Viktor Orbán turns up the volume

Viktor Orbán’s speeches have recurring themes: Hungary’s independence, a European Union of nation states, his opposition to the settlement of alien ethnic groups in Hungary, and his crusade against George Soros. His latest exhortation, delivered yesterday at the close of the national consultation “Stop Brussels,” was more of the same, just intensified. These themes were after all the underlying tenets of the government questionnaire with its spoon fed answers. Naturally, the national consultation was a roaring success: 90% of those who returned the questionnaire wholeheartedly supported the government.

Let’s stand up for Hungary

Viktor Orbán as Saint László

The speech began with a factual error. But what else is new? The Hungarian prime minister, who often portrays himself as a devout Christian, began the prepared section of his speech with this sentence: “Greetings to all on the birthday of Saint László, our king.” How handy, especially since the Orbán regime declared 2017 as the Saint László Memorial Year on the occasion of the 940th anniversary of his ascendance to the throne and the 825th anniversary of his canonization.

One doesn’t have to be a medieval historian to know that we almost never have accurate birth dates of early kings. Admittedly, it is on June 27 that Hungarian men named László celebrate their name day, but this doesn’t mean that King László I was actually born on that day. According to the large 12-volume Magyarország története published in the late 1980s, László was born somewhere in Poland around 1046. The new biographical dictionary is even more cautious; it places the date of his birth “sometime in the 40s.” Some less reliable internet sources, like the Hungarian Wikipedia, perpetuate the myth.

But, even though it is highly unlikely that László was born on June 27, the imagined occasion gave rise to some breathtaking comparisons. “Saint László strengthened the Hungarian state which protected us from external attacks and domestic cabals, secured our country’s independence by conducting realpolitik among great powers. Stop Brussels. He defended Hungarians from the destruction of nomadic peoples. Stop migrants. Following the guidance of St. Stephen, he strengthened the identity of the Hungarian state and the Hungarian nation. Stop Soros. Hungarians have been following this path and from this path we, today’s Hungarians, do not want to deviate.”

Viktor Orbán on German politics

After admitting that German-Hungarian relations are not in the best shape, Orbán recommended a suspension of all serious dialogue with Germany for at least three months because Hungary has no intention of getting involved in the German election campaign. But, he continued, “There are some people who want to drag us into it.” For example, “our good old friend and fan, Comrade Schulz, who, as a real Brusselite, found us difficult to take, or to be more precise, he became ill every time he heard about national independence and freedom. Now that he has returned to Germany and has been stumbling right and left, in fact, faces ignominious defeat, he wants to score points with German voters with bilious anti-Hungarian attacks. This is irresponsibility. A statesman doesn’t do such a thing, although it is possible that ambition doesn’t even figure in this case. We should keep cool; we should behave responsibly and not fall for the provocations of the German left. And at night we should say a quiet prayer for Angela Merkel’s victory. Yes, a personal sacrifice is sometimes necessary in the service of the nation.”

By way of background, Viktor Orbán is no fan of Angela Merkel. His media empire has portrayed the German chancellor in such an unfavorable light that, according to a recent poll, Hungarians have a lower opinion of Merkel than of Putin. One should also keep in mind that Martin Schulz over the years has taken a very strong stand against Hungary’s little Putin, and he swore that if elected chancellor he would not be as kind and forgiving as his opponent. Of course, Orbán would have been happiest if the German far right had managed to gain a significant following, but as things stand now, this is unlikely. However negatively Orbán views Angela Merkel, she is less of a threat than the social democratic Schulz would be.

George Soros and NGOs

In this speech Orbán manifested an intensified hatred of Soros and NGOs. He went so far as to accuse NGOs financed by foreigners of secretly organizing illegal immigration. They are “the Trojan horses of terrorism.” These “so-called NGOs are in fact parts of a mafia network.”

