Viktor Orbán’s democracy: Nationalism, pure and simple

We should have gotten accustomed to the fact that by now that news about Hungary and its prime minister is an everyday occurrence. Just today I encountered well over 100 articles about Viktor Orbán in newspapers as well as on internet news sites, from Azerbaijan to Sweden. Most of the articles I came across were from Germany where Viktor Orbán’s interview with Kai Diekmann, the publisher of Bild, created quite a stir.

Kai Diekmann and Viktor Orbán / Business Insider

Kai Diekmann and Viktor Orbán / Business Insider

From Orbán’s awkward and occasionally wrong word usage, I assume that the interview was conducted in English, with not the best results. For example, the sentence that is most often commented on in the German press is: “Today, the voices coming from Berlin are coarse, rough, and aggressive.”

Orbán has never been known for his diplomatic skills, and since he has achieved a certain, in my opinion dubious, fame in Europe he thinks he can say practically anything with impunity. For example, when Diekmann quoted Jean-Claude Juncker’s claim that “history will prove Ms. Merkel right,” Orbán’s answer was rude and demeaning. He said, “I think the course of history will not be bothered by Mr. Juncker…. Let us see how history one day will judge Chancellor Merkel without Mr. Juncker’s help.”

The German people will read with delight Viktor Orbán’s opinion that “we owe nothing to Germany, and the Germans owe nothing to us. Germany has supported us in becoming a member of the EU. We are grateful for that. But then Hungary has opened its market for all EU states. Everybody has profited from that. So we are square.” When asked about Hungary’s relations with “the controversial Polish government,” Orbán answered: “I can only say that the peoples of Central Europe and Hungary are a community in fate, to the death. Many of us would spill our blood for Poland any time. And vice versa: in an emergency, many Polish people would give his life to protect Hungarians. This has happened more than once over the course of history.”

Two days ago I brought up my puzzlement over a sentence that Viktor Orbán uttered at the quickly organized press conference at which he announced his decision to hold a referendum on the compulsory refugee quotas. He said at that time that voting against this question would be a proof of loyalty to the country. “Because how could someone be loyal as long as others decide the most important questions?” I added that it didn’t matter how hard I tried to follow Orbán’s logic, I couldn’t see the connection between loyalty and the matter on hand. This interview sheds some light on the subject. Orbán has a very strange definition of “the basic principle of democracy,” which “in the end is loyalty to the nation.” What an incredible, unfathomable statement. Democracy according to this confused man equals nationalism.

At this point I would like to interject a quotation I jotted down from Ian Kershaw’s masterful two-volume biography of Hitler, which I’m in the middle of reading. These lines are from the first volume, Hitler, 1889-1936: Hubris:

It was more than anything else the ways nationalism had developed in late nineteenth-century Germany that provided the set of ideas that, if often in distorted–even perverted–form, offered the potential for Nazism’s post-war appeal…. Crucial to the character of German nationalism was the pervasive sense … of incomplete unity, of persistent, even widening division and conflict within the nation. What, in the changed conditions after the war, Hitler was able most signally to exploit was the belief that pluralism was somehow unnatural and unhealthy in society, that it was a sign of weakness, and that internal division and disharmony could be suppressed and eliminated, to be replaced by the unity of a national community. (p. 136)

Compare that with Viktor Orbán’s speech at a Fidesz picnic in September 2009 in Kötcse:

Today it is realistically conceivable that in the coming fifteen-twenty years, Hungarian politics should be determined not by the dualistic field of force bringing with it never conclusive and divisive value debates, which quite unnecessarily generate social problems. Instead, a great governing party comes in place, a central field of force, which will be able to articulate the national issues and to stand for these policies as a natural course of things to be taken for granted without the constantly ongoing wrangling.

In brief, differences of opinion, any kind of political division, are signs of weakness in Orbán’s worldview just as the German variety of nationalism feared ethnic and religious differences. So, it is no wonder that Orbán called his regime the “System of National Cooperation.” If you don’t cooperate, you are not part of this nation. Fidesz and its supporters defend the national interest so if someone criticizes Orbán’s policies, this person is the enemy of the nation. As we know, this kind of striving for national unity usually ends in disaster.

