán truly a Godist, or is he just playing the political game? I read that he was an atheist in the very early 1990s.

Perhaps he experienced a religious conversion in the mode of Anthony Flew, the famous British atheist, now gone to meet his maker. Anthony Flew famously renounced atheism and became a deist, but not a theist.

Of course, Flew did this very late in life, dementia creeping up on him, the infirmities of a man in his late 70s havocking his brain, his body. Flew’s mind had flown the cuckoo’s nest by the end.

Orbán is smarter and more cynical, I presume.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Observer
Guest

Honestly, I don’t care about Orban’s reminiscences, he is brazen liar with unsurpassed record: one can hardly find a statement of his without some half truth, slippage or a straight lie.
Re the Hungarian Cat Church, it is befittingly corrupt, colaborant and, worst of all, unchristian. E.g. check out their role during the Holocaust, now during the refugee crisis or generally on charity/care for the poor. A bishop recently said the Pope “doesn’t know what he is talking about”.
But as a reward from the Leader, they receive unprecedented financind and ever grwing share and role in education – from 115 to 190 thousand students in church run schools.
As Organ said: back to the 1930s, or perhaps to the1430s ?! Bright future. Hajra!

Guest

London Calling!

You show the right level of contempt, Observer.

The Bishops’ leader’s rejection of Pope Francis’ concerns over the refugees was astonishing. Their silence perfidious.

The Pope has cancelled his visit to Hungary in 2016.

Pope Francis has a problem with Hungary where his Bishops and the church have ‘gone native’.

But I believe he will sort them out eventually.

I am astonished at their compromised position at being so close to the state; the opulence of their real estate; the wealth and attire (the fur coats!) of their congregations; the four-wheeled-drive vehicles parked outside on a Sunday; and the complete passive actions in relation to the poor and dispossessed.

A completely corrupt church on Pope Francis’ watch.

A formidable problem for him.

Regards

Charlie

exTor
Guest
Hey London Calling! Great disc. The Clash is a fave group. Question: Can I sign on with Manchester Calling? After all, that’s where I was born. Actually Fairfield/Bury, now part of the GMA. Or would that be too namedropish? Re four-wheel-drives in church parkinglots, are you referring to the clergy or to the parishoners? Or to both? As an antitheist –less volubly nowadays– I used to say “Thank God for religion!”, which meant that we got Christmas and Easter holidays. No contradict there. I’m always surprised when I see BMWs on the streets of Csepel, for that is contrary to my image of Hungary as a poor country. I guess that their owners might say “Thank God for capitalism!”, the suggestion being that they made their money the ‘honest’ way. Then again, some owners of big-ticket cars might say “Thank God for Fidesz!”, the Magyarország-only implication being that those owners also made their money the ‘honest’ way: under-the-table. Perhaps the beneficiaries of Fidesz largesse go to church (in addition to showing off their hotwheels) to thank the Good Lord for party munificence. As for me, I am (weirdly?) partial to Trabis, although my late uncle had a Wartburg: 600 cc… Read more »
Guest

OT

Re: ‘partial to trabis’

I lament that I didn’t get the chance to ever motor around that one. But I zipped and zapped with the Russki ‘Volkswagen’, the Lada. I called it utilitarian’. Got where I wanted it to go in the Magyar countryside. Only thing was at the seasonal time I drove it I learned that if I had to be somewhere at 9am I had to be up at 5 to get the engine warmed up.
Wonder if it even ran in the Siberian refrig!

Guest

Re: I am astonished at their compromised position at being so close to the state…….’

You know I’d suggest it’s astonishing but at the same time quite ‘normal. Par for the course when it comes to the political right and the Church where apparently a comfortable ‘dogma’ rules in their manifestation of combined power. Both appear to be mutually beneficial partners. And both wash their hands in the same lavabo as they combine to say proverbial Mass over affairs of state.

By themselves both institutions look as if standing on crutches. But marry them together and the crutches act as battering clubs in dealing with the ‘idok jelei’. To paraphrase Mr. Orwell when looking at the current Magyar experience, the apparent decay of ‘Christianity’ and the decay of a ‘democratic’ state does not bode well when peering at a conception of a future Magyar state and also of a global one.

Member

I avery much agree with Observer. After reading the original speech, Orban just confirmed as most of us suspected all along. He did not find God, what he find was allies wit the churches that were loosing the grip of power. Orban in order to totally become irrelevant and obscure “sold his soul”. Since he was an atheist to begin with, he had nothing to loose but a lot to gain. As far as Hungarian churches go they signed worst pacts in the past than a pact with a little man who not long ago made fun of them on the floor of the parliament.

June 10, 1991 Dr. Orbán Viktor: Remélem, a kereszténydemokraták tapsolnak. Jézus Krisztus nevében tapsot kérek!

