Agnes Heller: Dark years may await Hungary

April 16, 2014


Agnes Heller, Hungarian philosopher and political theorist

Even today we are living in the Hungary of Horthy and Kadar.  Socialist and National Socialist demogoguery have an even stronger effect on people than their own ability to judge is capable of.  Every government shares responsibility for what has been driving the people since the system change.  After building the institutions of freedom, they did nothing to bring about the formation of a free ethos.  And the result is alarming:  We are sitting on the dunce’s seat of Europe.  We are heading in the direction of Russia and Turkey.  Even in Romania democracy is in better shape.

The opposition politicians were not up to the task.  While they were debating such quesions as who should be the non-existant prime minister of the non-existant government, Fidesz slowly but systematically prepared.  Of course the election law itself gave the opposition an impossible task.  They did not have much room to play.  There are outstanding politicians who can wrestle with this and turn it to their advantage.  They were not able to do this.

In his speech Orban praised the Hungarians for being Europe’s most united people.  Well,  so much for unity.  We don’t know anything about 40 percent of the voters considering they didn’t vote.  What unity was Orban talking about? The Fidesz unity?  In that he is correct.

The election result worth beating our breasts over is Jobbik’s gradual strengthening from election to election.  Jobbik is not simply an extreme right-wing party.  It is the Eastern European equivalent of the Gold Dawn-named Greek movement that caused concern throughout Europe.  This further worsens the Hungarian situation and the image formed of us.  It is not encouraging that much of the opposition were radical right wing, and not liberal or left-wing, parties.  For now, perhaps, they have not come to power, but we don’t know what the future will bring.  That is the future that looks very dark.  Probably the harsh Fidesz power will deprive us of the freedoms we have possessed so far.  Many speak of stabilization and consolidation.  Don’t count on it.  This is foreign to Orban’s nature.  Dark years may await us.

Referenced in this article:

“Heller Agnes”, 168 Óra, 12 April 2014