Skinheads here, skinheads there

Never a dull moment. Yesterday, a convicted felon was elected to serve as one of the five deputies to the president of the Hungarian parliament. An outcry followed in opposition circles, especially since Viktor Orbán himself voted for the appointment of Tamás Sneider (Jobbik). A few hours later Magyar Nemzet found a skinhead in MSZP: Zsolt Molnár, who served as chairman of the parliamentary committee on national security in the last four years and who was supposed to continue in this capacity in the new session. What a coincidence!

It was on October 23, 1992 that Hungarian TV viewers could see a rather large far-right crowd, skinheads and others, who ultimately managed to prevent President Árpád Göncz from delivering his speech on the national holiday. People were shocked at this first sign of a far-right movement in Hungary. Magyar Televizíó, the only television station in existence then, filmed the event. After they aired their report, government officials accused the producers of falsifying the event. 168 Óra, a weekly magazine, ran a long story on the demonstration decrying the appearance of neo-Nazi ideas among Hungarian youth. The magazine published several pictures to accompany the story. As it so happened, on one of the pictures was a young hooded man. He was just a high school student at the time but, according to his classmates, he was deeply interested in politics and, as they recall, he sympathized with the right. According to one old friend, he was an MDF (the government party) supporter, while another remembered that he was a follower of István Csurka. (At the time István Csurka was still a member of MDF, so the two recollections are not necessarily in conflict.) The young man was none other than Zsolt Molnár, today a very important man in MSZP.

As Zsolt Molnár recalls, he was excited that his picture appeared in such an important publication as 168 Óra. He even boasted about it to his family and friends. He made sure that there were several copies to go around. But this was an isolated incident of “fame,” followed by years of obscurity as he went to law school, worked first as a prosecutor and then as a lawyer in private practice. Ten years later, it seems, he decided that his true place was in MSZP. In 2004 he became a party member and from there on his political career was uninterrupted and hugely successful.

Molnár naturally doesn’t deny that he was present at the anti-Göncz demonstration, but he denies that he was a skinhead. His accusers claim that skinheads in those days wore hoodies–I guess to cover their bald heads–and Molnár wore one. Molnár claims that he covered his head because it was raining. I checked the weather forecast for October 23, 1992 and, yes, it was raining. In fact, it rained in Budapest for four solid days. Not only, he says, wasn’t he a skinhead; he claims that he didn’t even know any skinheads. He was only a Honvéd (Kispest) football fan; they called themselves “the Ultras.” Honvéd was Ferenc Puskás’s club, by the way. Even his former classmates deny that he had anything to do with skinheads.

Zsolt Molnár with his youthful picture and plenty of hair

Zsolt Molnár with his youthful picture and plenty of hair

The timing, as always with Fidesz, is perfect. MSZP refuses to vote for Tamás Sneider because he was a skinhead? And what about your Zsolt Molnár? He was a skinhead too.

I can’t help wondering whether the Molnár affair is the third “sin” of MSZP that Fidesz people promised to uncover. The first was the infamous Baja video and the second the Gábor Simon case. (In passing, a quick update on the latter. Since the initial flurry of  accusations and counter-accusations, there’s not been a word about the case. Gábor Simon is still in jail, but no one is interested in his case. According to his lawyer, he has been interrogated only once since his arrest on March 10, and we just learned that his infamous African passport doesn’t exist. Or, at least, it is not in the possession of the prosecution.) Is it possible that Fidesz got wind of Molnár’s picture a long time ago and just waited for the best possible moment to use this evidence? I think that’s a likely scenario. If this was indeed the third strike and if the promise of three strikes against MSZP is true, perhaps we will be spared more discoveries of MSZP “wrongdoings”–at least for awhile.