Ilkei Csaba: „Független országgyűlési képviselőként 1991 és 1994 között három éven át viszonylag közel ültem a parlamentben Orbán Viktorhoz. Hallottam, mikor, hogyan váltogatta a tényszerű stílust a handabandázással. Amikor szemben a Kereszténydemokrata Néppárt valamelyik képviselője kezdett beszélni, Viktor refrénszerűen megszólalt: »Térdre, imához!«, s néha ki is ment. Néhány ifjú demokrata ilyenkor kötelezően vigyorgott… Legutóbb Fodor Gábor erősítette meg, hogy pártvezetőtársai egykoron vadul szidták a csuhásokat, ez volt sokaknak akkor a papok megjelölése.”

http://nol.hu/archivum/20110430-csuhasok_terdre_imahoz-1054891

Latefor
Guest

He must have returned to God during the Financial Crises wich was laced with the Red Mud Disaster. I remember he was beside himself – visiting the Vatican at that time – maybe for spiritual guidence. But you, atheists, wouldn’t really understand what I’m talking about.

webber
Guest

Since when does a Protestant turn to the Pope for spiritual guidance?

In traditional Protestant families such as my own, the Pope is often depicted as a sort of anti-Christ.

Of course, Orban started as a communist (atheist) in university, which is not surprising given his communist upbringing from his Party card-holding father, so he did not have the benefit of a traditional Protestant upbringing.

I wonder what his faith really is?
Given his government’s treatment of the poor and of refugees, I very much doubt it has anything to do with Christianity. If the man read the Bible, he seems to have left out the New Testament (the Christian part)

My guess is Orban’s faith is nihilism – using a cover of protestantism to win votes.

Observer
Guest

Nihilism implies some ideology, but the Orban character has only a simple “Me above all”.
He is not only a brazen liar, but shameless opportunist, anyone knows a politician who’s shifted through practically all political postures: from bearded young liberal to three piece suite conservative, through rural Elvis Prestly attired plebeus, to the current leader (too young for the “father”) of the nation.
So many confusions and contradictions, that his own advise was “don’t listen to way I say …”.

webber
Guest

Nihilism merely implies a belief that life has no other meaning than life itself. It can also mean that there is no morality, there is only struggle on this earth for “success”, followed by nothing.

I think that, poetically, summarizes Orbanism and what it will mean for Hungary.

The Hungarian right’s embrace of the most grotesque form of postmodernism – “everything is relative” – is a sign of widespread nihilism among right-wing “thinkers” Hungary. All things and people are just tools for the right. Gabor G. Fodor simply expresses this in an unnecessarily complicated manner. It is very simple.

There is not a Christian among them.

It took a very long time for some to recognize this – it took years for Ferenc Hörcher, for instance, to get it. Some people WANT to believe in Fidesz, it seems.

Guest

@webber
November 3, 2015 at 5:05 am

I think it would be worth your while to check out the meaning of nihilism, even if only in Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nihilism

You err in defining nihilism as merely implying that life has no other meaning than life itself.

Nihilism is “a philosophical doctrine that suggests the lack of belief in one or more reputedly meaningful aspects of life”

In particular, nihilism is “most commonly presented in the form of existential nihilism, which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value.”

As against this, holding that life has no other meaning and purpose than life itself, invests life with profound value, with the meaning and purpose that we ourselves choose to put into it.

After all, if there is no afterlife, and this one life is the only life we have, it is this one life that we must make as invested with beauty and love, richly worthwhile, moral, ethical and enjoyable for both ourselves and everyone else, as we just possibly can.

webber
Guest

Mike Balint, I think I know what I’m talking about.

I suggest you look up Moral Nihilism.

Wikipedia has an entry on that, too.

Guest

Forget Nihilism or moral nihilism.

Have a look at this if you have time.

https://youtu.be/HhGuXCuDb1UU

Puts religion in its place – too real for the Orban’s and religious bigots of this world.

Me? I’m a Richard Dawkinsist.

(I’ve put this up before, apologies if you’ve already seen it)

Guest

Seems not to work! Here’s another try:

https://youtu.be/HhGuXCuDb1U

exTor
Guest

With respect to the concept of nihilism, each poster [webber, Observer and Mike Balint] has a hold on some aspect of the truth.

Per Observer, it is true that nihilism “implies some ideology”, as any search attests to the various brands [eg: existential, political, metaphysical, etcetera] of nihilism, however nihilism has entered colloquial language (as webber explained) to suggest negativity, pessimism, disbelief, etcetera.

Mike: webber is not wrong in his use of nihilism.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Member
What does someone being intolerant (like Orban was to religious people and now he is with non-religious people) has to do with atheism. I feel sorry for you, as you sorting out people according their religion or non-religion, but now it make me understand why you are you such a huge fan of Orban regardless of his morals.I would like to educate you (as you begged for it before “bogatyas”) that he did no return to God, as he was not with God to begin with. Also, the date of the Red Mud Disaster is 2010, way after he “found God”. You can argue with me, but you cannot argue with the facts. He “found God” (or likely followed the money) 1996. Prior to 1988 Orban head of the local Young Communist Chapter, Kover is working for the Communist government 1988 Fidesz 1989 Orban takes a Soros scholarship, “famous” speech of Orban (after there is nothing to loose) 1994 Fidesz looses election, Orban who often insulted religious people found God 1994 Hungary formal applies for EU membership April 12, 2003, referendum in Hungary about the possibility of EU membership. 83.76 per cent of those participated said yes. May 1, 2001,… Read more »
Latefor
Guest