By defending the nation Orbán claims to be defending democracy. When Diekmann pressed him on his policies, which may lead to the division of Europe, Orbán’s answer was that “the quota is reframing the ethnic, cultural and religious profile of Hungary and Europe. I have not decided this way against Europe, but for protecting European democracy.”

From these statements we learn that Orbán is defending not democracy but nationalism. At least this time he told the truth.

February 26, 2016
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Michael Shafir
Guest

O disagree on terminology. NATIONALISM is not my cup of tea, but it can be pluralistic. What Orbán displays is ETNOCRATIC CHAUVINISM.

Observer
Guest

Loyalty to the nation equals loyalty to Orban and his regime, in their parlance.
We have hear dozens of major speeches implying or stating unequivocally that they are the true Hungarians, they defend the nation, the nation is those who support them and the rest are all sorts of other, lesser, alien things.

This was first time spelled out by L.Grespik in 1998/89 (?), then Head of the Budapest Administration Office, appointed by Orban – something like “I represent the interests of the nation and the ones who turn against me turn against the nation”.

This is not nationalism (only), but fascism, not so pure, but of the classic mould.

Guest

“………..pluralism was somehow unnatural and unhealthy in society, …….,”

It comes as no surprise to us on here that the very roots of Orban’s ideology are inspired by Hitler’s Natonalism. His illiberal state is well on the road to facism.

In the village in Hungary my partner’s aunt ruminates on how, even now, Hitler would have sorted things out – she hankers for him back. There have been dark mutterings from others too – shockingly. I often think that at least Fidesz is preferable. I wonder how any others are ‘extreme’ nationalists that look at this Englishman coming from victorious England with latent hate – some people are palpably hostile for no ‘apparent’ reason.

I’m convinced that Poland has gone native following Orban’s example – a cancer spread that only the EU has itself to blame.

I’m sure too that Orban must harbour irredentist dreams – at least dreaming to get back Hitler’s and Horthy’s Trianon lands – these thoughts too are evident in the village. The woman who grows vegetables is very bitter about her family’s loss of arable land in Slovakia.

Nationalism everywhere – including the school curriculum.

Hitler’s long shadow still darkens Hungary.

Guest

After reading Prof Balogh’s analysis , I’d wonder if Viktor knew about this assessment from Leo, the fellow who gave us ‘War and Peace’:

“The feeling of patriotism – It is an immoral feeling because, instead of confessing himself a son of God . . . or even a free man guided by his own reason, each man under the influence of patriotism confesses himself the son of his fatherland and the slave of his government, and commits actions contrary to his reason and conscience’.

So as he noted that politicians ‘should never do things against their conscience’ he would do well to perhaps do a check on ‘his’ democracy and its relationship to ‘conscience’. A reasonable estimation on nationalistic fervor within the country would have to come to the conclusion that ‘conscience’ has become like an appendix a vestigial organ in the makeup of so called ‘democracy proprietors’ of the country.

Guest

That is a great quote, wrfree. Many thanks for that.

Wondercat
Guest

“Masterful” / “masterly” — a trap for even the native speaker.

Guest

?? ” Masterful two-volume” is fine as is “masterly two-volume” is too.
The first is adjectival – the second adverbial to an implied verb.

Guest

……. therefore not a trap!

webber
Guest

Orban is defending nothing but his power, but he will do anything to defend that. Witness the thugs sent to prevent the referendum on Sunday shop closing. If this regime is willing to use such vile and illegal methods to prevent a referendum that would not take a single parliamentary seat from Fidesz, what will they not be willing to do to stay in power.
To me that was not evidence, it was indirect proof that they will do anything at all necessary to win the next elections, up to and including stuffing ballot boxes, destroying ballots cast for the opposition, faking the count, and generally falsifying election results.

poplacsek
Guest

@webber

Let’s no be so modest. I am absolutely certain that Orban’s people would kill if they deemed that necessary for their political survival.

Don’t forget that during Orban’s altogether three governments he only had one single minister of interior. One may recall that Sandor Pinter used to have regular meetings with Herr Dietmar Clodo, aka the bombmaker. People with long memories also remember that there was a time when (not too dangerous) bombs were blown up at the houses of top fideszniks which created sympathy for them. None of the cases were ever solved.

Orban is surrounded by people like Pálffy and Patyi (to name two top people in the Election Committee) , both loyal, old school secret service people. These people and many like them would literally do anything if requested by their superiors.