In any case, MSZP is scrambling again. Molnár has asked for another security clearance, the so-called C-type, which is the most thorough. He had already been checked out twice before and no problems were uncovered. However, even if he passes with flying colors, it might already be too late to salvage the situation. DK spokesman Zsolt Gréczy admits that Sneider’s case is a great deal more serious than Molnár’s demonstrating against President Göncz and yelling “You have lied enough!” Molnár, in his opinion, was just a misguided youngster. However, “if the Hungarian left wants to be an alternative to Fidesz, we must be consistent, which may require difficult decisions. Therefore, the Demokratikus Koalicíó thinks that Zsolt Molnár should not be the chairman of the parliamentary committee on national security.”

The opposition parties continue their squabbles. DK is taking a position against MSZP in this case, while Együtt2014-PM is outraged that MSZP joined Fidesz-KDNP, Jobbik, and LMP in nominating Sneider to the deputy-president position. Mind you, MSZP wasn’t exactly generous toward their former allies. They could have helped E14 and DK have their own parliamentary delegations, but they didn’t. Oh well, as I said, never a dull moment.

Advertisements

33 comments

  1. If we posit that MSZP, led by Mesterhazy, is in the Fidesz breadline…than the revelations about the skinhead, about Gabor Simon; and MSZP’s refusal the lend parliamentary members
    are not really a surprise, are they?

  2. why should we send Zsolt Molnar into retirement? is there a statue of limitation?
    he proved that the power of salvation is great in mszp, so all is fine.
    as a trial, we should send all skinheads through an mszp school.

  3. Interesting article about Máté Kocsis, Fidesz’ communication director, who decided not to become an MP and who now concentrates on the municipality of district 8 of which he is the mayor.

    Kocsis also used to be a skinhead.

    And about one particular apartment in Falk Miksa street where all the young fascists used to gather. Interesting location, by the way.

    http://ultrasliberi.hu/amikor-kocsis-mate-meg-fasiszta-volt/

  4. Remember when someone said a couple of weeks ago that the search of Jewish Hungarians for new identities (after the Holocaust, it was mentioned, but the questioning of their Hungarian identity was actually a longer process, which started already at the beginning of the 20th century) was more or less the same process as the current search for identity by the younger generations/lower classes who all seek to find that in Jobbik and the extreme right wing ideology?

    Tamás Gáspár Miklós just wrote the following at a leftist intellectual blog:

    “A két világháború közötti zsidó fiatalság a szocialista és kommunista mozgalmakban találta meg új vallását és „identitását”, a II. világháború után egy darabig a totalitárius Pártban, 1989 óta az új liberalizmusban.”

    “The Jewish younger generations of the inter-war era found their new religon and “identity” in the socialist and communist movements, after WWII, for a while, in the totalitarian Party and since 1989 in the new liberalism.”

    Politics is an identity issue especially for those whose situation is precarious, the young who are anyway in an an age when identity is sought for (and for whom there are just no jobs currently) and the people whose world has been collapsing with them in the last 25 years (about 75% of the population in Hungary — for millions of people the work place they used to work prior to retirement just does not exist any more, as if their own history was wiped out).

    The current left-wing parties do not realize that and they never will.

    The Hungarian left-wing will never be able to provide an identity and thus a community for anybody and thus people will find the answers in the right-wing which is proficient in providing those.

  5. BB958: “The Hungarian left-wing will never be able to provide an identity and thus a community for anybody and thus people will find the answers in the right-wing which is proficient in providing those.”

    Identity à la Fidesz = cheap electricity

  6. @Jean P

    cheap electricity is only a sign.

    Most people interpreted it as a sign that the government is finally taking care of issues which are “important to the people”. It was more important that the money itself.

    Not debating rule of law, corruption, EU and suchlike as the left loves to debate everything to death without being able to take firm action. The most fundamental image and characteristics of the left is the neverending and unrelenting töketlenkedés, the inability to lead and decide. You can never get disappointed if you assume that a leftist party will be weak, ineffectual and without balls, impotent (ie. töketlen) about an issue.

