András Lánczi: What others call corruption is the raison d’être of Fidesz

Yesterday U.S. Ambassador Colleen Bell gave a speech at the Central European University about American perspectives on migration, security, and foreign policy. There was a lot of talk about the rule of law, democracy, equality, and human rights, and naturally about “the cancer of corruption.” The ambassador highlighted once again the obvious negative effects of corruption. “It hurts economic growth, it alienates and angers citizens. Business owners can’t compete when the rules favor a select few with strong ties to a government. Citizens feel betrayed when their taxes are being used to line the pockets of public servants, elected officials, and their family members, instead of providing the services and security that citizens pay for and require from the state.”

Of course, Colleen Bell’s description of the kind of corruption that exists in Hungary is correct, but I’m afraid that these repeated warnings will have no effect whatsoever on the systemic corruption of the Orbán government–for the simple reason that corruption is the raison d’être of the regime. This opinion doesn’t come from some ill-willed critic of Viktor Orbán’s political system but from the chief ideologist of the regime, András Lánczi, who was just chosen to be the next president of Corvinus University at Viktor Orbán’s request. An odd choice because Lánczi is allegedly a political philosopher and Corvinus is supposed to turn out economists.

Lánczi came late to philosophy. As a student he was a triple major in English, Hungarian, and history, and after graduation he taught high school in Budapest for years. In 1986, however, without any formal training in philosophy, he got a job as an editor of Világosság, a philosophical review which by self-definition was anti-religious. It was József Lukács, the editor-in-chief of Világosság, who invited him to join the staff. Lukács’s own “philosophical training” consisted of finishing the communist party’s Marxist “college” (pártfőiskola) in 1949.

It was only after the regime change that Lánczi’s scholarly career was launched. Attila Ágh, a political scientist today close to MSZP, invited him to teach at the institution now known as Corvinus. His first published works, translations of a couple of books of Leo Strauss, appeared in 1994. A blog writer who is highly critical of Lánczi described him as someone “who before the regime change had carried on about the necessity of communist-Christian dialogue but then quickly switched to the worldview of [the anti-Semitic] István Csurka’s dramas. This is how he became the leader of the half-educated Hungarian elite’s conservative section who now can lay the moral foundations of Viktor Orbán’s new order.” The blog writer compares him to Martin Heidegger, who all his post-war life tried to explain the inexplicable, why he offered his services to Hitler. Heidegger, however, can be understood without Hitler, but “Lánczi doesn’t even exist without Orbán.” After reading some of his “philosophical conversations” that have appeared of late, I have to agree with the blogger.

Lánczi gave a long interview to Magyar Idők, the slavishly pro-government paper, in December, during which he explained that the “alleged corruption” is not corruption in the ordinary meaning of the word.

Was the communist nationalization after 1948 corruption or the privatization of regime change after 1989? What [the critics of the Orbán regime] call corruption in practical terms is the most important policy goal of Fidesz. What do I mean? The government puts forth such goals as the creation of a domestic entrepreneurial class, or the building of the pillars of a strong Hungary in agriculture and industry…. [The critics] call that corruption…. Corruption has thirteen or fourteen different definitions, but among them there is no such thing as corruption when we do something in the interest of the nation. One can call it corruption, but whoever makes that claim is deceiving himself…. That’s why it is a mistake to use the expression “mafia state.” What comes to mind when one hears the word “mafia”? The physical annihilation of one’s enemies. Who got killed here, I ask.

Lánczi is right that the wholesale nationalization of most private property after 1948 cannot be called corruption. It was expropriation, confiscation, stealing. And yes, it was an important part of the regime’s very existence, which strove to bring about blissful communism. We can also go back in time and recall the Horthy regime’s resolve from its inception to curb the “Jewish predominance in industry, commerce, and the so-called free professions.” This resolve was eventually translated into the seizure of all Jewish property. Surely, it was part of the ideology of the regime. Did this make it right or acceptable? Of course not.