Some1 – What an arrogance! Have you ever tried talking TO your opponents instead of talking AT them? How about getting off your high horsie for once?
With your kind of attitude, somehow I just cannot see how you will change the Hungarian political scene. It looks like Orban is safe. 🙂

Member

Can you specify the arrogance. You conveniently never answer pointed questions. Facts are bot arrogance. It is interesting to to see that fiction is what you prefer and cannot do anything with factual information. Instead of trying be so funny, how about for once you try to deal wit the facts. People like you make Orban safe. You are covering his wrongdoing by ignorance and attacking people who point that out for you. Stay with your novels, and write a lovely book on Orban as he saves Hungarian people from the wrongdoings of liberals. That is what you know. 🙂 😉

Alex Kuli
Guest

“Orbán tried to hammer together a united front of all right-wing parties to run on the same ticket at the upcoming municipal elections. As it turned out, nothing came of this cooperation, mostly because MDF couldn’t quite believe Fidesz’s change of heart.”

Actually, the union of the MDF, the Christian Democrat and Fidesz made significant gains in the 1994 municipal elections. Their joint candidate for Budapest mayor, Janos Latorcai, placed second ahead of Socialist candidate Etele Barath against all expectations. The opposition union won Budapest District V, District I and other important mayoral seats. And while it is almost impossible to imagine from the perspective of 2015, the three “right-wing” parties actually cooperated with the SZDSZ to win mayoralties in Pecs and Budapest District IX.

Istvan
Guest

But by 1996 the key thing Orban did was to seize upon the split in MDF that led to the Hungarian Democratic People’s Party and the split in the KDNP that led to the creation of the Hungarian Christian Democratic Alliance. The Church began to see Fidesz as a point of political stability in a country racked by the trauma of transformation.

webber
Guest

I think the Church was just (understandably) disgusted by the Hungarian left and former communists, from whom it had not experienced a lot of good over the previous decades.

Duck Duck
Guest
The Hungarian Catholic Church has always been disgusted by leftists, communists and the like. That was the base-line. There is no way the Catholics would ever forgive the nationalization of the land holdings, schools, the taking away of their influence, modernization, secularization, the jewish elements within the communist regime, their very thorough recruitment into III/III and so on. Anybody who had ever been to a mass or talked to a priest or had gone to hittan could’ve told that. There was absolutely no way any of the historic Christian churches would ever support the left-wing or liberals or even refrain from preaching against them, no matter how much wealth or influence the leftists would’ve thrown at the traditional Christian churches. The Catholic Church, like all organizations, wants to prolong its existence and survive for long (hence its compromises with the communist system). The historic Christian churches (like most people) naturally ally themselves with the powerful, especially when they are totally dependent on the central budget for their own budgets. From 1996 on it became increasingly clear that power on the right-wing will be with Orban. “political stability in a country racked by the trauma of transformation.” This certainly didn’t play… Read more »
webber
Guest

The full text of the St. Stephen Plan (Szent István-terv) can be found here:
http://www.bla.hu/professzorok/dl/szit-jun-18.pdf

I don’t recommend reading it, unless you want a giggle. It’s incoherent nonsense.

Millió
Guest
At 444.hu yesterday there was a short article about Árpád Habony, how he was already very influential back in 2002. Habony – according to 444.hu – then said something like “the churches, the schools and the sport fields are the primary places for forming communities”. (Remember the hundreds of billion of ‘investment’ in sports.) The courting, financing etc. of traditional churches (though including other disciplined congregations such as Hit Gyülekezete) is because they provide a nation-wide network of usable activists/supporters. Politics is based on communities. Orban and his people saw this very clearly. Liberals didn’t understand that rural networks are paramount in politics and they never understood that religion is not religion per se. “The Catholic Church” represents a metaphor of something pure, authentic, orderly, valuable (just like in Islamic countries Islam is a source of political inspiration due to these attached, positive associations). A nice relic of the times when things were still in order. When modernity in the form of communism or liberalism or capitalism – all represented by the jews in the conservative discourse – didn’t yet contaminate the soul of the nation. Politics is all about metaphors, meta-narratives and other meta-politics. It’s decidedly not about deliberating… Read more »
webber
Guest

Horn was an alcoholic, according to a leaked CIA report and to someone I know who once negotiated with him.

exTor
Guest

That ‘fact’ is without relevance to anything, webber.
So what if Gyula Horn was an alcoholic. What’s next?
Are you going to say that he also picked his nose?

MAGYARKOZÓ

webber
Guest

extor – I think that mental and/or physical illness, drug addiction, or alcoholism can be very relevant when judging how a leader performed at any given point in his or her career.

I think alcoholism might help explain some of Horn’s lapses – the unexpected, hitherto unexpressed, and utterly bizarre xenophobia of his last year in office, for instance; his announcement that Malev would give free flights to pensioners is another interesting moment that alcoholism might help explain.