Fidesz will hold on to power no matter what and by any means necessary. Anybody who thinks otherwise has no idea about how Eastern Europe works.

Guest

As you know, Poplacsek, high profile critics of Orbán have had death threats.

The only reason it has not yet happened, in my opinion, is because Hungary is in the EU.

The only checks and balances in existence here, including staying the hands which would like to annihilate the opposition through any means, including murder, are laws within the EU.

Orbán knows this, and no doubt it is one of the reasons behind his bitter tirades and rants against the hand that feeds.

webber
Guest

Even low-profile critics of the Orbán government have had death threats.

Guest

That is truly terrible! Is there no way of tracing the perpetrators?

Observer
Guest

It totally depends on qui prodest (as always in such regimes). E.g. We dont’ know:
Where are the HUF 160 billion which disappeared in the broker scandals last year.
Who wrote the basic law (constitution).
Who rips the state to the magnitude of HUF 1 000 billion VAT per year etc etc etc

Think about and you’ll find the easy answers to your question.

Guest

Eva: ”Orbán has a very strange definition of “the basic principle of democracy,” which “in the end is loyalty to the nation.” What an incredible, unfathomable statement. Democracy according to this confused man equals nationalism.”

Attempt to understand Orban’s thoughts:
Democracy is loyalty to the nation. Loyalty to the nation is loyalty to the government. Loyalty to the government is loyalty to Viktor Orban. Therefore: Democracy and loyalty to Viktor Orban is one and the same thing.

Guest

@Jean P
Today 3:26 am

Almost to the word exactly as Louis XIV said of his absolutist rule in which he held all political authority, namely that “L’état, c’est moi” (I am the state).

Welcome to Orbanistan in the 21st century.

Observer
Guest

Oui Jean, c’est ça, pure et simple.

webber
Guest

“Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” Samuel Johnson, 7 Apr. 1775, according to Boswell.

bingo
Guest

or of a winner.

Guest

No – he didn’t say that.

Observer
Guest

Orban is winning, just as the scoundrels and villains did in 1918, 1945, to name the latest “victories”. The hapless dupes are paying the price, as always.

webber
Guest

Slight correction: the greatest scoundrels of all lost in 1918. Just look at German and Austrian plans for the map of Europe after WWI. Particularly look at their plans for Poland and Balkan countries. If they had won the war… well, best not to imagine it.

webber
Guest

P.S. That said, we’ll agree that the scoundrels in Paris in 1919 were bad enough.

Member

I refuse to search meaning or further concepts in Orban’s speeches. He is utterly sick and sees the world with that distorted mind. His politics is stupefyingly simple: keep on power by every possible means and squeeze out as much wealth as possible. Who is willing to participate, welcome and gets his/her share. After that, however, no peaceful way for getting out of the system by contradicting. One immediately becomes enemy.

Guest

@vian
Today 4:07 am

In other words, a vicious and disgusting Capo di Capos, a big-time slimeball that thrives on low cunning and lives by backstabbing and biting the hand that feeds him.

Perfectly Hungarian, and perfect for Hungarians. A match literally made in heaven.

Member

While the Hungarians you are referring to are way too many, those who just happened to have simply been trapped outnumber them.

webber
Guest

vian – I agree!

Guest

@vian
Today 2:36 pm

Hm. I am not so sure about that.

If we take all those who voted for Fidesz/KDNP and Jobbik, plus all those who did not bother to vote and thereby gave implied consent to rule by those two parties, I would say that only a relatively small minority could be said to have been genuinely trapped.

Of the rest, should any of them feel trapped, one can only say that they had actually trapped themselves. Which is of course a consistent leitmotif of Hungarian history ever since the time of György Dózsa and Mohács (cf. “Önfia vágta sebét” by István Nemeskürty, Magvető Publishers, Budapest 1975).

