About (original About page)

This is a Hungarian politics blog, written not only for Hungarians. I try to be an interface between Hungarian public opinion and those segments of the international community who care to learn more about the most recent political developments in Hungary. The idea is to present English-speaking Hungarians with a voice from the outside. At the same time, my aim is to present synopsis-style reports to English-speakers interested in Hungarian politics from anywhere in the world. For the sake of the international readership, I cover basic details (such as who is who, or which Hungarian party is where on the political spectrum) and background in my blog entries.

I started this blog in March of 2011 as my modest response the increasing outrageous developments taking place in my home-country, Hungary. At the time, it felt that I needed an avenue for venting my frustration. One question specifically kept haunting me: how does an entire society succeed in sabotaging its own political future? Why is it, that while other countries in the region are thriving, Hungary chooses to return to pre-war ideologies of the ugliest kinds?

For those who are less familiar with the status of matters in Hungarian politics: the Hungarian people have managed to elect a parliamentary “super-majority” which, given the amendment rule specified in the Hungarian constitution, is the only means for amending the founding document of the Hungarian state. The governing party interpreted this election result as a “revolutionary” mandate – not only to change the constitution, as it has been discussed several times since its enactment as the basic law of Hungarian democracy, but to rewrite it to a considerable extent. Once this new constitution comes into effect, the Hungarian constitution will hardly provide for what is traditionally understood as the rule of law in Western societies. In only one year of its rule, the Hungarian government managed to dismantle (or to put in place legislation designed to dismantle) the democratic institutions of Hungarian society. In the meantime, intolerance and racially fueled nationalist sentiment runs high in the life of civil society.

I am an academic, so it is no surprise that the questions that occur to me have to do with the various ways in which everyday life in Hungary may have resulted in the kind of beliefs or reactions that allowed the promise of a democracy to slip away from the ten million citizens of this small country. I am not going to be able to document all of my musings about this topic, but I am going to do my best to document what are the most worrisome developments in the politics of this country.

You can reach me at thecontrarianhungarian@gmail[dot]com. I’d welcome your thoughts, your ideas, your comments, complaints and such. I would especially appreciate if you could let me know if any of this information was helpful to you or if you need further info on where to find documents related to the topics I write about.

38 Responses to About (original About page)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Kedves blogolo!

    A magyar kormany alapvetoen megprobal ellenerot tamasztani a penzugyi vilaghatalom (direkt irom kisbetuvel) kifoszto szivattyuival szemben. Ez az ellenero joval kisebb, mint a kifosztasunkra iranyulo, tehat a dinamika torvenyeinek megfeleloen csak lassitani tudja annak elorehaladasat.

    Pontosan ezert irnak Orban kormanyarol ennyi rosszat bel- es kulfoldon egyarant. Ezert adja be a mar emlitett hatalom altal birtokolt es iranyitott media az embereknek, hogy Orban maga az ordog.

    Erre most az agyadban valoszinuleg megjelennek olyan fogalmak, mint bogarlaszloizmus es osszeeskuves elmelet, stb. pedig mindketten tudjuk, hogy igazam van. Ha ezt nem vallod be Magadnak, akkor nagyon rossz uton jarsz az igazsag kereseseben. Ha mindezt tudod, es megis -talan penzert- irod ezt a blogot, akkor pedig hazaarulast kovetsz el.

    Tisztelettel,

    Egy szabad gondolkodasu ember, aki sajnos az oldaladra tevedt

    • Anon says:

      I apologize for the letter of the above Anonymous (no relation).
      There is still a significant number of people in Hungary who are totally unaffected by reality and scream high treason if somebody tries to alert them to it. They live in a world all their own but think they are broad-minded and the sole bearers of the truth, and in this they resemble the inmates of a psychiatric institute.
      Thank you for your blog, I am glad I have stumbled upon it.
      I’ll check back often.