    Cheap utilities was action on “important” issues. The left just does not have any messages as to the important issues. None. Zilch. Fidesz at least gave this.

    Granted Fidesz’ proposed identity is more blurry than that of Jobbik, but community a la CÖF, Albert Wass, nationalism, showing to the EU finally, university freshmen parties with cool kids, and what have you are actually quite helpful.

    The left has nothing. It is not like they started to immediately do something after this historic loss (i.e. MSZP was the no. 3 party after Fidesz and Jobbik, if you counted it as a separate party).

    Remember: when Orban lost in 2002, the very next day everything was about the civil circles, the polgári körök. There was no waiting, no philosophizing, but it was about immediate action. About demanding money from the supporters and others and organizing like crazy. It worked.

    Forget the Hungarian left, they have no clue, no vision, nothing. And now not even money. I mean how will they even survive the debt they amassed if not via sources originating from Fidesz? They have no access to EU funds (except for what Fidesz provides for them purposefully in exchange for some petty backroom deal), no money from supporters, and no sane business entity would dare to give to them (as the government would immediately retaliate, but why would they give anyway? To allow Mesterházy, Zsolt Molnar and whoever, to continue his impotent activities? The Hungarian left is over.

  7. “The Hungarian left is over.”

    What about the right wing? Aren’t they over as well? Is Mafia rule a proper substitution for a right-wing philosophy?

  8. Hungary–the leading edge of Idiocy.

    Life in the post-democratic, post “rule of law”…world.

    ‘Give them fantasy and illusions of self-sufficiency, and ‘bread’ will take care of itself.’

  9. tappanch, that is a good point. Politics is effectively over in Hungary. There is no longer a government but a regime. And any arguments about the left or the right seems futile now.

  10. The Pavlovians at KGB headquarters are cackling in their vodka: who would’ve expected that the ‘clever’ Hungarians would make such great mice?!

  11. “They have no access to EU funds (except for what Fidesz provides for them purposefully in exchange for some petty backroom deal), no money from supporters, and no sane business entity would dare to give to them”

    No. The left has a huge amount of money. It is only right-wing nitpicking that they are in financial trouble. They will be easily over this debt, unfortunately.

  12. BB958
    May 7, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    “A két világháború közötti zsidó fiatalság a szocialista és kommunista mozgalmakban találta meg új vallását és „identitását”, a II. világháború után egy darabig a totalitárius Pártban, 1989 óta az új liberalizmusban.”
    ______

    Are you saying that Orban, Kover and their friends are all of Jewish decent? Interesting theory. The last I read about this theory was when I stumbled upon a kuricinfo article. Orban certainly fits the bill of his family serving the communists, then he himself serving he communists, then he becomes a liberal, and now wherever the wind blows. Most Fidesz member served the communists one way or another (hence being the only party not wanting to release those famous secret documents that would reveal “who was who”. But you claiming that were all Jewish, is maybe going to far.

    [sarcasm]

  13. Johnny Boy
    May 8, 2014 at 5:23 am
    No. The left has a huge amount of money. It is only right-wing nitpicking that they are in financial trouble. They will be easily over this debt, unfortunately.
    _______

    Facts? Resources? or this is one of those factual Johnny Boy theories.
    Do not forget Johnny Boy does not argue with people who has no facts, because he does!

  14. Here is the thing, I would not want Fidesz to disappear, as I would not want most parties to disappear as long as they do not support or call for extremist views. Yes, some party would need a healthy reform, meaning they should get rid off many of the “old club members”.

    A healthy political system requires a balance between each point of view. Only those with extremist views and total ignorance of others would want any party to disappear. Often the opposition (does not matter who is in power) is the one that asks the questions that are important to receive answers to.

  15. Not to give Obama’s letter in the original–but a précis of it–is the height of diplomatic insult.
    Hungarians, of course, understand the refinements of ‘belittling’ something or someone–they’re
    so bloody good at the little indecencies of the world.