Member

So poisonous, soo putinous… Sooo-called journalists without sufficient knowledge like self-satisfied Dickmen should not be allowed near eastern manipulators. So, another unhelpful news and another free propaganda for the “Hungarian people”.
Hard talk? Are you kidding me?
Thanks God increasing number of leaders in the US understand that the putinous propaganda machinery have to be countered and limited in scope. How long would that take in Europe, would trumpism overwhelm the world? I have no answer. These people are masterly using the services of the liberal and pluralistic system without actually abiding by its rules. Self served journalism.

dos929
Guest

If only the quarter of the Hungarian people would be able to read news sources in German or in English (e.g. Hung. Spectrum…), the public perception of their government would be different. But the vast majority of Hungarians do not read news media, and if they do, they are mostly being fed by the government propaganda machine. There is no way out, and Orban knows it… The cloud of hopelessness has drawn over the Hungarian landscape, where in a couple more years only the lame, the old and the staunch FIDESZ believers will remain… All the ‘normal’ people, who have the ability, are fleeing the country that even the ‘would be refugees’ wouldn’t want to live, fences or not…

Member

Americans (even Republicans) can read, and yet they are going for Trump big-time. Populism and pettiness transcend national and linguistic barriers.

Guest

Re: ‘populism and pettiness….’

Interesting isn’t it? One would have to say that perhaps the US population has been ‘mesmerized’ by a populist who rather than using the occult like say a Hanussen to hoodwink a certain population uses the golden glow of his oozing charisma to make those looking upon him lulled into a trance where their wish-fulfillments would seem to be answered.

webber
Guest

Slow down. these are primaries, and only Republicans can vote in them.
Overall fewer than 1/3 of Republican voters have voted for Trump in the primaries so far (32.72%).
Trump is still running against 4 other candidates. In a race against 4 other candidates, the extremist can win overall with less than 1/3 of the vote, because the other 2/3s of the vote are going all over the place.
I would guess that if either Cruz or Rubio were to resign, the other candidate would get those votes. That would put either of them well over 40%.
Kasich and Carson together take up about 14% of the Republican vote.
If Trump were running against just Rubio, Rubio would win easily.
If the fatheads don’t resign, Trump will win.
If Trump wins, a lot of the Republicans who have not been voting for him (the majority of Republicans) may vote for a Democrat.

webber
Guest

Finally: Trump isn’t even taking 1/3 of the Republican vote. Gallup polls show that roughly 39% of Americans consider themselves Republicans. About 43% say they are Democrats. The rest are undecided, or support some other party.
So, less than 1/3 of 39% of the population has been supporting Trump in the primaries. To suggest that this is a sign of the victory of populism in American politics is a gross misunderstanding of what is going on.

Guest

@webber
Today 2:07 pm

Spot on, webber.

And anyway, even if Trump was to win the Republican nomination, it is a long road to hoe between that and winning the presidency.

Whilst handing the presidency to Trump would be like installing a ton of TNT in the White House, the likelihood of that actually happening is looking like about minus zero, primarily because for the moment at least, US demography powerfully favors a decisive Democratic win in November, which means a President Hilary Clinton.

In debates on foreign policy, national security and welfare issues Hilary would absolutely devastate and wipe the floor with Trump. The blond hairdo guy just wouldn’t know what hit him.

Whilst I hold no particular brief for Hilary, I think that the presidential race is hers to lose, unless some enormous scandal involving her was to come to light between now and November.

Ingeborg
Guest

But many supporters of Bernie (should he lose the primary against Clinton) would vote for Trump.

webber
Guest

Nonsense.

Guest

Re: ‘If Trump wins, a lot of the Republicans who have not been voting for him (the majority of Republicans) may vote for a Democrat’

You know on that all I’ll say is that if that is the way the strategy may land later on then it sure will be tough for them to take their votes and give’em to ‘jackasses’. And if they do lose the Presidency they better be thinking ahead if they want to survive in the Senate and House.

webber
Guest

The funny thing is it isn’t strategy! Trump is a wild card. He has said repeatedly that if he doesn’t win the nomination, he’ll run as an independent – in which case he’ll just steal votes from the Republicans. It’s a lose-lose situation – if they can’t get a candidate who can beat Trump, he’ll turn voters off. If they can get a candidate who can beat Trump, he’ll take voters away.
He’s doing to the Republicans what Ralph Nader used to do to the Democrats.
I don’t think that will have much effect on the Senate or House races, though (there’s a very different chemistry for those elections)

cio
Guest

Please do some research. It’s exactly the same anti-elite sentiment. There are many such posts.

https://www.reddit.com/r/SandersForPresident/comments/44q0xl/my_first_choice_is_bernie_second_choice_is_trump/

webber
Guest

cio
You find one comment online and call it “research”? There is poll data out there. I suggest you look at it.

webber
Guest

P.S. I personally know several Bernie supporters. They all hate Trump, deeply. They will all vote for Hillary if she wins.
Is that representative? I don’t know.
Poll data, however, suggests it might be.