András Lánczi / Source: HVG / Photo: Ákos Stiller

András Lánczi / Source: HVG / Photo: Ákos Stiller

Of late Lánczi has been giving one interview after the other. One such outrageous discussion took place in Gábor G. Fodor’s By the way, G. Fodor was Lánczi’s favorite student, with whom he even published a book in 2009. Lánczi outlined his belief that “we,” I guess Viktor Orbán and his followers, are working on “the moral foundations of a new order.” Their “morality” is not, however, what we normally think of. In his radically relativistic opinion, “everybody possesses morality. The only question is what he considers to be such.” Thus in Lánczi’s world, calling corruption part of the moral foundation of Orbán’s system is entirely reasonable and defensible.

Lánczi also has interesting ideas about public and private money. Critics of György Matolcsy are upset about the chairman of the Hungarian National Bank funneling huge sums of public money into private foundations, but Lánczi asks: “What is the money of György Soros? Where does a speculator’s money come from? Let’s say that through shorting one fleeces the British treasury. In that case, one creates private out of public money. Isn’t it so?” Or later on. “I’m no great Soros expert, but it is worth taking a look at his biography. He was a totally average fellow for some time until one day he appeared out of nowhere like a meteor. At that point something must have happened. Somebody for some reason put him in this position. He received such means that he managed to achieve fame and fortune.” What a primitive conspiracy theory, and what ignorance of the financial world. And this man is the chief ideologist of Orbán. We shouldn’t be surprised that the prime minister himself is so muddle-minded.

As one commentator remarked, Lánczi’s explanation of corruption means that “Fidesz steals not only our money but also our right to become outraged.” Indeed, in Lánczi’s world anything goes.

May 18, 2016
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May 19, 2016 2:17 am

“. . . there is no such thing as corruption when we do something in the interest of the nation.”

The interest of the nation is revealed to Orban by God.

R. Ray
R. Ray
May 19, 2016 3:37 am

Just an editorial correction, correct link to Bell’s talk is

May 19, 2016 3:48 am

Cmon, comparing Heidegger, one of the most profound philosophers of all time , certainly of the 20th century in any way, shape or form to Lánczi…

Yeah, and G. Fodor Gábor is a like Aristotle but with a sharp pen or Tibor Navracsics is like Foucault only straight and fidesznik…

Lánczi has absolutely no scholarly output to speak of. He is a total scientific nobody. He is a thoroughly corrupt party hack, who thinks of himself as an intellectual. That’s all.

May 19, 2016 5:20 am

Absolutely agree.
E.g. the short quotation above is shallow nonsense, I guess offered to explain away or at least muddle the issue of the unbridled corruption raging in the Orban’s mafia state.
These statements could be useful later in a court of law to prove the intent and conspiracy to embezzle, to swindle public wealth – i.e. the mafia state.

Lanczi is just another free loader, run of the mill orban end-product “who thinks himself an intellectual” with his primitive logical games.

May 19, 2016 1:48 pm


Quite so.

In my 67 years of perambulation, I have discovered certain ‘tells’: people who know naught of what they speak…or people who are fibbing and have been discovered, raise the decibel of their discourse upon such an eventuality. It never fails. People who raise their voice and try to support their view by the strength of their intimidation, I have found, to be always dissembling; and attempting to hide the weakness (or falseness) of what they are saying.

This is particularly true of this vast, motherlode of ‘szelhamos’ (swindling) Hungaricoes, of which there is massive surplus in Magyarland.

May 19, 2016 3:49 am

Corruption approved again from the “highest” place:

Orban regards the almost one billion euros MNB chairman Matolcsy stashed away in his foundations as Matolcsy’s bonus (“commission”) for good job done. Orban only asks Matolcsy to communicate better about the good things the foundations do.

May 19, 2016 3:53 am

Fidesznik’s favourite US Presidential candidate has appointed his campaign finance chairman who happens to have started his hedge fund with Soros’ wealth

What could this conspiratorial-minded lot have to say about this?

May 19, 2016 4:27 am

There is an interesting exchange on

Former chairman of MNB Suranyi wrote a long, seven-part article criticizing the policies of
MNB from 2001 on, including the current leadership.

