There were massive protests in Budapest last weekend (2018-04-14). The people were protesting the results of the election a week prior. They were asking for:
In a Facebook post before the rally, organisers called for a recount of ballots, free media, a new election law, as well as more efficient cooperation among opposition parties instead of the bickering seen in the run-up to the vote. (The Guardian)
The organisers of the anti-Orban protests have demanded a recount of all ballots, a new election law, a non-partisan public media, and better organised co-operation among parties opposed to the Fidesz government. (BBC World)
The best short summary is from Wikipedia:
The election saw a large surge in voter turnout, one of the largest in post-communist Hungarian history, which benefited Fidesz despite pre-election expectations that it would help the opposition. Fidesz significantly outperformed its election result expectations, but was reported to have lost support among younger voters. There was also a geographical split in the results, with opposition parties winning the majority of seats in Budapest, while provincial towns and rural areas were predominantly won by the Fidesz coalition. (Wikipedia)
The day before, I got the following from my sister living in Hungary:
The text over the first bar says ‘The election’ and the boxes:
Orange: ‘Voted for Fidesz’-31%;. Black: ‘Didn’t vote for Fidesz’-32%; Grey: ‘Didn’t vote’-33%
The text over the second bar says: ‘Composition of the parliament’ and the boxes:
Orange: Fidesz; – 67%; Black: ‘Not Fidesz’33%
The picture pissed me off and worked me up with its obnoxious stupidity. Comparing the uncountable non-voters with the clearly countable mandates.
Fidesz won fair and square according to the existing rules.
Fidesz received 49% of national party list votes and its candidates won 91 of 106 single-member constituencies, most of them in rural areas, while leftist opposition candidates carried two-thirds of the voting districts in Budapest.
Is the system favouring Fidesz? It very well may.
But it also favoured the Democratic Coalition (DK) versus Politics Can Be Different (LMP).
DK got 9 seats with 5.37% of the votes while LMP got only 8 seats with 7.06% of the votes.
This is the system. Is this the time to protest it? Of course not. It is in place since 2011.
Calling for a recount? Seriously? For what purpose? Half of the votes would need to be thrown out to significantly change the outcome. What is happening today is a textbook replay of the “Not my president” protests after the election of Donald Trump. The Hungarian protesters have their own slogan: “We are the majority” which has even less to do with reality than the American version. FIDESZ won 86% of the FPTP (First pass the post) ridings and 96% of the Hungarian minority votes in the bordering countries.
This was a landslide by any count. Just look at the map on the top. Orange is Fidesz.
Changing the result of this election has even less of a chance then the left had in the US to change the result of the presidential election there.
The Western media
The media in the West reported it very much the way it reported anti Trump protests. Biased, deceptive, with little, if any, actual analysis. They were repeating verbatim the most ridiculous claims without pointing out how ridiculous they were. The deceptive bias had one point: insinuating the illegitimacy of the Hungarian government. Just like it happened after the election of Donald Trump. There are indications that both set of protests were instigated by Soros financed organizations.
I was asked by Canadians what I think of the Hungarian election.
The problem with looking at the Hungarian election from the West is that everybody is looking at it through lenses distorted by ideology. We are projecting our own concerns and biases into it grossly simplifying the picture. The question isn’t simply globalization vs. nationalism, democracy vs. dictatorship, cultural pride vs. civilizational decline, rule of law vs. unbridled kleptocracy or economic integration vs. econo-political opportunism. It is a bit of all, some issues being more important to some voters than others.
I have seriously mixed feelings. I don’t like Viktor Orbán (personally), I don’t like the corruption and the crony capitalism. Hungary is a kleptocracy. There is nothing to like about that, but at the same time, with all the theft, corruption and bureaucracy, the country is doing far better than it did under socialist governments. I also like the speeches of Viktor Orbán. He has good speech writers and he can deliver the speeches well. I like the fact that he is standing up to the EU, and with that, we got to the heart of the matter.
The elephant in the room
…… is the future of the European Union.
What happens, when members of a community have deep ideological differences?
…..as is the case with the globalism of the EU vs the nationalism of the Visegrád group.
What happens when some members of a community are blatantly abusing shared resources?
……as is the case in the use and misuse of EU grants for Hungarian infrastructure projects.
What happens when the democratic majority is abusing the rights of a minority?
……as the EU does trying to write Hungarian immigration laws.
What happens when the abuse is perpetrated by an unaccountable bureaucracy?
……as is the case with the EU Commission changing the rules without proper democratic mandate.
What happens when the majority breaks its own laws while the minority is trying to defend it?
……as was the case with the EU declaring its own borders non-existent.
The Visegrád group in general and Hungary in particular could become the thing that breaks up the European union. Europe is in crisis. Hungary did not cause it, but it is making it very visible.
Hungary has a history of being the defender of Europe.
Hungary has a history of living on the crossroads of East and West.
Hungary has a history of opportunistic shifting of alliances between the East and the West.
Hungary has a long history of being the rebellious underdog on the periphery of empires. The Ottomans, the Habsburgs, The Germans, the Soviets and now the EU.
The libertarian point.
Everybody seems to believe that the only requirement for societal and political bliss is to find the right man who, given enough power, will be able to beat some sense into their stupid opposition.
As I described in “An autopsy of the dialog,” it is an unending source of frustration to me trying to get across a most basic libertarian argument to anybody in Europe:
“A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.”
It is difficult for me not to have that mix of schadenfreude and righteous indignation when listening to the bitching of the Central European left. For decades I keep telling them that it is not a very good idea to give too much power to any government because the people controlling them may change and they may not like the results. The less power a government has, the less power they can abuse. The more money they have, the more they can steal. The less of the economy they control, the less they can screw up. The more of our decisions we delegate to them the less freedom we have.
I don’t like these feelings of being vindicated. I don’t like the polarization it creates. It reminds me of the early 1930s in Germany. The left started the fight and created the conditions for Adolf Hitler. I wish we could have a better dialog, but in the end, all I can say to the protesting, bitching, leftist opposition is what I told my sister:
You wanted this. You asked for this. You wanted a government with the power to take care of everything? Now you have one. They followed the rules to get the power they now possess.
You did not seem to care much when your guys in power were corrupt, now you have to learn to live with the corruption of the ones you don’t like. YOU MADE THIS POSSIBLE, NOW LIVE WITH IT!
You have problems? You deserve every single one of them.
If you wish to check the election data, this Wikipedia page will give you all the information you need.
Here is a quick list of the useless Western media articles. I am posting them only because I found one interview (the last one on the list) that may be worth your while to watch:
Thousands rally against Viktor Orbán’s election victory in Budapest – World news – The Guardian
Protesters in Hungary demand new vote, new electoral system – The Washington Post
Protesters in Hungary demand new vote, new electoral system – The Sacramento Bee
Thousands protest in Budapest against Viktor Orban and demand new elections – The Independent
Thousands of Hungarians Protest Against Newly Elected Leader – The New York Times
Hungary- Tens of thousands march in Budapest anti-Orban demo – BBC News
Kim Lane Scheppele is a typical EU supporting globalist leftist, but she formulates the issues of this election more clearly than any other source I found. It definitely deserves criticism, but I am not going to dissect it here. If you have questions about it, I will be happy to answer them.