Guest

@Ingeborg
Today 2:09 pm

That is nuts, Ingeborg.

Trump stands for the radical right, the big end of town, and the winners in American society.

Bernie stands for the radical left, the egalitarian idealists and the losers in American society.

That is like oil and water, which don’t and can’t mix.

And they most certainly don’t vote for one another either.

potter
Guest
webber
Guest

Conservatives choose Sanders.
Not Sanders supporters choose Trump.
There is a rather large difference.
All poll data shows that the majority of Sanders supporters despise Trump.

webber
Guest

That blog is b.s. on toast.

Guest

Eva, congratulations!

When I typed “Diekmann and Viktor Orbán ” into google search, HS was the fifth result!

The Bild-Zeitung (in Germany it’s usually called the BLÖD-Zeitung …) is not accessible with an activated ad blocker but I found the German text of the interview here:
https://zeitungspiraten.net/bildplus/politik/ausland/viktor-orban/der-ton-aus-deutschland-ist-schroff-grob-aggressiv-44690288.html

Couldn’t read it in one piece though – O is so horrible that I would have had to throw up …

Just one sentence:
Wer sich massenhaft nicht-registrierte Zuwanderer aus Nahost ins Land holt, importiert auch Terrorismus, Kriminalität, Antisemitismus und Homophobie.
As if Hungary was free of antisemitism and homophobia – really crazy!

PS and OT – an old joke about the Bild newspaper:

Be very careful when you open it or the blood will flow on your lap …

Guest

@wolfi7777
Today 5:42 am

If you read Hungarian wolfi7777, then it would be well worth your while to read this, a sharp reaction by one of the editors of Szombat to the piece of vomit from Orbán that you quote in your post above:

http://www.szombat.org/politika/mit-bizonyit-europa-legnagyobb-zsinagogaja

Guest

Sorry, Mike – but my Hungarian is just good enough to read the Tesco adverts …

When my wife and I met it was obvious that we had to concentrate on her learning German (she knew some, working a boutique in Hévíz, that was necessary for her …) because in Germany no one speaks Hungarian.

On the other hand I manage quite nicely around here, many people are happy to use their knowledge of German …

So at home we speak German – with a sprinkling of Hungarian words …

Guest

Understand. But maybe your wife could help out with it? :-))

webber
Guest

OT – More trouble for Paks, but good news for patriotic Hungarians concerned about details of the deal with Russia: The EC has ordered that the Hungarian government must rescind legislation that made the contract a state secret and publish relevant parts of it by the start of April.
News here (not a leftist source):
http://mno.hu/gazdasag/kiderulhetnek-a-paksi-titkok-1330728

spectator
Guest

And now we must follow the words of the Great Leader to the letter, and hold referendum about Paks 2 too!

“Because how could someone be loyal as long as others decide the most important questions?

So right!

webber
Guest

No way they’ll have a referendum on Paks. They know they might lose. Anyway, that certainly is an international issue (now they claim EU laws are domestic, so the referendum on the quota is not international)

spectator
Guest

You can’t be serious!

He just told us what to do, when “someone decide the most important questions” which even effect on our children and grandchildren, without even asking us- – or something of this effect..!

So, you mean that the “God given people” shouldn’t follow the example of the Great Leader?

Poor Orbán, he can’t even believe to himself when he read this…

Guest

@webber
Today 6:00 am

Wow.

It will be most fascinating to watch whether Orbán will comply or just thumb his nose at the EC in his customary charming manner. Or maybe even run (another?) fraudulent plebiscite on this issue too, in order to demonstrate to one and all in Brussels (to no avail, of course) that it is the indomitable will of the gallant Hungarian people to reject out of hand such a revolting piece of anti-Hungarian garbage.

Anyway, if he does thumb his nose at the EC, it will be most interesting to watch whether the EC would actually start proceedings forthwith, first issuing a tough-worded warning, then actually implementing some serious sanctions with teeth against Hungary, or as usual in such cases, just let the whole thing quietly fade away and in the end slide into some bottomless hole in a Brussels back office.

webber
Guest

My guess is they’ll publish a very heavily edited version of the contract, and wait to see if the EC will demand they publish more. They might also play around a little with the translation. Recall what they did with the first official translation of the new constitution? They left out some sentences, exactly the ones that they knew would raise eyebrows. When called on that, they said it was the translator’s mistake (like hell!).