As for the latest Soros bashing, after calling a future United States of Europe the “Kingdom of Brussels,” he claimed that “where a kingdom is being built there are always kingmakers in the background.” They are normally exceptionally wealthy, powerful men who because of their wealth are “endowed with a feeling of superiority.” In this particular case, there is such a man in the background who considers himself to be superior, who is determined, a successful financier. His name is György Soros. “Unfortunately for us he is Hungarian,” and as such he is smart. He wants to bring millions of migrants to Europe. One can forget about the “humanitarian blah blah” because Soros is “a speculator who runs an extensive mafia network that endangers the peace and future of Europe. Migration is good business for him.” In Orbán’s opinion, Soros is angry at Hungary and angry at him because “we stand in the way of his great plan and his business interests.”

In the past, although Soros and his ideas may have been irritants, the Hungarian government didn’t raise objections to him openly. But now Soros has gone too far by financing organizations that transport migrants and a mafia net of human traffickers and NGOs. “This is no longer ideology; this is politics; this is a question of national security. And when the question is about the security of Hungarians, Hungarian families, and Hungary there is no pardon, there are no phony explanations, liberal babble, or philanthropic blah blah. There is only the law, power, and defense. And today we have to defend ourselves with the weight of the law and the power of the state.”

This was the first time that Orbán addressed the issue of possible anti-Semitism in connection with his attacks against George Soros. Naturally, he rejected such accusations. His opposition to Soros has nothing to do with ethnic origins. His government several times declared its “zero tolerance” for anti-Semitism. Therefore, “this swampy terrain should be abandoned as soon as possible,” especially since those who accuse the Hungarian government of anti-Semitism “actually dispatch tens of thousands of migrants” and with them import anti-Semitism into Europe. Orbán’s migrant policies actually serve the interest of the Jewish communities in Europe “even if they don’t stand openly by their own elementary interests and remain silent when unfair attacks are launched against Hungarians who are defending them.” In brief, he is accusing the European Jewish community of being ungrateful for the protection the Orbán government offers them.

Gáspár Miklós Tamás (TGM) called the speech pseudo-paranoid because, as he put it, “no rational man can believe all the foolishness that Orbán piled on his audience.” Surely, he cannot possibly believe everything he says, but “there is the probability that it will arouse real paranoia in his followers and his opponents. And that is distressing.” Orbán is systematically poisoning the souls of millions of Hungarians with outright lies about George Soros’s role in the refugee crisis.

June 28, 2017
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maxi
Guest

“Naturally, the national consultation was a roaring success: 90% of those who returned the questionnaire wholeheartedly supported the government.”

The actual result was well over 99%! The nation is united behind its leader.

Jean P.
Guest

Our doubt about numbers issued by a habitually lying Orban apart your conclusion lacks logic. All you can say is that many Hungarians support Orban on this particular issue. You cannot say anything about other issues much less about the socalled nation.

maxi
Guest

I was being sarcastic. Of course this whole “consultation” was a sham. It was a media gimmick and a dress rehearsal for the Fidesz-machinery.

Guest

The “nation” is not behind Orban- only those who are his thieves-in-arms and the gullible support him.
Thankfully, a large proportion of Hungarians stand resolutely for a more principled and ethical leader. And we hope the EU will help us to realise that sooner rather than later.

petofi
Guest

@ time4change

You’re fooling yourself: the average Hungarian is no better, ethically or morally, than Orban. Principally,
the congregation recognizes one of their own and so the support goes on and on.

The populace loves it that Orban allows, indeed, surreptitiously supports, a variety of anti-semitisms.
Of course, he’ll make a pronouncement saying that ‘we protect our jews!’. Notice that he didn’t say that ‘we protect our jewish citizens’. Ho-hum.

A psychologically sick leader, for a sick nation.

maxi
Guest

I’ve ben having serious doubts about TGM’s sanity.

Since when are voters rational? Or politicians for that matter?

OK, TGM is a liberal (or Marxist these days) philosopher who believes in the rationality of the cogito or whatever but after so many decades observing politics he should know better.

No politician on earth has ever won an election by rational arguments and rational policy debates. This is a liberal myth.