  16. @tappanch

    The Hungarian right wing is just getting started. It may operate a mafia rule, but people like it pretty, pretty, pretty much. (Like it was asked before the only relevant question if you don’t like them is: why?)

    The ascendance of the “true-right wing” just started and until the economy does not get substantially better there is no stopping them, and we all know that the Hungary economy will not get better significantly, it just cannot, the math does not add up.

    Jobbik is just becoming a mainstream party, its grass roots network is almost unparalleled. In small villages even Fidesz does not have as many branches and activists. (Plus geographically, in more than a thousand municipalities in Hungary Jobbik won over the united Left in April).

    It is just that Jobbik – at present – lacks the organizational experience and routine which the well-oiled Kubatov machinery at Fidesz has. But the raw material that is the ideology, the activists, the enthusiastic helpers and the voter base open to their tune are already in place. Note that the Hungarian Left lacks all of the above, they have nothing (OK, a deeplyl divided and rapidly aging 25-30% of the active voters.)

    But rest assured that the Russians will give Jobbik the know-how. Especially as Russia’s main party (well, only party, since the rest are just pseudo-parties like KDNP in Hungary) is extremely apt in using modern technology to maintain its power. (Poor liberals thought that the internet and facebook, twitter and whatnot will bring democracy and freedom when in fact these are fantastic tools for control). The Russians amassed a lot of know how and will share it with their best investment/pupil (ie. Jobbik).

  17. David Cameron’s letter is even more pointed, saying “I noted the concerns of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Elections and Human Rights on the Hungarian elections” … and then, in very understated English diplomatic style, said “we benefited from their observations about the 2010 elections and I’m sure you will too”…

    Not sure how MTI reported this but it is quite a kick in the teeth by diplomatic standards

  18. HiBOM:

    Until the money flows from the EU and the People’s Party needs Fidesz votes in the EU Parliament, foreign people can write whatever they want, Orban still has the last lough. That’s what the Westerners don’t get.

  19. Orban is having a great lough in Berlin, while the clueless Germans believe his lies (like when Orban said that in 1994 MSZP got its 2/3s similarly to Fidesz did in April, of course MSZP never had a 2/3s, only with SZDSZ which itself had 17% of the votes etc.).

    If you want to use somebody out and humiliate them, than the Germans are always there for you, willing, they even pay you. Orban realized that long ago.

    He can say whatever he wants: the Germans need his votes and pay him through the EU subsidies, so he can maintain his power.

    Who’s winning now?

    http://444.hu/2014/05/08/orban-szerint-ugy-lett-a-45-szazalekukbol-ketharmad-mint-az-mszp-nek-94-ben/

  20. “like when Orban said that in 1994 MSZP got its 2/3s similarly to Fidesz did in April, of course MSZP never had a 2/3s, only with SZDSZ which itself had 17% of the votes etc”

    You carefully distort the facts to be able to lie.
    MSZP had 31.27% of the votes in 1994, for which they got 54% of the seats. This is a 72% disproportionality. Together with (the betrayal of) SZDSZ, they had less than 50% of the votes for which they got 72% of the seats.
    Now Fidesz got 45% of the votes and 67% of the seats. This is less than 50% disproportionality. I know you have no arguments against this because this is math – so you will simply ignore it, pretending it doesn’t exist.

    Some1: here you go, the facts for you.

  21. BBB98, Boomerang, Döner macht schooner and whatever other handle you are adopting today

    “The Hungarian right wing is just getting started”

    I don’t think you understood the point. There is no “right” or “left” wing in Hungary anymore.
    We have a mafia regime, fascists, a small miniscule % of democrats and a large majority who don’t care one way or the other as long as Orban doesn’t take away their reality shows.
    That’s it, politics as is understood in the civilized world no longer exists in Hungary

    Sure Orban and his poodles uses racism, anti-Semitism etc etc when it suits them but the point is that their only belief is in themselves. They are not clever lawyers, they are not political theorists they are, pure and simple, gangsters, thugs and bullies in suits who have read 100% correctly how far they push the majority of the sheep that is the Hungarian electorate will accept.