Guest

Disgusting. Kész köpedelem.

Observer
Guest

On the referendum:

L. Kosa VP Fidesz stated last year that a referendum on issues treated by international law/agreements can’t be held.

Another VP Gergely Gulyás, a holder of law degree, stated the opposite last week. The justification was an astonishing mixture of nonsense and lies:
– Legal nonsense was his “logic” that international agreements or law are not applicable to the questions of refugee protection and settlement, because the respective international provisions have been incorporated into Hungarian law, hence it had become domestic law, which in turn can be subject to referendum.

For those who were not fans of the Yes Minister brit series: if you sign, i.e. accept to comply with an international agreement/law, and incorporate it in your own legal system, then you don’t have to comply with it anymore. Fidesz Logic for Dummies.
– The lies part is that the GG character knows the truth pretty well.

Istvan
Guest
As no doubt many on this blog have, I have met for a few minutes PM Orban, here in Chicago during a NATO summit. His thinking ability in English seemed very good. In talking with several members of our church he asked us short questions. He switched between Hungarian and English seamlessly. One of our parishioners standing next to me was asked about his ability as a smaller investor to operate in Hungary, he gave him an earful about Austrian banks and the problems be had with OTP. Orban was not in the least ruffled, but indicated that the solution to the penetration of Austria’s Erste Group was a problem and that OTP needed to be more receptive to small American Hungarian investors. Orban was informed that I was a retired US Army officer and asked if I had met any of the Hungarian forces who had come to the USA for training. I told him I had and that their consistent complaint was under funding. He blamed the social democrats for that tradition in Hungary, which he said was hard to break. So I would say this about Eva’s short portrait of PM Orban, it leaves out his interpersonal… Read more »
Guest
I would have liked to have been there myself. A chat of a thousand words could yield much. I agree he is not a ‘stupid man’ no doubt highly intelligent. But at bottom he is now an autocrat not a democrat. So consequently he has much different ideas when it comes to governing order in society, democracy and liberty. He is a man who is an ‘executive’ but one who takes great care to mind the details. He’s a man who’s focus is on control and keeping the hands on the levers of power. The fact that at some time before he was a democrat indicates that his perspectives have changed as he has looked at and tried to make sense of the world and where it is going. One thing I will say is that Orban as leader in the 21st is arguably a politician who is worth much to study. For in a way indeed his apparent opposition to democratic principles puts the onus on democrats to continually be on the defensive. If democracy could be Tokaji bor, he certainly is part of some ‘rot’ spoiling the vintage there. The longer the opposition languishes in response the steadier… Read more »
Guest

OT: And speaking of Tokaji bor if there are any bor aficionados here your help would be welcome.

I was given a bottle of Tokaji Szamorodni (edes/sweet) as a gift by a cousin. That was back in ’91. Hasn’t been opened since. I think it’s time but don’t know what to expect. I wrote to a knowledgeable wine editor but even he didn’t know. All in all though color’s looking good. And if we’re on a ‘virtual’ table I’d give sips all around.

Guest

@wrfree
Today 9:47 am

I think that his good ole boy style of interpersonal skills are those of a Mafia don chatting with his loyal followers.

As to his seamless slide from a democrat to an autocrat, I think that he has always been and continues to be just a cunning slimeball without any redeeming features, and that is really the key to understanding him, just as much as it is the key to understanding his support base.

A cunning slimeball, and that is all there is to it, doing a good ole boy nationalist act that Hungarians just can’t resist.

Guest

Re: ‘slimeball’

From that description it would look as if the Magyars have lost the perspicacity of knowing who a bum is or not. They sure have been faked out.
Looking at the war , it was imperative that all among the Allies knew who and what their leaders were. In Hungary today that skill has been apparently edged out.

And now the weird thing is the ‘stones’ being thrown at him from all over the place are like buttered popcorn. He’s eating it all up.

petofi
Guest

“Buttered popcorn”? Obviously, you don’t live in Hungary. I’ve mentioned on every visit to a cinema that they ought to butter their popcorn.
The suggestion is not welcome even though it would probably triple their popcorn sales. ‘Too much work’, I imagine.

