Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hungary a tyranny?

Krugman delivers an astonishing opinion, almost as a footnote to a blog post ...

Peripheral Stories - Krugman

... And I spent part of yesterday talking with people in Princeton’s Program in Law and Public Affairs, who wanted to talk about Hungary. It’s hair-raising — and not just because of the economics. What will the EU do when one of its members slides into dictatorship?...

The comments come quickly ...

... Orban has established the rule of arbitrary tyranny in one and a half years. He appointed apparatchiks to key posts with unchecked authority for 9 or 12 years. These positions are:

1. Chief Prosecutor, who was given the right to select even the judges for trials of his choosing.

2. Chief Judge, with the right to appoint/promote/demote/dismiss judges

3. Chief of the Media, with the right to take away the licenses of radio stations and fine opposition outlets out of existence.

4. Head of the Financial Control Office.

He also stuffed the Constitutional court with Party and Personal faithful, enlarging it with from 8 to 15, and forbidding the Court to review cases that have anything to do with money.

It took a mere 3 weeks for Orban to push through a new constitution that restricts people's right to hold referendums, to appeal to the Constitutional court.

Hungary lives in fear now. You can be put in detention without trial for up to 3 years. You can be fired for political reasons and the unemployment rate is 12%.

and in response ...

As a Hungarian, let me correct the picture of my country as one "sliding into dictatorship." This is far from reality. Our government is indeed concentrating and extending its power as far as possible in a democratic system and is definitely doing so beyond good taste. Bearing a 2/3 majority they can even modify the constitution and they use this weapon without hesitation and without seeking consensus. This truly weakens our democracy somewhat, so harsh criticism is well deserved, but Hungary is not turning into a dictatorship, this is simply nonsense.

But where is all that nonsense coming from? Well, Hungarian politics is difficult to see clearly for a foreigner. The reason is the huge advantage of the Hungarian left (which is practically an alliance of liberals and former communists) of having a well-built international network which gives them an access to foreign media that the right just does not have. Hence, no matter who is in power, the foreign opinions about Hungarian matters are dominated by leftists' views. The key players in this game are renowned Hungarian leftist intellectuals residing in Western-Europe. Whenever it is not their team in power they always scream dictatorship - that is what they did with earlier conservative governments as well! Oh, and if the left were telling the truth, we would have a right-wing military dictatorship for 17 years by now, as this is what they "forecasted” before the 1994 elections...

Meanwhile, back home, Newt Gingrich must now be considered a real contender for the presidency.

Humanity dances on the edge of the knife. It's a habit.

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