“Desire and reality – the failures of the monetary policies of the MNB”

MNB tries to refute some of his arguments:

Suranyi points out that while the GROSS external debt
[with respect to the GDP, let me add]
might have shown a decline [using lots of tricks],
the NET external debt has NOT.
He supports looking at the the indicator
[MNB international reserves – gross debt].
This is exactly what I tried to calculate in the last few days.

[Tricks: new calculation resulting in a higher denominator= GDP,
hiding some of the debt in places like Eximbank,
confiscating and spending almost 10 billion euros from the private retirement funds of people – to name a few]

May 19, 2016 5:07 am

GDP at current prices:
2009: 26,258.700 billion HUF
2015: 33,711,840

Gross debt of the central government, as measured by MNB:
2010-03-31: 21,876.6
2016-03-31: 34,463.4

Net debt of the central government, as measured by MNB:
2010-03-31: 16,310.1
2016-03-31: 25,524.4

(Gross [net] debt, end of1st quarter)/ (previous year GDP):
2010-03-31: 83.31% [62.11%]
2016-03-31: 102.23% [75.71%]

Without counting the confiscated and spent retirement funds as debt
(they were valued by MNB at 2,842.3 on March 31, 2016):
2016-03-31: 93.80% [67.28%]

May 19, 2016 5:46 am

(Gross [net] debt MINUS international reserves)/ (previous year GDP):
2010-03-31: 48.97% [27.77%]
2016-03-31: 77.60% [51.08%]

On the other hand, Treasury always counts much less debt.
(Gross debt MINUS international reserves)/ (previous year GDP):
2010-03-31: 39.58%
2016-03-31: 50.93%

The final number, the last resort, calculated from the Treasury data:
(Gross NON-FORINT debt MINUS international reserves)/ (previous year GDP):
2010-03-31: -0.61% [numerator = -161.09 billion HUF]
2016-03-31: -0.35%, [numerator = -116.96 billion HUF]

May 19, 2016 12:46 pm

M8atolcsy’s dubious techniques and desires to move money to foundations and not include full disclosure of Eximbank debt has ramifications and echo’s of the crash of 2008 and of the Enron scandal.

Too many companies were willing to shove debt into ‘off-balance sheet’ vehicles that hid liabilities – even sectioned by the Big Four auditing companies – and which were contributory factors to the later instability of Global Banks.

It certainly did for Enron – where the whistleblower was only heeded when it was too late.

M8atolcsy’s ‘unorthodox policies’ – a euphemism for ‘Hide The Money’ – have already been proven to be snake oil.

Whistleblowers are cowed after what happened to the NAV whistleblower – if indeed there are any.

I can hear the distant sound of a long slow car crash on the Hungarian horizon.


[…] via András Lánczi: What others call corruption is the raison d’être of Fidesz — Hungarian Spectr… […]

May 19, 2016 9:08 am

But of course, the Jew and the communist Muslim African are behind the migration problems in Europe. Get it? The migrants are African and Muslim.

The American president is actually a Kenyan-born Muslim who forged his birth certificate and who shouldn’t have been a president in the first place, but Soros put him there. Now they are targeting Christian Europe and Hungary.

Ms. Bell was right to appease Orban, the Hungarian government is indeed a loyal ally and a reliable friend. Muhahahhahahahahaha.

May 19, 2016 9:59 am

And Soros accelerates the global warming to push more migrants into Hungary and to spoil Orban’s day..
Yes, I heard it on the market from a lady, who reads Magyar Idők …

May 19, 2016 12:56 pm

‘Sfunny! I heard that it is Soros’ fault that Orban’s Choo Choo train doesn’t get 7000 passengers day because he’s put a spell on it – and Israel has built a nuclear bunker under a section of the railway line – no one would dream of looking there.

I heard it on Echo TV.

It must be true – because it’s appeared on David Icke’s website too.

May 19, 2016 1:03 pm


May 19, 2016 3:19 pm

“White House spokesman Josh Earnest said he was unaware of Lazar’s comments, but added: ‘I’m not sure they’re worthy of a response.'”