  2. Kedves latogato!
    Tobb ponton nem ertunk egyet. Nem ertunk egyet azzal kapcsolatban, hogy a magyar kormanynak a penzugyi vilaghatalom “kifoszto szivattyuival” valo harc lenne a dolga, nem ertunk egyet abban, hogy, amennyiben valoban ezt teszi, akkor jol teszi a dolgat, es abban sem, hogy megeri-e Magyarorszagnak az, amikor az egesz vilaggal probal szembeszallni – kivulallokent, mikor egy vilagkozosseg tagja is lehetne. Azert irom ezt a blog-ot, hogy ezt az allaspontot, es az ebbol fakado egyeb gondolatokat masokkal is megosszam.
    Magam reszerol en soha senkinek nem szegeznem azt a gondolatmenetet, hogy egyet nem ertesunk ellenere nekem es csak nekem van igazam. Mert a demokracia es a politika erdekesebb resze ott kezdodik, amikor tudunk egyet nem erteni anelkul, hogy barmelyikunk is csalodottsagat fejezne ki a masikban.
    Sajnos tul sokan gondoljak Magyaroszagon azt, hogy elszigeteltsegukben kialakitott velemenyuket csak olyan abszurd indokok miatt ketelyzhetik meg masok, mert pl. megmenthetetlenul elvesztek az igazsag kereseseben, vagy mert lefizetik oket (mintha barkinek erne annyit az, hogy egy blogolot fizessen le, mikor annyian vagyunk, akik ingyen es sajat meggyozodesunkbol kifolyoan irunk). Tehat szeretnem megnyugtatni: minden egyes szavam es gondolatom, annak ellenere, amit feltetelez (vagyishogy csak azert gondolom azt, amit gondolok, mert ezt olvastam vagy ezt eroltettek ram ordogi hatalmak) a sajat egyedileg formalt velemenyem.
    Hozzaszolasat (es latogatasat) mindenesetre koszonom.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Dear Blogger,
    please do not claim to be an interface between any community and Hungarian public opinion. Your writings give voice to your personal opinion, shared by some ideological left-wing people. If you are an academic (i would dare to ask academic in what? I guess not in History neither in Politology) you should be a bit more informed and maybe kind of objective about the fundamentals and roots of Western culture.
    I think we will not convince each other and I do not like to argue with people whose approach is vitally destructive and biased. But please, do not mix subjectivity with facts, personal conviction with public opinion.
    thanks in advance.

  4. Pete H. says:

    I’m a free thinking person who is glad I stumbled on your site. This blog has become one of my must read sources for information on Hungary. Thanks for your constructive contribution. If you have the time and inclination I would like to see posts regarding environmental and nature conservation issues in Hungary. You should also consider setting up a facebook page to share your work.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thank you. Don’t listen to the haters and keep up the great work.

    • Johnny Boy says:

      Do you think it takes to be a ‘hater’ to ask the blogger not to mistake his own personal opinion for public opinion?

      • Rigo Jancsi says:

        O Jonny Boy… It’s great that you use your name on other blogs, too, so that it’s easy to identify you. You’re looking for other places to troll, since Éva doesn’t care at all what you write?

        Dear blogger: I stopped my blog at about the time when you started, due to personal time restrictions. And to be honest: It felt good not to care for some time about the news. I think many Hungarians do it this way: They go deaf and blind when it comes to politics and say “Don’t mind, don’t care”. But the problem will not go away, not even after four years, if nobody cares. So I’ll care again, even though I am an idegenszívű by King Viktor’s definition and have heard already several times that I am therefore not qualified to talk about Hungarian politics, since I simply don’t understand the Hungarian life and soul. We’ll see. Minden jót!

  6. dave from italy give his impression about hungary, after a short trip. says:

    a tourist in Hungary
    As a tourist in Hungary compare to Italy i could say at first i didn’t watch around some nazi simbol on the wall, and at glance didn t feel me in a place with lot of nazi or in extreme right country, Ok i have been just for 3 days. If you go around in Rome you can see a lot of symbol nazi on the wall, make you feel worried have to say, or at least an unpleasant view, for the great majority of italian citizens. i didn t watch a police point, with a cop, visible, or in the jewish quarter in Budapest as in Rome or in Florence you can see. I am surprise that around i watch some biker with helmet that look like II world war nazi helmet, never saw one in Italy. I met once a big strong alltattoed bald with black undershirt and bit sweaty overfatter by alcool guy, and i went into his small shop alcool for asking him the road for my hostel, yes i didn t say him i was an israeli friend almost jewish guy.
    Think i know few about Hungary yes, but reading some lately, and read also how your prime minister defined the presidential policy of Hungary regarding Europe.
    At least i like my journey in Hungary, in Siofok for 3 day i saw people around and many people drink a lot i think, young especially, maybe they were other country tourists, and it strange for an italian see people drink beer in the morning for breakfast, those were old worker instead.
    I also noticed there are a lot of italian and german banks some with huge signs. how say with a great visibility, other maybe are with smaller sign but more powerful i don t know. I feel good in Budapest and people are good, someone said you are “serious”, no you are not a fake smiling people. Laugh sometime when try to understand your language, and the sound of the language is good, as i read in a old NYT article you can seem more to the meditarranean people, but you are not straigh confident ok ok bla bla don t know how you are :)) ……..have to be in love with hungary as fresh of my journey. For me have been a short trip in the old and in the new Hungary.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I commend you for what you’re writing. As a foreigner who has spent the last two decades in Hungary, I, too, am quite worried about the dysfunctional state of the nation.

    Most Hungarians – even the nice ones – are too afraid to say anything about Orban’s emerging dictatorship. It’s pathetic.

  8. I’m very pleased to have come across your thoughtful blog. I edit my own website, the Canadian Hungarian Journal, which–in part–explores Hungarian and other news from a Canadian, democratic and generally liberally-minded perspective. If you take my small, non-profit paper as an example, you should prepare yourself from some really nasty ad hominem attacks from those who do not respect the plurality of opinions, ideologies and worldviews. Most recently, the parish priest at Our Lady of Hungary Church in Montreal published an open letter suggesting that I was in the service of the devil and that I am bankrolled by dark liberal circles. Good luck with your blog!

  9. gigsandagirl says:

    Hello… this will be a good place for me to check in on what might be affecting my in laws who live in Budapest. It strikes me that things are getting a bit dodgy there on the political side (though they are in most of the world, truthfully). Thank you for writing this!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Tamás Gáspár Miklós wrote recently: we have to avoid to “dehumanize” our opponents…
    (A küzdelem szépsége, Élet és Irodalom, LV. évfolyam 29. issue, 2011, June 22.)
    I think he is at least in two ways right:
    – this attitude hides the real depth of an issue, for you give up trying to find reasonable explanations to understand your opponents position
    – if you do so, you give up the hope to solve the issue in a reasonable fashion, so you dehumaize yourself as well

  11. Anonymous says:

    The largest English speaking Hungarian community in the world is in the U.S.A. We’ve our newspaper since 1891. http://nepszava.com/
    Understandingly like most papers today has problems with the printed circulation, so it was closed. Online & Hungarian only is available. I like to translate the 2 most read article titles from the paper. This is gravitas folks, that can’t be ignored.
    The first fascist country in the EU. (Hungary)
    Toward total dictatorship.

    I’ve lived in the USA since 1956. Thanks to the internet & Google, I can present to you the original song & lyrics from 1955 by Dean Martin, “Memories are made of this.” Most Hungarians don’t know the original lyrics.

    http://tinyurl.com/3pg4n5j

    The lyrics was changed & was a big hit in Hungary after 1956. Most of us who participated in the revolution had escaped, after it was clear that we’ve lost. The communist like to argue, that we were traitors & those who stayed were the patriots. The facts are that some of the most capable people, like Andy Grove left & those who stayed had nothing to fear, since they did not participate. The retribution after the revolution was swift & there’s no argument about it. The song became a big hit in Hungary, because it presents a picture of us being homesick & struggling in the USA. This was far from the truth. We knew that we may never be allowed to return & accepted it. We’ve also gladly accepted the challenges that all immigrants faced & were full of hopes & dreams. Here’s my translation of this sad song, first paragraph from Homesick:

    I’m so far away from my homeland
    If I could only see it one more time
    The old moon, sky, clouds, breeze
    They are all my memories with their story

    http://tinyurl.com/3jmnknh

    It looks like a Transylvanian group is playing the song. The song strikes the right chord with them especially. Transylvania has the largest ethnic minority in the EU. I’m translating the YouTube comment first paragraph.
    I’ve red the bio on your site. It’s a pity that you guys didn’t go to the USA with your talent, because with a little luck the whole world would know you.

