Hungarian conservatives launch English-language journal

This month, we are witness to an eyebrow-raising development in Hungary. A new English-language journal entitled Hungarian Conservative is being launched on April 15th by the Batthyány Lajos Foundation — a non-profit group dating back to 1991 and established by Hungary’s first democratically elected prime minister, József Antall. The Batthyányi Circle of Professors, affiliared with this foundation, has been critical of Viktor Orbán in the past. The new journal’s editor-in-chief is the former ambassador to Ireland between 2011 and 2015 and university professor Tamás Magyarics, whose research focuses on twentieth century American history. Also on the editorial board is Gyula Kodolányi, a writer and former advisor to Prime Minister Antall on foreign policy matters. Present as well is John O’Sullivan, the late Margaret Thatcher’s speech writer.  Others involved include Gellért Rajcsányi, a journalist with Mandiner online news site, and former Fidesz politician György Schöpflin. Undoubtedly, the Hungarian Conservative team has decades of relevant experience in areas of public policy, academia and political commentary — and this should serve them well in their pursuits.

That said, it’s perplexing to read their assessment of the state of Hungarian conservatism:

We believe that the political success and intellectual renaissance of Hungarian conservatism over the past ten years affords ample grounds for sharing our thoughts and experiences on these issues with both friends and intellectual adversaries abroad. This journal aspires to be the foremost English-language voice of twenty-first-century Hungarianconservatism (sic), and a forum for rational debate on our future…Our objective is to address the outstanding issues of conservative thought in the realms of politics, society, religion, and culture, both past and present. Conservatism, after all, is by definition not a closed and coherent system. Therefore, one intended mission of the journal is to highlight the values—and value systems—which are at times sorely missed from our lives.

The journal will appear on a bimonthly basis, which should provide the editors and contributors ample opportunity to reflect on what the present regime of Prime Minister Orbán has done to conservatism and conservative thought in Hungary. As the foundation which gave birth to this journal was established by the leader of the now defunct Hungarian Democratic Forum, the demise of the party at the hands of Mr. Orbán’s Fidesz is one avenue to explore. I imagine that its former long suffering leaders, Ibolya Dávid and Károly Herényi, would be much obliged to share their experiences with a new conservative journal. The sad fate of the Heti Válasz weekly newspaper, launched under the first Orbán government of 1998-2002 as a conservative voice, is another piece of Hungarian conservative history. By the time Mr. Orbán returned to power in 2010, Heti Válasz had fallen out of favour to such an extent, that government ministers were mostly barred from offering them interviews. The political magazine’s mortal sin was that the foundation charged with publishing it was independent of Fidesz. While often supportive of the government, it did not shy away from also offering critiques. The magazine was eliminated in 2018, although some of the editorial team strived to keep a digital version of it alive. Nonetheless, it is shadow of its former self. The editors of Hungarian Conservative might speak with Gábor Borokai on his experiences of the Hungarian “conservative renaissance” that they suggest is presently underway. Although hardly examples of twenty-first century conservatism, the Hungarian Smallholders’ Party (FKGP) and the Hungarian Justice and Life Party (MIÉP) were also eliminated by the Fidesz.

The path of Hungarian conservatism is strewn with victims of the current regime. The real damage, however, is not the fact that Mr. Orbán resorted to salami tactics to destroy Hungarian right-wing parties and publications, but rather how he denigrated critical conservative thought, reducing it to self-serving, exceedingly cynical and morally bankrupt slogans aimed at nothing more than building on base instincts in Hungarian society and keeping his one-man party in power in perpetuity. I fear that the new journal will avoid these difficult discussions by instead looking outward and focusing on international matters or theory, while ignoring the elephant in the room.