The BIZARRE deal with the Church – which took everyone by surprise – may also be the result of wanting a drink and smoke so badly that he was willing to sign just anything (he made several agreements under that itch – inside information on them, sadly not on the Church one)

He was an intelligent man when sober. .When he needed a drink, he became irrational. When drunk, he became, well… drunk. He was drunk in office.

Again, what’s up with you?

Millió
Guest

I agree with Webber. I do remember that Horn liked to drink, but didn’t realize that he was an alcoholic.

In my view Horn was one of those reform-communists who became disillusioned with “the existing Socialism”. He had no firm political vision beyond that. He couldn’t come to terms with capitalism. He was a prime specimen of the late Kadar era technocratic bureaucrat. In the 1990’s Horn was apologizing for having been once a pufajkás, essentially apologizing for having lost “the war” (the ideological war), having been defeated. This was not a good strategic position to do politics from.

Anyway, Horn’s possible alcoholism is significant and it might well have affected his judgment and strategic vision, though I don’t think Horn really had any vision as a leader.

exTor
Guest

Baffled. What’s up with the query?

“the unexpected, hitherto unexpressed”
Dont you mean “the unexpected, hitherto unexplained”
or “the unexpected, thitherto unexpressed”, webber?

Some kind of partial explanation would have mediated your egregious (in my opinion) comment.

Alcoholism is an illness and, as with many other illnesses, being an alcoholic does not preclude one from doing most jobs. Often people dont even know that a fellow employee (or whoever) is an alcoholic.

Many function quite well as alcoholics. Same is true for junkies.

Weird comments dont necessarily mean anything. Driving the ‘ship of state’, so to speak is not like driving a car. One is allowed to career (not careen) around corners. Just look at Viktor Orbán.

MAGYARKOZÓ

webber
Guest

exTor
Are you forgetting your English?

‘hitherto
hɪðəˈtuː,ˈhɪðətuː/
adverb
Definition:
until now or until the point in time under discussion.
Example:
“Hitherto part of French West Africa, Benin achieved independence in 1960″”

Again, on Horn “the unexpected, hitherto unexpressed, and utterly bizarre xenophobia of his last year in office”

Now do you understand it? Hitherto unexpressed, as in until the last year of office he did not express xenophobia (at least in public).

I assume readers who remember Horn will remember what I mean – in case you weren’t in Hu then: Horn’s claim that foreigners commit most crimes in Hungary was one of his low moments. There were others that year. He became boorish and ugly, as do many alcoholics who are drinking heavily.

As to alcoholism and illness: I did mention mental and physical illness as relevant in my view

I stick by my words. The man was all over the place. It is very relevant.

The CIA report on his alcoholism was published by the press in Hungarian, incidentally.

I also think the possibility that Orban is mentally ill is relevant – very!

bimbi
Guest

“The View from Rome” a blog by Kay Wallace of La Repubblica (http://the-view-from-rome.blogautore.repubblica.it/) included on 2 November 2015 a piece that ends:

“Many believe that vested interests within the Vatican are trying to undermine the current pontiff’s efforts to reform the Vatican. The publishers of “Merchants in the Temple” claim the book reveals how Pope Francis plans to rid [the Vatican] once and for all, of the overwhelming corruption traditionally encrusted in the Roman Catholic Church.” Perhaps when he has completed that task, he could turn his hand to cleaning up Italian politics before reversing climate change and bringing about world peace.”

We know that the structure Fidesz has imposed on Hungary under the guise of “government” is rotten and now, if we didn’t know already, the Catholic Church, so eagerly embraced by Mr. Orban has also a well-entrenched tradition of rottenness (and not just in the Vatican). It really looks as if, truly, the couple form a match made in heaven.

(Oh yes, and one wishes Pope Francis good luck with the climate change and world peace thing.)

Istvan
Guest

As a weakly practicing Catholic I agree Pope Francis represents a threat to many elements within the Church. Particularly to the protection Bishops and Cardinals have provided to child molesters within the priesthood which is a worldwide scandal. He also may present a threat to the elements of fiscal corruption within the Church.

Pope Francis also knows how to lay low in order to survive, as he did in Argentina during the so called dirty wars when progressive priests were disappearing. He managed not to get killed and did not fully alienate the liberation theologians, although he was accused of turning in two left wing priests. But was ultimately found innocent of the charge as far as I can tell.

Pope Francis will try to find his own champions within the Hungarian Church, but the wedge issue he will utilize will not be the refugee issue. He is too sophisticated for that and can read Hungarian polling data as well as any of us on this blog. I suspect he will purge based on corruption, when he gets ready to do so. But first he needs a replacement cadre for the Hungarian Church which he does not currently have.

Guest

bimbi (November 3, 2015 at 4:19 am):
“Many believe that vested interests within the Vatican are trying to undermine the current pontiff’s efforts to reform the Vatican.”

Don’t listen to the Pope, they whisper. He has a brain tumor!

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/religion/pope-franciss-enemies-inside-the-church-leaked-false-story-that-he-had-a-brain-tumour-enraged-vatican-says

Observer
Guest

@ Millió,

Kudos. Very true and very well said. My thoughts too.
I wish you had a “name” so that I could use your words to impress, because most Hungarians look at who said it not what was said.