May 19, 2016 9:16 am

Re: ‘….indeed in Lanczi’s world anything goes’

Not immediately evident but as we view his reformulation and revision of the concept of human ethics and moralities it could be a sure bet if things get hot under Fideszian collars that Lanczi-Bacsi would have no qualms say moving to some sort of Dostoyevskian concept of ‘everything is permitted’ when ‘virtue’ ceases to exist. Europe and the US must await the circumstances.

And regarding the ambassador’s remarks, I thought they spoke to the many issues confronting Magyar-US relations. The only disjunct I find is how in any sense of rational communication could the ambassador’s great concerns relate and get through to individuals such as Lanczi. Really his moral squint glints askew and is grievously disrupted as a result of his outlook. Judgment: the US message like a snowball through hell will never ever get through. At bottom we are dealing with a new concept of human beings with much much different intellectual proclivities. I’m supposedly related but sorry to say I do not know these people.

May 19, 2016 12:24 pm
London Calling! “Thus in Lánczi’s world, calling corruption part of the moral foundation of Orbán’s system is entirely reasonable and defensible….” This is a belief system entirely at odds with any (but ANY) definition of democracy. But entirely consistent with a Commocracy. (And nothing like a Mafia State btw as I’ve said many times before on here – on this Lánszi is correct.) That a belief system like this even exists in Hungary is shocking. That it exists in a country which – for the moment – is part of the EU is equally shocking. That the EU knows it too – and keeps the Camel inside the tent pissing out – rather than outside the tent – to keep a dialogue open with Putin via the Camel: Hungary is more than shocking. Putin is a war criminal whom Orban is happy to do business with whilst ignoring the spirit of sanctions against Russia. Orban is a traitor leading a traitor nation with warped ideas of what democracy is. A full on nation of corrupt self-interest robbing the electorate blind. Which is, of course, ok for the electorate because they voted for this Commocracy. But not for the tax payers… Read more »
May 19, 2016 12:09 pm

Orban in 1989:

Q: How do you make a living?
A: I am getting a 10 thousand forint a month scholarship from the Soros foundation.
In addition, I receive 5 to 10 thousand forints for editorial work from “Szazadveg Inc”

Q: Do you think Fidesz should organize into a party?
A: In my opinion, this is out of question. The youth have had enough with hierarchical

May 19, 2016 12:32 pm


May 19, 2016 1:01 pm

Would you buy a car off this man?

May 19, 2016 1:02 pm


May 19, 2016 2:45 pm

OT: Trump is now more popular than Clinton (Fox News), admittedly that’s a national poll but Trump will carry the Mid-West easily on white working class anger. Trump has the momentum, Clinton is struggling. By the way Trump’s nominees for SCOTUS are crazy conservative and since Congress will remain in firm Republican hands, the chances are that there will be a Conservative Reconstruction after the New Deal century. In a way that is absolutely against the wishes of the people, but people are not rational. Democrats always wondered why would people vote against their ‘interests’. They just like Trump and and are angry. Trump is the insurgent anti-establishment candidate, Clinton is the continuation with the Ivy League elite. This is not a good position to be in these days.

May 19, 2016 3:22 pm

Faux news? Come on!
If Trump really becomes POTUS – then I give up hope! Here are a few examples of Trump’s racism:
The first is more than 40 years old:
According to the New York Times, one of Trump’s first newspaper appearances was in 1973, when the Trump Management Corporation was sued by the Department of Justice and charged for violating the Fair Housing Act of 1968:

“The government contended that Trump Management had refused to rent or negotiate rentals ‘because of race and color,’ ” The Times reported. “It also charged that the company had required different rental terms and conditions because of race and that it had misrepresented to blacks that apartments were not available.”
And here’s a nice montage I found on a Hungarian (!) tumblr site:

May 19, 2016 6:07 pm

O/T Tappanch!

The forint is plummeting!

317 to the €
412 to the £
385 to the CHF

What’s M8tolcsy doing?