  22. @Johnny Boy. I wanted facts on something else, so do not put words in my mouth as you always do. (talking about “carefully distorting” uuuh)
    ——
    Some1
    May 8, 2014 at 7:56 am
    Johnny Boy
    May 8, 2014 at 5:23 am
    No. The left has a huge amount of money. It is only right-wing nitpicking that they are in financial trouble. They will be easily over this debt, unfortunately.
    _______
    Facts? Resources? or this is one of those factual Johnny Boy theories.
    Do not forget Johnny Boy does not argue with people who has no facts, because he does!———

  23. Some1 it is not you who will tell me to what I’ll respond.
    For your facts on MSZMP’s money, go to Zuschlag, he will guide you to the safe from which he got his silence money, and go to Simon Gábor and ask him for some share of that party money he’d been handling.

    Now feel free to ignore the math.

  24. Jojhnny Boy’s kindergarten logic is the same as the psychopath’s on pol.hu who calls itself leto and everyone who does not agree with him a Jew …

    So they probably have the same sources/handlers which feed them dis-information!

    The voting process in 1994 was completely different – in two stages and in the second state MSZP got more votes, so Johnny Boy’s numbers are incorrect – and also irrelevant, because we’re talking about this year’s election and not what happened a long time ago!

    Anyway Johnny’s fallacy is the same again:

    The other guy did something wrong last week – so why am I being punished?

    Kindergarten logic at its best …

    The only thing missing is the comparison with the British FTTP election system – as if the Hungarian “democracy” could be compared with a democracy that has existed for hundreds of years …

    Most EU countries anyway have a mainly or purely proportional election system!

    PS re Simon:

    There hasn’t been any news about him, nothing from the authorities, nothing from a court – so it’s probable that nothing will come out of it as in so many cases that Fidesz has screamed about …

    What about all those fake passports – oh, I forgot – the main witness is dead, how convenient. Even in the times of “A Tanu” (one of the best Hungarian films ever, if not the best) things weren’t that bad. Maybe there should be a new version of that film under Orbán’s rule!

  25. Johnny Boy
    May 8, 2014 at 12:53 pm
    Some1 it is not you who will tell me to what I’ll respond.
    _______

    Can you quote where did I say that? I think you are loosing it.
    You tell me that you are publishing some facts in response to my inquiry, then you publish some facts about something that has 0 (nothing) to do with my question. THen you tell me that I should not tell you what do you respond to. I think it is very reasonable to say when somebody is asking a question you either respond or not. If you address that person, it is likely you are answering to something. I know it is a logical explanation, and it is hard for you to grasp that, but truly.. Simple, do not use my name when you reply and I will not assume that actually you are talking to me.
    This was your post:
    ________

    Johnny Boy
    May 8, 2014 at 11:13 am
    ……
    Some1: here you go, the facts for you.
    _____

  26. “The Hungarian left-wing will never be able to provide an identity”

    I was wondering about the “identity problem” in Hungary. Do people really not know their “identity” unless they have utility prices cut and “community a la CÖF, Albert Wass, nationalism, showing to the EU finally, university freshmen parties with cool kids”?! And what kind of “identity” is that? Hi, I am Kirsten and what makes me breathe is my utility bill. That is why I know where I belong and what I strive for (utility prices) and against (being colonised by all these rational utility price calculators who just do not understand the importance of this one bill for my identity). I wonder whether it is also “cool” and providing much sought after “identity” to work in the public work schemes for 2/3 the minimum wage.

  27. Oneill:

    Fideszniks are gangsters, but you are making a mistake if you think they don’t have real support or if you think that such support is just about rezsicsökkentés and reality shows.

    The current Hungarian left wing could not get the same support even if it did the same as Fidesz, as the lefties cannot provide a lasting community for their supporters.