Guest

Spend less then a minute with Mr. Harrach to understand his party’s (KDNP the Christian Democratic People’s Party) philosophy on fighting child poverty in Hungary: https://soundcloud.com/tam-s-botos-1/harrach-peter-a-kossuth-radioban?utm_source=soundcloud&utm_campaign=wtshare&utm_medium=Facebook&utm_content=https%3A%2F%2Fsoundcloud.com%2Ftam-s-botos-1%2Fharrach-peter-a-kossuth-radioban

webber
Guest

G. Nagy – Thank you for that!
For those who don’t speak Hungarian, Harrach says his party is against childhood poverty, but isn’t willing and will not support the latest initiative to alleviate poverty because it was presented by the opposition. No other reason. It’s a good idea, but it was presented by the opposition, so Fidesz-KDNP will oppose it.
Lovely. Very Christian.

Bowen
Guest

Specifically, the ‘leftist’ opposition. Presumably, if the neo-Nazi opposition were against child poverty, then Fidesz-KDNP would be all ears.

http://hvg.hu/itthon/20151103_Harrach_szerint_baloldali_kampanycel_a_gy

Jegenyei Kálmán
Guest

Only ruthlessness allows the party to demolish its enemies.

The winning recipe is available for anyone. It worked for Erdogan, Putin and it mightily worked for Orban.

Orban will not start becoming a weeping wuss at the age of 53.

There can be no support or mercy for the enemy.

Those who thought otherwise (the dumb Socialists and liberals who were always open to some corrupt backroom deal) aren’t with us any more.

Orban, Harrach and their soldiers are here though. Their strategy won, so who’s better?

Observer
Guest

‘Shocking! These good for nothing hangers on would rather have the children starve, than let the opposition score a small point.
A bunch of hangers on with dark, twisted minds, if any.

borz
Guest

I told you so.

Orban has good lawyers and lobbyists and Paks 2 (those thousands of billions and a Russian shackle) is all legit for the EU.

http://444.hu/2015/11/03/ugy-tunik-hogy-brusszelbol-nem-mentik-meg-a-magyarokat-az-uj-orosz-atomeromutol

Guest
Religious people of all kinds carry many astounding cases of cognitive dissonance in their heads, quite without being aware of them in the least. An interesting example of this is the leadership and followership of the Hungarian Catholic Church. The very designation of the Church as “Catholic” stakes out a universalist claim. On the other hand, the extreme nationalist, and thus also xenophobic and antisemitic Hungarian Catholic Church is a happily particularist organisation that is supposed to be the local branch of a universalist Vatican presiding over a followership of one and a half billion people of all colours, races and ethnicities all over the world. These days the Vatican is even trying to make nice, somehow, with the Jews. But I suppose the Croatian, Slovak or Polish Catholic Churches are no less happily particularist, extreme nationalist, thus xenophobic and antisemitic than their Hungarian counterpart. And all have plenty of other cognitive dissonances to relish too, among others the doctrines of immaculate conception, the idea that Mary was conceived by a dove whispering in her ear, the doctrine of trinity, the idea that there are supposedly three gods that are actually one, or the doctrine of papal infallibility, the idea… Read more »
Guest

Re: ‘Religious people seem to be gripped by a kind of madness, but their multiple cognitive dissonances do not land them in psychiatric care only because vast communities of fellow-brainwashed share their delusional and self-contradictory beliefs’

Mike…hope you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater as there is something to be said of the piety of the faithful as their belief system is somewhat hijacked and transformed by the powers and institutions that govern them. Hungary perhaps is not looking the land of saints but nevertheless there’s always potential.

Istvan
Guest

Mike are you a follower of Abraham Maslow? He was the major proponent of the theory cognitive dissonance here in the USA within psychology. It seems that as a theory it has fallen out of favor at least in the USA. Religious delusion, as you see it Mike, has served a purpose on occasion in my life. It was a great relief when dealing with PTSD after Vietnam, although the institutions of the Church were largely useless.

I see many younger US Veterans of the Iraq/Afgan wars with various manifestations of PTSD who have unfortunately become chronic drug consumers, both legal and illegal. I honestly think they might be better off with religious delusion.

Guest

Rs: ‘It was a great relief when dealing with PTSD after Vietnam, although the institutions of the Church were largely useless’

There we go. Is it any wonder why the Church grabs the long reach tentacles of Fidesz??? She knows it arguably is the best guarantor of ‘legitimacy’ as it carries on in apparent crisis. Fidesz: PR firm for the RC.

gedeon bácsi
Guest

Good ol’ Pista Hiller: he praises the new iron curtain.

Fidesz always succeeds to persuade the spineless “szoci”s when the commies cannot even succeed to persuade the KDNP to vote for the elimination of child hunger.