 

7 Comments

  1. Avatar Dr, FODOR ANDRÁS says:

    Dear Christopher, many thanks for this article, Let me argue a little with you. I doubt that your pessimistic forecasts would be materialized. Instead, I assume just the opposite. The logical next step from the Government must be a half-positive turn toward the shared class of Hungarian intellectuals. The only way to succeed at these efforts is to make several compromises. The invitation to Mr. Stump to the University Remodelling program is an important sign. Mr. Orbán is an intelligent politician who knows extremely well that a country cannot be led forever without using its head and brain, the intellectuals. The problem is that although a large part of the Hungarian intellectuals would be willing to live in a national symbiosis with the patriotic Government in a democratic way while a sansculotte segment of would not like to be. The common interest of every Hungarian is to stop the psychological civil was state and build a peaceful European country in the future. Your journal, Christopher may play an extremely important positive role. This correct introduction to the new Hungarian English-speaking journal is a good start. Thnak you, Christopher.

  2. Avatar Dr, FODOR ANDRÁS says:

    Kedves Lázár György!

    Nem tartozik szorosan a témához, mégis, hadd kérdezzem meg higy tud Ön ennyire “dialektikus” lenni? Més szavakkal: elmagyarézná-e hőséges olvasóinak azt, amit most találtam Önről a Neokohn-ban Budapesten? Csak nem postcovid szinndróüma a magyarázat? Kedves olvasótérsak, klrem olvassák, ilyet nem mindennap olvasni: Szakállas hazugság újratöltve
    Feldmájer Péter Belföld, Vélemény 2021. április 13. kedd, 17:29

    Lázár György Facebook-posztjában a Molotov-Ribbentrop-paktumot próbálja mentegetni, de ebben nincs semmi új, ezt már nála sokkal jobban felkészült propagandisták, sőt egész propagandaosztályok is próbálták, de sok kommunista párt éppen a paktum miatt szakadt ketté. Feldmájer Péter szerkesztőségünkhöz eljuttatott véleménycikkét közöljük.

    Ez a kísérlete tehát szóra sem érdemes, nagyjából annyit ér, mintha valaki II. Szulejmán áldásos tevékenységére hivatkozna azzal, hogy a mohácsi csata milyen jó volt a magyaroknak, mert a népesség jelentős részének kiirtása után a magyar Alföldön csökkent a környezetszennyezés…

    Egyetlen megjegyzése az, amelyre érdemes tényszerűen válaszolni. Ez pedig az, hogy szerinte zsidók százezreinek, ha nem millióinak az életét mentették meg a bevonuló szovjet csapatok.

    Hogy ezt honnan szedi nem tudni.

    Egy azonban tény, a kelet-lengyelországi területek elfoglalásakor a sztálini propaganda azt terjesztette, hogy ez nem más, mint „az ukránoknak és a fehéroroszoknak a lengyel iga alól történő felszabadítása” és az igaz is, hogy az ukránok és a fehéroroszok valóban örömmel fogadták a Vörös Hadsereget.

    A szovjetek pontosan tudták, hogy mi történik, mi lesz a német uralom alá került területeken élő zsidók sorsa, ennek ellenére a létrejött paktum miatt az összegyűjtött foglyokat, akik az 1939. szeptember 1. előtt Lengyelország nyugati részén élték, amely Németországhoz, illetve a megszállt Főkormányzósághoz került, átadták október 24. és november 23. között a németeknek, 42 492 személyt, köztük többezer zsidót – a lengyelek sorsa nem ismert, a zsidókra a biztos halál várt.

    Hát ennyit arról, hogyan védte meg Sztálin és rendszere az uralmuk alá került zsidókat.

    Az 1941 után ott folytatott zsidók elleni német népirtás adatai egyébként nem támasztják alá Lázár értelmezését. Ha a szovjet hatóságok kimenekítették volna a világ talán legnagyobb zsidó-népsűrűségű területéről az ott lakókat, akkor kik maradtak ott, akiket meggyilkoltak?