    It appears that the Hungarian writer has no clue about the original song. Yes, the whole world knows bluegrass.;))

  12. Anonymous says:

    Keep going, its necessary!

  13. Anon. says:

    Wonderful and important intervention! Great writing style, accessible, well-researched and honest. Good luck!

  14. MMiranda says:

    So glad I stumbled upon your blog. I was in Budapest, Hungary in the summer of 2010 and I had such a great time there. I am interested in cultures from around the World with Eastern European Cultures being my favorites. I really liked the people there. It would break my heart if Jobbik took Hungary in the wrong direction.

  15. Martin says:

    Thank you for you great work, and keep it up. The world needs more contrarian hungarians.

  16. SK says:

    Important work. Situation in Hungary is distressing. EU needs to intervene as soon as possible.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Dear Mr or Prof. X (Editor of Contrarian Hungarian),

    I am not surprised to find a new website based on a negative approach and pessimism, neither surprised to see that it is on Hungary. The freedom of opinion is part of a democratic society that we believe in both, at least I hope, however not revealing your name does not give confidence to the reader and gives the impression of “plot theory” instead of a serious commentator of politics. All this secrecy make one wonders who you work for and whose interests you are defending?

    A fellow academic

  18. Julia says:

    As a foreigner in Hungary I am glad to have found a blog that seems to give a different picture of the political situation here than the English speaking government-supporting media you find normally. Supporting your statements with evidence is a needed practice to stay credible. I will check regularly from now on. Thank you!

  19. Hi, congratulations for your blog. we would be very happy to republish some of your articles on our transEuropean blog NewropMag (www.newropeans-magazine.org),
    Wish you all the best for 2012!
    Marianne

  20. This blog is an addictive read. Thank you for helping keep the international community in and beyond Hungary informed! We’re in dire need of such transparency. Good luck!

  21. Davide says:

    Thank you for your work.
    I’m an italian photographer, I’m interested in this movement, do you maybe know how can I get some infos about future demonstrations or rallies (I can’t read magyarian)? I’d be also interested in people stories.
    If possible, please write me an email and then we’ll stay in touch.
    Thank you,
    Davide

  22. Hanuman says:

    To “a fellow academic” –
    1. why do you assume Contrarian Hungarian is male?
    2. “all this secrecy” does not make me wonder who he/she works for – it makes me wonder what he/she is afraid of. Maybe retribution from people who cannot accept that a contrary belief may be sincerely held?
    3. a person asking “who you work for” should not accuse others of “plot theory.”
    4. congratulations for calling someone out for anonymity, under the name “a fellow academic”

    To Contrarian Hungarian –
    I admit to curiosity about your identity, and am in favor of greater transparency, but I am more interested in your reasons for remaining anonymous.

  23. Actually, I do have a name, even if it is a pseudonym. At this point, I have published 80,000 words at the very least under this name on this blog, I am on Facebook, you can write me e-mails and I’ll write back to you. What would knowing the name in my passport add to this blog? To many Hungarians who think that there are two competing realities existing in this world – one in favor of the Hungarian government and one against it – it would provide an instant way to judge, the kind of attention that I’d prefer not to invite.

    “Fellow academic” tries to insinuate that my credibility is at issue just because I do not reveal my name. It’s silliness. Yes, it’s true that many people like to do their least noble deeds in anonymity. But that does not mean that every single thing done in anonymity is automatically a disgraceful act. It’s as simple as that.