The future isn’t MSZP’s time, I’m afraid.

http://index.hu/belfold/2015/11/03/ritka_palfordulast_mutatott_be_hiller_istvan_menekultugyben/

petofi
Guest
“…to vote for the elimination of child hunger.” The country has no moral fulcrum. Who knows when it started disappearing, but I am sure that after 1944, when the disgustingly opportunistic Hungaricoes sent 377,000 more jews than the nazi’s had asked for to be shipped to Auszwitz…is a definitive point. Let’s agree that by 1944, the camps–especially Auszwitz–held no mystery as to what they were doing with the jews. To Hungarians, it mattered not. ‘Send off as many as we can, and let us divvy up the spoils’–and so it went. Afterward, when the sins of the camps were open to the full view of the world, the angst of conscience bedeviled the Magyars. And these were sins that don’t wash off in 80 years, or 200 years, or maybe not ever. If the Germans are marked by revealing a new level of depravity; Hungarians will forever be known as the bag-stabbing opportunists who didn’t shrink to send women, children and elderly to a most gruesome fate…as long as they could profit thereby. Hungarians will never live this down, no matter how many coats of Nationalism, or Catholicism, or self-blinding self righteousness they apply. As a people, as a country,… Read more »
Guest

Re: ‘Hungarians will never live this down, no matter how many coats of Nationalism, or Catholicism, or self-blinding self righteousness they apply. As a people, as a country, as a society and culture, they are forever doomed; never again to be able to distinguish between right and wrong’

A lot of stuff in the attic for sure. Some of it absolutely dreadful. And just something for rapidly changing times. Now TJ here, Thomas Jefferson, worked hard to develop the early US towards being a ‘free society’. A noted philosopher A N Whitehead commented on his legacy:

‘The art of free society consists in the maintenance of the symbolic code and secondly in fearlessness of revision, to secure that the code serves those purposes which satisfy an enlightened reason. Those societies which cannot combine reverence to their symbols with freedom of revision, must ultimately decay either from anarchy, or from the slow atrophy of a life stifled by useless shadows’.

At this time it appears Hungary is entering a modern and perhaps moribund ‘dark age’. The ‘revisions’ we see and will no doubt continue to see will continually dim and will envelope in haze the country’s ‘symbolic code’. The pall descends.

webber
Guest

TJ also happened to be a slave owner.

petofi
Guest

@webber
“TJ also happened to be a slave owner.”

A ridiculous response.
Why are you judging the past by the standards of today?
(Moreover, Lincoln was still 60 years off; and the Civil War had more to do with politics than the ‘rights of man’, at least at the outset.)

webber
Guest

Odd. I was taught that the Civil War started because the Southern states seceded, and that they seceded primarily because they were outraged by the Northern anti-slavery movement (“states rights” meaning “we have a right to have slaves”). Bleeding Kansas, and all that.

Admittedly, I grew up in a state in the far west that fought for the North, and so I did not have the benefit of hearing lessons in school about “The War of Northern Aggression” that Southerners got in those days. We didn’t watch Birth of a Nation. People didn’t have postcards of lynchings lying around in their drawers, and nobody had ever witnessed that sort of thing (our great grandparents knew a thing or two about murdering Indians, though: i am not speaking from a point of moral superiority to Southerners).

I think the fact that TJ was a slave owner is relevant. My comment was not a riposte. I was just pointing out that the man was not a saint by any means.

webber
Guest

P.S. We all judge the past based on our standards today all the time. Postcards of lynchings are relevant to that (look them up online). At some point in American history it was normal to make a postcard out of the murder of a black person. Everyone knew the murderers would never be punished. They were celebrated. Some of those postcards show that it was considered normal to take a child to watch the murder of a black person. It was a sort of public celebration.
You surely would not like us to judge those acts by the moral standards of those times and those places?

petofi
Guest

@webber

southern secession

“…they seceded primarily because they were outraged…”

I think there were more lucid reasons than that. As the country moved westward, new states were not allowed to
to have slaves, and hence, ‘slave states’ were to be marginalized in Congress. I believe that was the political basis of secession.

Of course, that was a blow to the power of the southern states as a whole…

webber
Guest

Well, it seems we agree that slavery was an (I’d say “the”) issue!

Guest
Re: ‘ I think the fact that TJ was a slave owner is relevant. My comment was not a riposte. I was just pointing out that the man was not a saint by any means’ From a factual point of view you are on the money. One of those ‘contradictions’ inherent in the founding and development of the United States. TJ of course was a man of his times. On the other hand we can see that he had a great focus on those ‘inalienable rights’ of man that today can be difficult to come by in certain states. Ironically with Jefferson it was his ‘words’ rather than actions which propelled Lincoln to say that his ‘self-evident’ truths became the ‘definitions and axioms of free society’. It’s too bad a man like Jefferson never worked with Istvan and the leaders who followed him to develop the Magyar state. Their efforts would echo in Lincoln’s comment, ‘They meant to set up a standard maxim for free society which would be familiar to all and revered by all; constantly looked to, constantly labored for, and even though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated, and thereby constantly spreading and deepening influence and augmenting the… Read more »
Latefor
Guest

My message to all the Hungarian readers out there: Make a prayer before you read the above comments. Ask God to protect your mind and soul. Do NOT allow psychological torture to destroy your kind spirit.
Please see ‘Petofi’ re: Hungarians: – “As a people, as a country, as a society and culture, they are forever doomed; never again to be able to distinguish between right and wrong.”