People respond to emotions and only to emotions. Orban and his cokehead billionaire advisor Arpad Habony instinctively know this (this is also what the Republicans know instinctively and the Democrats are unanimously clueless about it).

Hungarian people are now terrified of migrants, they hate the financial speculator Jew, they hope someone (a great, strong leader and father figure) will protect them.

Guess how much they want to debate the fine points of a health care reform?

It doesn’t matter what Orban may of may not think, he’s probably mad anyway.

Observer
Guest

Add the very successful exercises ofvrepeating blatant lies thousands of times to make them basic “truths” in Hun politics.
The dem side politicians should at least take some lessons in marketing and forget the TMGs or any other philosophers, professors of ethics or naive idealists.

Jean P.
Guest

Maxi. No politician on earth has ever won an election by rational arguments and rational policy debates.

You dont know what you are talking about.

maxi
Guest

I do know what I’m talking about. Only about 5-15% respond to rational argumentation the rest simply don’t. To the contrary, the more you’re lining up rational arguments the more they (sensing they are intellectually inadequate to counter your arguments) get convinced of their own opinion. Most people just *feel* they are right and would only get angry if you forced them to defend their point of view with rational arguments (most people didn’t go to college and don’t get the discourse of the university).

So most people simply cannot be persuaded by rational arguments. They need emotions and Orban and Habpny (and Art Finkelstein and co.) provide those to the masses. I’m also very rational, but I know most people aren’t. It’s high time for you to realize that too.

Member

The regulars again fall for a Turul Troll (“Maxi”).

Let me try to spell it out again: The troll always pretends to agree (“Orban bad!”) then proceeds to lament that his adversaries don’t do as Orban does.

It’s transparent nonsense, every time. Yet (some) regulars just keep taking the bait, so they end up arguing against themselves… Discussion topic successfully derouted…

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Jean P.
Guest

A mere suspect should be given the benefit of the doubt.

maxi
Guest

This (link below) is a rather old book from 2007 in economics (written before the Great Recession) by Princeton Press. I could suggest an entire library, but this isn’t the place for that.

Voters are not rational and they cannot be. They are human, most lack education, adequate information, numerous cognitive constraints apply and so on.

One example: voters simply cannot comprehend the stealing of 100,000,000,000 forints (what Orban only via his front Lőrinc Mészáros stole in the last few years) but they sure can imagine the stealing of a NOKIA box of cash (ie. the case of the Socialist deputy mayor of Budapest).

This is just one cognitive problem: the first one is an abstract number to be imagined by people who hate maths and based on their everyday life simply have no way of estimating it how much 100bn forint is and the other is easy blue image (since at that time most people had Nokia phones and remembered the blue colored box they held in their hands).

People respond to emotions. As every political advisor will tell you MLK had a dream and a not a plan.

http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8756.html

Observer
Guest

Jean P.

I’m surprised by your reaction, Maxi is spot on here.
Pls name some elections in the world won on programs and rational debates (outside Germany, Benelux and Scandinavia)?
Maxi gave a great example – the most comprehensive health care reform was discussed ad naseum here in 2006/7 only to be shot by the cheapest of populism. Analyse Trump, Brexit, earlier Erdogan victories, etc.

Stevan
The ad hominem is quite frivolous here.

Jean P.
Guest

I am a Scandnavian. My reaction stems from my knowledge of how democracy works in my country which is rich and happy because no populist ever got at foothold there.

Maxi’s declaration that “no politician on earth has ever won an election by rational arguments and rational policy debates” is nonsense where I come from.

Observer
Guest

Good for u, but yours is the exception ( to some extent, as Scandinavians are people too). Unfortunately in most of the world politics work the way maxi described, it’s basic psychology.
Try reading “Thinking Fast and Slow” or simply something on advertising/marketing.

aida
Guest

The stuff shows that he is not only daft but seriously out of his depth. When I first saw it in Hungarian last evening I thought it was a cabaret act by someone sending up the great leader. I do not feel it merits any discussion, save by the doctors whether he is in need of medical attention.
Can we be sure this rubbish is genuine?

wrfree
Guest

The ‘campaign’ appears to be on and the slogan is ‘vigyaz!’. The attack has begun full tilt. With so many enemies and antagonists floating around it looks as if Magyarorszag could be running around like a chicken without its head or a robot going amok as suspicions and the threats multiply.