As for ‘the perspicacity of knowing a bum’…the yanks are not dowing too well either–Trump is a sleazeball. Peggy Noonan on the Drudgereport has a good essay on why Trump is having success. But I don’t expect that to continue. It’s an anti-establishment vote…for the moment.

Guest
But I get the feeling that he believes he knows about everything – and nothing. He may confidently spout on about any subject and, because he is used to everyone hanging on his every word, he hasn’t a clue what he is talking about. And no one has the courage to tell the emporer…….no clothes. In my field of work they are called bullshitters and can pontificate to a shallow depth but when a counter-point is made they are all at sea. Orban displayed this vividly – and dangerously – when he interfered with the professionals trying to contain the Danube during the Passau surge – he made inane observations and hindered the experts. Eva’s post described it excellently in one of her posts – and you could see it in the body language in the obsequious television coverage. Had the water breached the dykes you wouldn’t have seen him for dust – he would have immediately invoked blame culture – or cognitive dissonance reduction. He spouts on with all the attributes of a dictactor – compare the TV footage of Kim Il Un when he visits a factory – he spouts goodness knows what to the on-hand managers who… Read more »
Guest

@charliecharlieh
Today 10:22 am

Shades of comrade Rákosi . . . !! A genuine 1950s commie artifact. :-)))

petofi
Guest

Orban knows one thing really well: Hungarians bend to the smell of money! And, as the central dispenser of all government favours, regardless of what that might be (a cigarette store; a principal’s position; a head of a theater…) Orban knows that none will give the cry, “The emperor has no clothes!”

petofi
Guest

In the future, Hungarian historians will designate this period as , ‘the post-ethical period of history’…

Guest
webber
Guest

Merényi Hospital, post-op recovery ward – more pics of what that room actually looks like here: http://444.hu/2015/05/20/steril-kornyezet-helyett-ez-jut-mutet-utan-egy-magyar-betegnek/

spectator
Guest

At least he wears checkered shirt!
Thumbs up for the teachers, yeah!

Istvan
Guest

A very good short article on the crisis of the Fidesz government educational bureaucracy http://nepszava.hu/cikk/1086905-kozmetikaznak-a-torzszulott-kliket

spectator
Guest

Any idea, where is that aesthetically confused, rather nauseating environment might be, where the above photo taken?
No wonder what came out of the interview…

webber
Guest

That’s the Prime Minister’s former office – now used by Orbán as a reception hall for guests. I see he has had the coverings on the chairs changed – much for the worse. They used to have a nauseating yellow velvet covering, but with no design. Where there what looks like a shield (Medieval Russian? Looks very much like something I saw once in the Kremlin), there used to be a large portrait of Kossuth. Orbán said he wanted that removed on his first day in office. The carpet has not been changed, nor has the wall paneling, which is the give-away.
You can see what the office used to look like here:
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webber
Guest

“Where there is..” my typing is getting sloppier and sloppier.
A story about Orbán’s feelings for the Kossuth painting is here:
http://www.origo.hu/itthon/20110224-szent-istvan-kiraly-es-egy-angyal-disziti-orban-dolgozoszobajat.html

webber
Guest

I just noticed that the “shield” has St Stephen’s Crown in one corner, Corvinus’s raven in another corner and what MIGHT be St George killing a black dragon in the center – so it’s definitely neither Russian nor Medieval. Nobody in medieval times would have made such a hash of symbols.
My guess is it’s something by one of Kerényi’s favorite artists. I suppose it’s too much to hope that St George is modeled on Orbán.

webber
Guest

The shield is def. not Russian – and is certainly a sort of modern shield/icon, with St Stephen’s Crown and Corvinus’s raven in the corners, and is that St George killing a black dragon?
Looks like something to Kerényi’s taste – a hash of Orthodox icon and Hungarian national symbols.

spectator
Guest

Av faux Russian style of shield then.
I couldn’t decipher the crown and the crow from the picture, but I accept your assessment.
The reference to the Kerényi pictography is fairly accurate — I was thinking along the same lines. If you think of the “Lovasroham” ( Cavalry attack ), that is.

However, the crowd of kitsches only reassure my opinion of his state of culture — that’s the way it goes in Orbanistan…

God have mercy..!