Oh, YES WE CAN!

webber
Guest

For once, Latefor, I agree with you. Petofi’s comments are unfair and anti-Hungarian in the worst sense.
He has every right to deplore what was done by many, many ordinary Hungarians and the Hungarian government during the Holocaust, but it is not fair to condemn an entire nation now and for eternity for the reprehensible actions in its historic past. Young Hungarians today have nothing to do with it.
Every nation has its horrible past.

For Americans: genocide against Native Americans (many of our ancestors took part – it was “popular”); slavery; the putsch and takeover of Hawaii; the My Lai massacre and others in Vietnam – I could go on.

petofi
Guest

“Every nation has its horrible past.”

True.
But some nations, like Germany, take responsibility for their past and educate their young about what happened and why, so that it will never be repeated.

Do you see that happening in Hungary?
Is it likely to happen with 3rd rate, anti-semitic writers being put back on the high school curriculum?

webber
Guest

Petofi: There I agree with you.

I do, however, know many Hungarians who admit the Hungarian state’s responsibility for the Holocaust, and Hungarian civilians’ participation in it. Surely their work should not be ignored?

If you don’t know of them, I recommend Krisztián Ungváry’s work on Hungarian responsibility for the Hungarian Holocaust, for a start. Ungváry is a Christian Hungarian (I mean that in the true sense- he is religious).

You don’t find me applauding the positions of this Hungarian government’s favorite scholars (Szakály and Schmidt). To borrow Michael Shafir’s very appropriate phraseology, they relativize, deny, and selectively negate Hungarian involvement in the Holocaust.

Guest

Re: ‘To borrow Michael Shafir’s very appropriate phraseology, they relativize, deny, and selectively negate Hungarian involvement in the Holocaust’

latefor’s positive stance with that ‘can-do’ spirit in turning things around sure might have trouble with this one. This has to be a sure-fire killer if you will in frustrating those efforts. Understatement to say it’s one of the biggest monkeys on the Magyar back. I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if this ever gets resolved in the foreseeable future over there in that little corner of the world.

petofi
Guest

“Oh, YES WE CAN!…Make a prayer before you read the above comments.”

Well done, Latefor.
And what would you say to this:

“After a while a large group [of SS officers] arrived on motorcycles, Mengele among them. They drove into the yard and got off their motorcycles. Upon arriving, they circled the flames; it burned horizontally. We watched to see what would follow. After a while, trucks arrived , dump trucks with children inside. There were about ten of these trucks. After they had entered the yard, an officer gave an order and the trucks backed up to the fire and they started throwing those children right into the fire, into the pit. The children started to scream; some of them managed to crawl out of the burning pit; an officer walked around it with sticks and pushed back those who managed to get out. Hoess and Mengele were present and were giving orders.” (http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/History/Articles/Selection2.html)

It was Hungarians in 1944 who sent children to that fate.
Have you any prayers for those children?

Latefor
Guest

Petofi – Y E S, I do pray for them. If you keep continuing on this line, you will have NO sympathy from the general public. Just imagine: a young uni student wonders to this site. What does he find? Ongoing Hungarian bashing from you and some others.
Do you think he will look at the past with tears in his eyes? Please comment mindfully in the future. I cannot understand, how can you live with so much hate in your heart? You must heal your soul, for your own sake!
You are P R O V O K I N G the Hungarians with almost every one of your posts. You are provoking them and they are building statues in retaliation. How pathetic!

Latefor
Guest

Please see ‘Petofi’ re: Hungarians: – “As a people, as a country, as a society and culture, they are forever doomed; never again to be able to distinguish between right and wrong.”

This sounds like a curse to me. Hungary urgently needs an Exorcist.

Guest

Webber, but how to react when you hear people praising Horthy etc (even on pol.hu,and don’t even think about real right wing sites …) and wanting to build statues for him?
It seems to me too that a large part of Hungarian society under the leadership of Orbán would like to return to “the good old times”, really horrible!
And then of course the “Hungarian mantra” – we didn’t do it, it wasn’t our fault …
Just look at latefor – she represents a lot of those problems!

webber
Guest
Wolfi – I agree with you about those Hungarians who do that sort of thing. I agree with you in condemning the actions of this Hungarian government. But guilt is individual. You cannot go around condemning entire nations, en bloc. That’s precisely the logic of bigotry – not seeing people individuals, but as representatives of nations/nationalities/minorities. It’s nasty. You cannot condemn the entire Hungarian nation. It is bigoted, nasty, and inhumane. There are Americans who, even today, hate American Indians, and who wish they had all been exterminated. I met one, by chance, this summer. He was open about his feelings. He assumed I’d agree with him, I suppose because of my complexion. There have been senators who have objected to the use of genocide with regard to the extermination of American Indians. I have nothing but contempt for such senators. There are other Americans who want to fly the Confederate flag, and/or who are Ku Klux Klan members. Should we condemn all Americans because of these people? Of course not. There are German neo-Nazis. Should we condemn all Germans because of these people? Of course not. I don’t really follow Latefor. I don’t recall her saying anything praising the… Read more »
Latefor
Guest

Webber – “I don’t really follow Latefor. I don’t recall her saying anything praising the Horthy system, but then I don’t pay much attention. Did she?”