If Magyarorszag is a plane it appears to be in a state of auto-pilot with its harangues. And the cap’n in the cabin needs to be observed. The apparent ‘ear- worms’ of Soros, refugees, Brussels, EU, etc etc may drive VO and the country into a spinning vertigo. That’s what happens when things get severely and seriously ‘unbalanced’ in the kingdom.

exTor
Guest
Well, maxi has weighed in ponderously, if somewhat cynically, on this post10th-anniversary article. While it is true that voter irrationality plays heavily in elections, whether in Hungary or in the United States, voters are ultimately ‘rational’ in their selections. In the complex that was the 2016 US presidential election, the blackhole that is Donald Trump sucked all the oxygen of attention, thereby depriving other Republican candidates of necessary sustenance. In Clinton versus Trump, the Donald lucked in by getting most of the Electoral College votes despite getting almost 3-million-fewer votes. Arguably, the most ‘rational’ voter choice, Bernie Sanders, was bumped out of the finals, leading to the ‘irrationality’ of many BS supporters voting DJT. Hungarian rationality (as with any other form of national rationality) stems from a populist push, from the relentless Fidesz propaganda machine that stokes emotion, the antithesis of rationality. Jobbik’s ‘They steal’ campaign similarly plays on emotion, however it has a logical component to it, a doubly effective antiFidesz jab, hence the enacting of the billboard law. Voter breakdown is not a one-size-fits-all. Some voters purely ponder, others purely react. When deep-seated national [Magyar] antisemitism is thrown into the mix, emotion [irrationality] ascends. I mostly support maxi… Read more »
Observer
Guest

Not only Csepel, but I, Ii, XII.
In the rear debates with fidesz supporters I’m stunned how these middle class, higher education people would repeat such nonsense (even if not so convinced). Their hatred however is genuine and once switched on they go completely deaf and blind to even facts, let alone rational argument. There are of course more than 2 mil voters sitting on the line and they are the real campaign target.

Istvan
Guest
PM Orban’s questionable use of dates for the birthday of Saint László is interesting, because the official designation of the Saint’s birthday by the Catholic Church in Rome is July 29 and feast day is officially June 27. Believe it or not I had to memorize that as part of my Hungarian school training as a Catholic school boy in Chicago. Since PM Orban is supposedly a Calvinist, and his parents did not appear to be devout he joined communist youth organization (KISZ) so he had no real Sunday school training, certainly not in Catholic doctrine. There is some geological evidence that László was born on June 20 and there are references to the Gesta Hungarorum as a source for that date, while that historic document is on line I have no idea of the validity of that claim. (Eva discussed the Gesta Hungarorum in this essay http://hungarianspectrum.org/2012/09/30/fighting-the-devil-viktor-orbans-speech-on-st-michaels-day/ ). What is most interesting in relationship to Eva’s reference is why Rome likely canonized László to begin with. Property, privileges, rights (liberties) and obligations were recognized throughout the Middle Ages as deriving from the auctoritas of the first monarch according to my limited understanding of that historical period. With papal permission… Read more »
Istvan
Guest

Obviously not “geological” the auto correct system can be maddening.

exTor
Guest

I dont see the point of autocorrect, Istvan. Most respondents to this forum can spell more than adequately. I myself dont use it, for (amongst other reasons) it would defeat my unique spellings, such as ‘aint’, ‘cant’, ‘dont’, ‘shant’, etcetera. Additionally, I can touchtype, which means that I catch mistakes on the fly. I presume that you proofread, as one should.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Istvan
Guest

Rarely on these posts do I carefully proof read them.

wrfree
Guest

It’s certainly possible Kiraly Orban feels that ‘supernatural’ vibe. This could be the ‘secular’ side of it….Onward Christian soldiers for God and country.