    Even the fact that this page is so frequently commented on is a fascinating thing to me. It’s the about page, where some people choose to say what their blog is about, while others focus on who they are and what kind of credentials they have for writing a blog. How this page has turned into a referendum on whether I should or should not write a blog is unclear to me, but I am very grateful to everyone who put in a “vote” in favor of the enterprise. It looks like the nice visitors who also did not refrain from ad hominem attacks have also taken it upon themselves to tell others whether they should or should not read this blog. I’d like to think that readers can judge for themselves. As far as the transparency issue is concerned, people have e-mailed me (or put comments) when they wanted more info on the sources I’d used for writing a specific post.

  24. Daniel says:

    We hungarians are funny people. Our “democrats” are in love with a constitution, that was written and voted on by no politician elected in a free and democratic election. And they are terrified, horrified, scared, outraged by one, which was written and adopted by people with a democratic legitimacy. Our “democrats” see the hungarian democracy always suffer under a right-wing government and a bloom of freedom under a leftist one. Take for example 2006, when the democracy was sooooo blooming, that masked and armed policeman were beating the opposition on the streets, including an MP, who was beaten unconcsious. Obviously no reason for an Academic, to start a blog…

    Now, my dear Academic friend. Hungary is a democracy, and the hungarian people were sick and tired of what you did. YOU, as a “democrat” and you, personally. We (hungarians) were sick of your hipocracy, of your lying and of your ignorance. That is why this government received an unprecedented legitimacy in a free and fair election and this is why you and your “democrats” are still nowhere near Fidesz in the polls. It is not because people are dumb. Or because Fidesz controlls the media. You lost. Everything. Power, influence, money, nokia-boxes. That is, how the hungarian people have decided. You, as a “democrat” need to step back. Think about, what you did or what you did not do, why people… well… (let’s use the right word, even if it is not PC) hate you.

    And a final thought, as a little help for you: if you think, that the hungarians are stupid, fascists and anti-democratic and you do your best to make this beautiful country with it’s amazing people look bad… well, in that case guess what: they are not gonna vote for you. Not now, not ever. And that is a big problem: you see, Hungary is now more than ever a blooming democracy. With political parties and organisations growing out of nowhere rapidly, where none of your democratic rights are threatend by the government or by the police.That is nice, isn’t it? At least nicer, than it was a couple of years ago…

    • Gregodeen says:

      Wow, Daniel. It is hard to decide if you are really this ignorant. The other possibility is that you are spreading lies out of malice. Just a bit of advice: when you address the English-speaking community, tone down the rage. Your credibility suffers when all you can show for yourself is emotional reaction against someone who doesn’t agree with you.

      But this is what I really need to ask you to do: please go and get your constitutional history right. The previous constitution was a legitimate one, while the current one is not. The previous constitution was drawn up through roundtable negotiations. The governing party, the opposition and the civil sphere were represented at the table. They wrote the text by consensus. Two different parliaments voted it into law. The second time, in 1990, after the free elections, both the governing coalition and the opposition voted for it. This is how a constitution receives legitimacy.

      The party that single-handedly voted Hungary’s current constitution into law received 2.7 million votes in a country with 10 million citizens. The text of the constitution was drawn up by someone who admits writing it on his I-Pad while traveling on a train in France. It took parliament three weeks to go through the necessary motions to turn this document into the basic law of the country. By then, experts have pointed out serious concerns about it, but these were never addressed in the parliament’s debate. At the time it came into effect, the governing party had the support of 16% of the population. This is what’s called a constitution lacking in legitimacy. As you say, it is also true that it was written with a “you-lost-we-won” sentiment behind it. This makes it not only an illegitimate constitution, but also a bad one. If it’s not obvious to you why, then please also go and look up a basic textbook on constitutional theory.

      Here’s one more thing I’d like to ask of you. Please go and spend some time looking into this, because this is the truth. Go to a library and look up contemporary newspapers. The minutes of the roundtable talks were published in books that should also be available in a better library. From these documents, you can find out who said what while drawing up the previous constitution, and you can make your own conclusions about just how much the interests of various people were represented there. Whoever told you that the previous constitution was illegitimate, don’t just take their word for it, go look at the actual documents.

      Then, once you figured out that you’ve had this upside down all this time, please think about where you’ve been getting the false information. And about what else you heard from this source. Because if they lied to you once, it’s possible that they lied to you about other things too. Please do this for yourself, and do it for others too, because right now you are spreading lies that are an embarrassment to your country.