Guest

Monumental Kitsch is typical for right wingers (and extreme left wingers like Stalin too …), just look at the Nazi buildings and art that Hitler had commissioned.
And of course also flags – the more the merrier!
O seems to like them in dozens …
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spectator
Guest

Thank you webber!

I guss even the carpet changed, but it didn’t helped to compensate for the chair and the greener, mind you. I particularly like Orbán “light headed” appearance, due to those tasteful faux candles…

As I see the shield — indeed, you are right again — has taken the place of Kossuth. Further nice bit there the “Saint George and the Dragon” motive, or better to say “Чудо Георгия о змие” in this case.
Even if he has frighteningly provincial taste, he has the sense for symbolics, I allow that.
One must build his own mythology while still alive in order to have control over the everlasting image, long into the future, I’m afraid.

webber
Guest

Sure, but t’ain’t his imagery! St Stephen’s Crown is for all Hungarians. Nobody sane would associate it with Orbán (much as he has tried). The communists used Corvinus’s raven on all sorts of things (Corvinus publishing house), and anyone could use it now.
St George is available to anyone, but…
St George is the patron saint of the English, the Greeks, the Serbs, the Georgians, the Romanians, and a few others – but not the Hungarians. He was also Franz Ferdinand’s favorite saint (FF had a room full of his icons).
It’s just eclectic national illiteracy in gold and black. Not as bad, mind you, as Fidesz’s Archangel Gabriel statue (total nonsense, theologically – no sense to it whatsoever)
Remember this?
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webber
Guest

Can you imagine what a fuss Fidesz would have made if Gyurcsány had removed the picture of Kossuth and replaced it with something by a contemporary artist? They would have screamed themselves blue in the face about the insult to Kossuth and “the Hungarian people.”

Guest

webber
Today 4:13 pm

Yes, consistency after all is just a damned nuisance, the hobgoblin of little minds . . .

After all, why can’t black be white one minute and the exact opposite the next, so as to suit whatever convenience of the moment might need to be satisfied?

Guest

Rather OT – sorry if this has been discussed here before and I missed it.

One and a half years ago there was an article in the Swiss paper NZZ about those “Jewish Houses” in Budapest in 1944, Swiss diplomat Carl Lutz who saved many Jews then and a documentary made by Daniel von Aarburg about it:

http://www.nzz.ch/international/europa/die-vergessenen-judenhaeuser-in-budapest-1.18327066

That film contains interviews with people whose names we all know:
Zu Wort kommen zahlreiche Zeitzeugen, die dank Lutz den Holocaust überlebt haben, unter ihnen die Philosophin Agnes Heller, der Schriftsteller György Konrad und der Publizist Paul Lendvai.

webber
Guest

Again, two comments “awaiting moderation.”
Eva, if you have a moment, could you approve just one of them? Both would be too much, because they are much the same.

Member

Comparing Orbán to Hitler as I hope you’re not seriously trying to do is absurd and arbitrary. Why not compare Merkel to Hitler as she seems to be autocratic, going against the will of the majority of Germans and is side-lining parliament. Anybody can be compared to Hitler which is obvious by my suggesting the Merkel-Hitler analogy. It just isn’t very interesting or illuminating.

webber
Guest

hertfordbridge – Who is comparing Orbán with Hitler? Whoever is, is very wrong to do so.

Istvan
Guest

Actually Eva compared Orban’ use of nationalism to Hitler’s use of nationalism. She made no comparison to Hitler in other aspects. Her discussion of Kershaw’s 2 volume bio of Hitler also interested me since I have never read it.

Observer
Guest

@hertfordbridge Today 1:52 pm

Orban’s regime is or going to be soon a fascist state of the Mussolini type.
There are still remnants of the democratic structures (e.g. the ordinary courts) and unfinished elements (e.g. elections are held, no “Enabling act” yet).
Also time and place are very different so there are a lot of differences (e.g. Orban achieved total political corruption, no open group violence), but in essence the system is identical.

Guest

@hertfordbridge
Today 1:52 pm

I think you are setting up a strawman here that you can then knock down.

If you believe you might have read any such thing on this forum, it is either a case of misreading, misinterpretation or taking it out of context.

Ingeborg
Guest
Guest

Again something rather OT, but in this case, funny (at least I hope so).
The wiki on Kai Diekmann has a picture of him – is this the same guy with O?

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

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