These frescoes of St Laszlo (perhaps now the patron saint of Fidesz?) are apparently in many churches there in Magyarorszag.

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Observer
Guest

Orban has acute complexes (caused by fruits of small stature+impertinence, lowly and provincial social origin, abusive father, etc) which he obsessively compensates:
note the constant use of big, strong, historical, pride, claims for respect, allusions past rulers. Note his intolerance to criticism or humor, his personal vindictiveness.

Same for using the names of aristocrats or notables names: plans are Szeczèny, Festetitsc, Klebersbert, Szèll K, etc.
Orban couldn’t outgrow the half gypsy boy from the end-of-the row mud house.

Gurtny
Guest

Merkel is like the EU – a fantastic punching bag. Neither Germany nor the EU cares or can do anything about it.

Delta sounds
Guest

I am a day late and a dollar short congratulating Hungarian Spectrum on its 10th anniversary, but I wonder if Professor Balogh might more dramatically improve Hungary’s standing in the world if she were appointed that troubled nation’s president to bring it more civility, public decency and honesty which the current regime has stolen from its long-suffering people. Short of that, may she remain president for life of this magnificent blog. Congratulations.

Member

Orbáns message doesnt bear much rational analysis.
It is pure Orbán, a simple message for a simple people:

“Hate the blacks, Arabs, Muslims…
Hate Soros
Hate the EU, hate the West and their multicultural, liberal, interfering democracies.
Hate Soros,
Hate Jobbik (because they are the *real* nazis, dont you know....
Hate Soros,
Hate the NGOs, telling us not to abuse human rights, who do they think they are?
Hate Soros and if all that fails the one call to hatred that historically has never failed in Hungary..
Hate the Jews!
Hate! Hate! Hate!"

As I said, a simple message for his simple people.

"Magyarorszag, Eros and Buszke"?
Don
t make laugh, “Hungary, Weak and Cowardly” is bang on the button.

Member

Erös and büszke.
Week and cowardly.

I have seen a photo from a poster, which was modified like this:

Zero es büszke.

Say it loud:
I’m Zero and proud!

petofi
Guest

Apparently, some sort of machinery was sighted on Mars. The leaders of the free world, anticipating the imminent arrival of extra-terrestials, are hastily calling a meeting to implore Hawking to contact the newcomers and tell them to go away and return after the Trump presidency…

petofi
Guest

On second thought, the foreigners should be begged to arrive now. They’ll laugh themselves silly and consider that it’s more fun to keep earthlings alive…

Observer
Guest

Let me remind of other jems:

I’ve never lied.
We stabilized the forint (2010 Sept. after going from 275 down to 310 against the Euro)
Our development is the envy of Europe.
We shall become the manufacturing engine of Europe.
Semyen – Our healthcare system attracts the attention of the world.

So much for facts and rational debate.

Ferenc
Guest
Yesterday heard somebody saying that if in OV’s speech Soros is replaced by Orbán, it all looks, reads and sounds very true. As the speech is very long, here’s the first ‘Soros part’, in which I did that exchange (including some related words, e.g.speculator=>leader, Hungary=>Europe): “Ladies and Gentlemen, But wherever a kingdom is being built, in the background there are always kingmakers. Throughout history these have usually been extremely rich, powerful, influential people whose wealth also inflicts a sense of superiority upon them. They’re usually far from being democrats, because their plans for saving – or at least changing – the world often come up against the resistance of the people, who do not wish to be used as guinea pigs. In terms of intellectual progress they can hardly be blamed for their resistance. In the background now there is also one such determined and successful money man, who regards himself as a superior being. Unfortunately for us he happens to be Hungarian, and his name is Viktor Orbán. This is unfortunate, because it could also be seen as an internal Hungarian dispute; but in fact we are standing waist-deep in the turbulent waters of a dispute about the future… Read more »
Observer
Guest

Big TNX. Spot on.

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