  25. Daniel says:

    I didn’t say explicitly that the old constitution was illegitimate. I said, that it was written and adopted by people, who did not have a democratic legitimacy. Because you can only gain that at free and fair democratic elections. Like it was the case with those drafting and voting on the new constitution of Hungary.

    As a sidenote: since you know so much about our old constitution, you also should be aware that it was not supported by every party at the roundtable negotioations in 1989.

    I do understand, that you think that 2,7 million Fidesz voters, who made it possible to draft a new constitution does not legitimate this document. I also understand that the 2/3 majority of the parliament doesn’t legitimate it in your opinion. And I respect that. The funny (i love that word) thing is, that a document adopted during a one-party system and with a few self-appointed (since there was no democratic election to gain the support of the people) oppositional members… well… had it.

    You know, i wasn’t at that table in 1989. I wasn’t asked in 1989. Nobody actually was. NOBODY. But if you really think, that the old constitution was and is the legitimate one, then in a democracy you have only one chance: convince the people, to abolish the new one and restore the old. You know, that is called democracy. Fidesz needed 2,7 million people for the 2/3 majority. With the new electoral law even less should be enough.

    I wouldn’t use the polls as an argument against Fidesz. See Fidesz still has more support, than the left all together. And if we look at the mid-term elections (local or parlamentiary) recently, the picture is even more clear.

    Oh, yeah. One more thing. Something is not democratic or legitim, just because the left does it, nor is something illegitim or anti-democratic because the right does it.

  26. Anonymous says:

    nem ellenzem hogy sajtószemlét tartsz, de ahogy bemutatod, bebizonyítja hogy te egy mocsok fráter vagy.

  27. old_punk75 says:

    Greetings from Hungary!

    I’m really happy that I’ve found this blog. I’ve read some of your posts and hehe, I liked them lol! It was really long time ago when I’ve read anything about fantasy or comedy and I didn’t even remember when I was reading both of them in the same writings.
    I am really amused by your smart misinterpretations – it shows your advanced writing skills – and I liked the way you are choosing facts and resources too and basically I do really like when you are trying to seem politically correct. I think if you continue like this you can get some cash to keep up your writings.
    I think that both of know that sometimes the people must be cared like dumbasses and hide some truth. We know that this all thing about Hungary, is about tabu’s and fears. Fears from other lefties that they will lose power at the next Europian parliament votes, fears that the pest will go on and on until there will be too much consevativism in the world and finally fears that maybe these things will open too many peoples mind about todays financial, government and banking systems. Hell, maybe too many people will see that after the great collapse of the soviet-union, the financial elite of capitalism lost the counterweight and finally now there is time to play out the cards in the right way. I mean… you know… we didn’t had the same opportunities when we always had to think about that we can’t do anything because if we use the people to the maximum profit, the anti-capitalist and other organizations came to rise and not talking about our positions in the soviet area of influence…

    I think I don’t need to talk more about this. I hope that you know these already and you share our view that this little Hungarian things for that illusionistic souverignity only lasts for some years and finally collapses because today there are no countries, not even Germany or the USA that can do anything against… you know…

    But returning to my original cause I’m writing this I didn’t saw your e-mail adresses on your pages but I see fantasy in you. Please contact me if you are interested.

    old_punk75

  28. Anonymous says:

    Thank you very much for this valuable blog! Please, go on writing!

  29. Petru says:

    This is a very good blog. I am happy the Hungarian nation is not dead and completely closed for new ideas.
    Excellent!

  30. Anonymous says:

    This is blog is not unbiased and authentic: this is a propaganda channel of the disgraced leftist parties of Hungary.

  31. Herbal weight loss pills that work are also commonly known as” empty calories. Green weight loss pills that works are cheap, as are antioxidants like vitamin C and calcium. Trying to choose one can be tricky. Side effects include overheating, insomnia, anxiety, headaches and insomnia. It is best to use supplements together with a healthy diet and regular exercise schedule. Potential side effects include abdomen discomfort, diarrhea, and constipation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s