    Akiket politikailag kockázatosnak tartottak, azokat elvitték a Gulagra, a többieket otthagyták az Einsatzkommandóknak, akik mintegy 1,5 millió zsidót öltek meg a Wehrmacht után haladva 1941 őszén-telén – persze az ukrán, fehérorosz segítőik örömmel és odaadással folytak bele a soha nem látott mértékű pogromba, amiről ükapáik még csak álmodoztak. (Megrendítően ír a tömeggyilkosságokról Vaszilij Grosszman az Élet és sors című könyvében, amely e csodás regényen belül egy önálló kisregényt alkot. Európa Könyvkiadó, 2013).

    A pisztollyal, géppuskával végrehajtott mészárlások a későbbi halálgyárak előjátékai voltak. Szomorú tény, hogy a gázkamrák prototípusait, a gépkocsik rakterébe vezetett gyilkos kipufogógázak alkalmazását egy orvosprofesszor (!), SS parancsnok találta fel.

    Ezek nagyjából közismert tények, aki szeretne erről részletesebben olvasni, elolvashatja például Jörg Baberowski: Felperzselt föld című könyvét (Európa Kiadó, 2015), amely részletesen foglalkozik többek közt a három balti köztársaság és Kelet-Lengyelország területének szovjet megszállásával és az ott történt eseményekke

  3. Avatar Prof. Dr. Dr. Prof. h.c. mult. Don Kichote says:

    🙂 Dear Christopher Adam,

    when I see this Hungarian conservative “Kezét csókolom!” which is implied to be a new movement then I am afraid that Orbán with his fascism looks downright modern. Is this conservative a derivative of canned?

  4. Avatar András B. Göllner says:

    The individuals listed by Dr. Adam on the masthead of the new propaganda rag of the Orbán autocracy are not conservatives but house-painters. Their job is to white-wash the disgusting injustices committed under the label of conservatism in Hungary during the past century and a half. Wherever Schöpflin or Kodolányi goes, the truth falls by the wayside. The two boot-lickers should be ashamed of their role in the affinity fraud perpetuated on conservatism in Hungary by that clever former young bolshevik, Viktor Orbán (aka O1G). What they have done together with Hungary’s leading kleptocrat is a national disgrace. Their spot in the dustbin of Hungarian history is well deserved. They would do much better by white-washing the idiotic musings of that neotrol joker above – András Fodor – whose sole ambition in life appears to be nothing more than to exterminate any meaningful dialogue in this underpass.

    • ” whose sole ambition in life appears to be nothing more than to exterminate any meaningful dialogue in this underpass.”

      Based on your interactions around here, it seems to me that your idea of dialogue is universal ideological conformity with you. Is that really dialogue? All opposing views banished, leaving only those who agree with each other? Perhaps Stalinist dialogue!!!

      Those who disagree with you are not “exterminating dialogue”. You are doing it every time you demand conformity.

  5. Avatar György Lázár says:

    Dear Mr. Fodor,

    You submitted a lengthy Hungarian-language article which appeared on the Neokohn portal. This portal often attacks people, distort their comments, tries to discredit them and even posts their photos. Their comments do not deserve a response.

    On Yom HaShoa I did indeed have a Facebook note and mentioned that after the shameful Molotov-Ribbentrop pact many Jews ran East and found freedom in the Soviet Union. Stalin relocated hundreds of thousands of Jews to Central Asia where the conditions were terrible, some perished in camps but most survived. Those who stayed under German occupation were butchered.

    You may want to read about this from credible US sources. Here are some links.

    And please avoid fake news Neokohn.

    Best -György

    https://www.jewishgen.org/databases/holocaust/0136_uzbek.html

    https://www.yiddishbookcenter.org/collections/oral-histories/excerpts/woh-ex-0004194/my-father-s-escape-poland-soviet-union-after-nazi-invasion

    • “This portal often attacks people, distort their comments, tries to discredit them and even posts their photos.”

      Your writing style actually tends to lean towards the same recipe. Most of your articles are geared that way!

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