    And it is a mistake to think that ideologies do not exist any more. They do. Until the voters themselves can categorize parties then for all practical purposes these categories exist.

    Not only Orban, but Erdogan too has a real and ecstatic support, and now Putin too, and neither support is just about new highways and higher pensions. Yes, those too, but also about national pride. Not the highway as such is what is important but rather what it symbolizes: national achievement (without EU subsidies). Nationalism (in the US jingoism), or its modern versions do seem to work. They just work.

    In Eastern Europe politicians are just not as careful and polite as in the West. The Hungarian left wing and liberal politicians taught that nationalism was over because this is what they had heard from the West to where they conform. But guess what, it is not over yet and with Jobbik, the ideology is only getting stronger and meaner.

    The Hungarian left wing has currently no antidote (and with the intellectual fire power they posses they won’t have it anytime soon) and given its image of impotency it will go nowhere. People are impatient and feel that they cannot expect action from the left, they cannot respect the left, they cannot get protection from the left and cannot feel pride when they contemplate that they might vote for any of the lefty parties. They, however, feel all of these with Fidesz and Jobbik and will continue to like them.

  28. @Kirsten

    I am no psychologist or psychoanalyst. But when people get older and possibly wiser, don’t we realize that identity is important? People just have to have a strong feeling, a balance, a kind of harmony about who they are.

    The way I imagine is that it is a sub-conscious process. People develop notions that they are, let’s say, strong, manly, heterosexual, professional Hungarians working at Göcsi (the affectionate name for the Roller Bearing Company of Debrecen, of course long ago liquidated) and these categories determine their lives. People treat them differently from women, from the weak, from those who have no jobs, who work at a company with a lesser name in the community.

    When these notions are being threatened, people just don’t feel comfortable anymore. Did they change? What happened? Or did the environment change? What is going on?

    They are anxious and need the reestablish themselves. Their history is gone, the place where they worked is gone, their education is worth nothing, heterosexuality has no relevance any more, effeminate weaklings in positions of power decide over them, they are notionally Hungarians but there are the ‘brown’ majority in many villages and people are migrating abroad and are coming from Romania? What is happening?

    I see these issues with a lot of people and they are all looking for ways to gain a sure footing in the world. They are the losers of capitalism and globalism, in short. And they find that footing in the Jobbik and Fidesz communities. Wass Albert is not just a writer, it is a way of creating a community. It’s like being a rocker or goth in high-school. If you like Péter Nádas it may be difficult to find a friend and they may be too intellectual and they will lough at you because you are uneducated. But if you choose Wass you can know that all the fideszniks and jobbikniks can be your friends immediately. People want company and to know who they are and both Fidesz and Jobbik provide those.

    The left wing can provide only rational argument which is OK, because liberals and leftists come from enlightment and materialist arguments. But the right wing has always been about more and in these times rational arguments will not work. I mean which people will want to face the fact that their education, work ethic, work experience, language skills are inadequate? That all they have done so far is worthless, that their lives are worthless because the current world does not care about “people”, but only about the “work force”? They will naturally look for some other solutions, like Jobbik which says that your are the best because you are Hungarian and the problem is exclusively with the world, with the “Others”, with the West which forces that merciless rationality upon you.

    Sorry, but I am the only one for whom this is a no-brainer? Nobody else have relatives or acquintances who have such shattered and fundamentally questioned identities?

  29. “Fideszniks are gangsters, but you are making a mistake if you think they don’t have real support or if you think that such support is just about rezsicsökkentés and reality shows.”