No, I didn’t.

Guest

I wrote about you:
“Just look at latefor – she represents a lot of those problems!”
It’s enough that you’re praising Orbán and his “illiberal democracy” …

Member

I agree with webber “guilt is individual. You cannot go around condemning entire nations, en bloc. That’s precisely the logic of bigotry – not seeing people individuals, but as representatives of nations/nationalities/minorities. It’s nasty.”
This is exactly it. You cannot always reply to everything that “Hungarians”… I have many wonderful friends in Hungary, who do not follow Orban, did not voted for him, etc. I recommend this site to a couple of them, and they were so turned off by reading how all Hungarians are bad, and so forth that they never looked back.
What’s the point even commenting here if according to some Hungary is all doomed. I do believe, and I do know that many-many Hungarians are generous and kind, passionate and tolerant. It is so offensive to generalize.

Observer
Guest

Guys,

“guilt is individual …”

Maybe theoretically correct, I have doubts: e.g. governments elected by the majority order actions and the institutions carry them out: e.g. the Americans bombed ISIS, Sweden offer refuge, etc.

People think in categories, no other way, although everyone knows a lot of exceptions.

The Hungarian case is more clear cut: more than 70% of Hungarian voters supported the Orban regime and the more openly fascist Jobbik party. How do you label Hungarians, exceptions notwithstanding? Say, compared to tolerant Dutch or Danes, exceptions notwithstanding.

Simple assume there is always “exceptions notwithstanding”.

petofi
Guest

@Observer

I agree.

It’s only the contrarian who has no other way of opposing an argument who relies on the inane,
“You can’t generalize…”

Nonsense.

petofi
Guest

@wolfi

“…latefor–she represents…”

For latefor, prayer is the answer to all: sin all you want but pray thereafter.

Yeah. God forgives all, but don’t forget to pay your indulgences…!

(Anyone for the flavour of the Middle Ages?)

exTor
Guest
For the better part of the first decade in this new millennium, I ran a semimonthly poetry workshop in a library in Toronto’s Little Italy, webber, and it was there that I had a long-lasting semantic disagreement with a fellow poet. The subject: ‘sour grapes’. BTW, ‘semimonthly’ ≠ ‘biweekly’. It was Sam’s contention that ‘sour grapes’ = ‘bitterness’, against which I argued that ‘sour grapes’ is a specific type of ‘bitterness’. The two terms are not identical. I could never disabuse Sam of his mistaken belief. Perhaps I’ll have better luck with you, webber. First of all, why would you provide me with an IPA pronunciation guide [hɪðəˈtuː / ˈhɪðətuː] to ‘hitherto’? You probably didn’t realize that this is an example of British nonrhoticity. In Canada, they mostly pronounce the ars in ‘hitherto’, which is ideed as ‘rhoticity’. Here’s a link on the subject. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhoticity_in_English Secondly, you mistakenly assign to me a perspective that I never entertained. I merely asked whether you meant ‘hitherto’ or ‘thitherto’. Am I forgetting my English? No, actually not. You may find this difficult to believe, but I speak English as well as anyone participating in this forum. The adverb ‘hitherto’ means ‘until now’, ‘thitherto’… Read more »
webber
Guest
exTor – Your language policing does nothing to improve the conversation (tsup? again). You do it to all and sundry, though nobody here has ever asked for an English lesson from you. I cut and pasted the definition of “hitherto” from The Oxford English Dictionary’s definition online, hence the pr. guide, which I might have cut, but thought it would be more clear that I got it from a dictionary if I left it in (note: I have no wonky anglo-saxonish th characters on my keyboard). Again, the def. OED gives is: “Until now or until the point in time under discussion.” – meaning it can refer to the past. My sentence with hitherto was absolutely fine. My use of alleged was perfecto. I don’t use “aps,” btw. Language police are so… well, fill in any word that comes to mind I never noticed before that you dislike odd (“pretentious”) words. Strange, because you sometimes use them. Still, tough cookies. I like the word hitherto. I don’t find it pretentious. But even if I did, who cares? I will use whichever word I like whenever I want to. Horn and alcoholism – I believe it is relevant. Others think so… Read more »
webber
Guest

P.S. Alleged – I used OED for that, too, to demonstrate that others use the word as I did. Certain words in English seem to be more flexible than you would like.

exTor
Guest

There’s nothing wrong with language police. That’s why we go to school. Sorry for getting under your skin, webber.

Your piece [“You do it [criticize, supposedly] to all and sundry …”] could be considered a tad ironic given that this started with your ‘hitherto’ lesson.

I hope that I’m not as heavy-handed with my posts as you suggest. I believe that the ‘allege’ and the ‘hitherto’ threads were the only ones.

If you know better, please set me straight.

I try to be creative with my language use.

MAGYARKOZÓ

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