    Of course. Fidesz-Jobbik have support, there is a solid fascist core that has never been fully absent from Hungarian society. At a local level Fidesz-Jobbik also appeal to the kind of amoral (immoral?) gangster class who will vote for them because they know that there will be corrupt forints in their back pocket as a result

    Both groups will vote Fidesz-Jobbik even on the day the lights are finally turned out in Hungary. My point about the reality show and the rezsiücsök. electorate is that they are basically apathetic sheep who as long as their bread and circuses arenát taken away will do whatever Orban tells them. They are not politically committed by any stretch of the imagination

    “And it is a mistake to think that ideologies do not exist any more”

    There is fascism in Hungary, there are people who believe in democracy and that is about it on the political ideology front.
    Are you seriously telling me that Orban and his mafia believe in anything beyond their own personal enrichment?
    He is a Nazi when there are votes to be won, he is a Communist when there are votes to be won.

  30. @Johnny Boy:

    I answered you already, you were comparing apples and (Hungarian …) oranges – but we’re anxiously waiting for your proof for this statement:

    “No. The left has a huge amount of money. It is only right-wing nitpicking that they are in financial trouble. They will be easily over this debt, unfortunately.”

  31. Mavis: “Sorry, but I am the only one for whom this is a no-brainer?”

    The arguments are indeed employed quite often, and not only in Hungary. The problem is the following.

    Generally (not only in the Hungarian context), why is the relation between “there are challenges, individually and/or collectively” and this type of simple solutions (imagined collective superiority, collective aggressiveness, recourse to “traditional” approaches, which given the fact that time moves forward not backward are more often new creations instead of traditions) so obvious? Specifically, as they – beyond this in actual fact imagined “collective identity” and the immediate “friendship” and “company” – do not offer any solution to the problems that created the “uncertainties” in the first place. If work and income is indeed created by such “traditional” movements, this is on a very basic level of sophistication and would – if provided by a government of “left-liberals” to the same people – never be viewed as an acceptable living standard. What is the difference between being unemployed and sent to a re-education course (that would be provided by a modern “left-liberal” government) and being unemployed, left alone by the government or sent to public works, and then marching in the streets with your pals. In terms of material living standards, the latter is probably no improvement relative to the former. Yet I read here, it is the collective marching that creates “certainties in terms of living standards”.

    The main point that I would like to make is that contrary to common Hungarian belief, the challenges that the country has faced, in the 1990s, in the 2000s, currently, do not know only two answers – the answer of some “rational left” and those of some “cosy right”. Viewed from outside, both these groups of Hungarians are to a rather large extent arguing within specific Hungarian contexts. By that I mean the relative strong expectation of paternalist solutions (the government somehow must ensure some well-being), uneasiness about modernity (I believe Polanyi wrote against an Hungarian background of ideas), and the constant fear of loss of the “Hungarianness” in the nation and traditional national identity. The ones are perhaps more in defence of these, and the others critical of most of it, but even the latter are unable to generate solutions or answers outside of this framework. If people are not striving for modernity individually, we will provide it by the state, etc. (paternalist solution, too).

    What has been apparently impossible so far is to offer to people “solutions” to their anxieties that are different from what has been offered so far. For instance, your idea about “losers of globalisation and capitalism” sounds good, but fits too well in a very popular line of thought in Hungary about that Hungarians were “left alone” on so many occasions before that they are practically “losers” by definition. My favourite line in this regard is this one: “Szánd meg Isten a magyart, Kit vészek hányának, Nyújts feléje védő kart Tengerén kínjának. Bal sors akit régen tép, Hozz rá víg esztendőt, Megbűnhődte már e nép
    A múltat s jövendőt!”
    If that is consciously or unconsciously accepted as a good explanation of how the world works, indeed all challenges and problems appear to be just a confirmation of it. Nothing can be done about it, just a recourse to “traditional” answers of retreat and licking one’s wounds. That is “national wisdom”. Thinking otherwise is by the way also destroying “Hungarianness”. Hungary had very good starting conditions in the early 1990s, it is the rather limited imagination that leads to the belief that the limited progress in living standards, economic and political, was the necessary outcome of the democracy or “capitalism”, and not due to the specific steps adopted (or omitted) at different points during this time.

Comments are closed.