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Jan 31 2012

Hungary joins the United States in pandering to the wingnut brigade

I was feeling lonely. The daily spectacle of the Republican presidential candidates prancing their “family values” about the stage had me wondering…is there any other country in the world that would give such idiots such prominence?

And yes there is. Hungary. They just passed a new law that sounds so…American.

The new law says the family, based upon marriage of a man and a woman whose mission is fulfilled by raising children, is an "autonomous community…established before the emergence of law and the State" and that the State must respect it as a matter of national survival. It says "Embryonic and foetal life shall be entitled to protection and respect from the moment of conception," and the state should encourage "homely circumstances" for child care. It obliges the media to respect marriage and parenting and assigns parents, rather than the State, primary responsibility for protecting the rights of the child. The law enumerates responsibilities for minors, including respect and care for elderly parents.

Hungary also has a new constitution, with some good points mingled among the bad.

The constitution calls for the protection of life from conception and bans torture, human trafficking, eugenics, and human cloning. It recognizes marriage as the “conjugal union of a man and a woman.”

Something about their obsessions suggests the grasping hand of the Catholic Church in all this.

64 comments

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  1. 1
    Thy Goddess

    Why is the world constantly regressing like that? It’s great they ban torture and the likes (was it legal up until now? Good to know.) but why do they hate my vagina so much?

  2. 2
    skmarshall

    This is an interesting series on Paul Krugman’s blog, detailing some of the developments in Hungary. I find it alarming.

    The Unconstitutional Constitution

  3. 3
    Nick Gotts

    The situation in Hungary is extremely worrying. A right-wing party, Fidesz, which includes strong antisemitic and anti-Roma elements, was elected with a 2/3 majority. This has enabled it to pass a new constitution, and to replace all the public sector apppointees it does not like with its own people, giving them 9-year terms so even if it loses the next election, the incoming government can simply be sabotaged. It has declared that Hungary is no longer a republic but “the state of all Hungarians” – there are many Hungarians living in Romania and smaller numbers in other neighbouring states. The Roma are subject to increasing persecution, particularly by the militia of the fascist* party Jobbik. The EU has raised objections to aspects of the constitution – although the one that most worries it seems to be the threat to the independence of the central bank! The EU does have significant leverage, as Hungary is in dire financial straits and needs a bailout.

    *I never use the term “fascist” loosely. Jobbik is part of an alliance of fascist parties in the European Parliament including the Italian “Fiamma Tricolore”, which openly celebrates Mussolini’s “Italian Social Republic” (set up under Nazi auspices after Mussolini’s overthrow, imprisonment, and rescue by German troops), as well as the French and Belgian Fronts Nationals, and the British BNP. Hungary has a long fascist tradition. Among Nazi Germany’s allies, it was only Hungary that remained loyal to the end.

  4. 4
    dianne

    If the constitution bans cloning, what’s the penalty for giving birth to identical twins? And is the father charged too for his part in the cloning or is it assumed that the only fault is the mother’s?

  5. 5
    Matt Penfold

    There is some good news in all this, and that is that European Union is already looking into taking Hungary to court over some of changes.

  6. 6
    otranreg

    Damn, they make nice canned fruits (aware of the pun) there, and here’s a reason not to buy them.

  7. 7
    raven

    Oh Cthulhu, they never learn.

    I suppose the next thing to do is form an alliance with Austria. Take over the Balkans. Form alliances with Turkey and Germany.

    Wait for a southern Slavic nationalist to assassinate one of their politicians. Get the Russians in there somewhere.

    Presto!!! Instant chaos for another century. Because the last one went so well for Europe.

  8. 8
    otranreg

    Though, seriously — it’s a good reason for centralising the Union more.

  9. 9
    hmuda

    As a Hungarian, I want to apologize for the mess our retards on top caused. To be honest, I got tired of the 24/7 willful inability to cooperate between the parties. That’s why I stopped paying attention to any kind of news from inside my country since the last cabinet. The ineptitude, selfishness and corruption of the Hungarian politicians only made my blood boil every time I turned on the TV. So things like this completely passed under my radar.

    The last I heard about it was the time when they passed the new constitution in practically a few days without any real thought going into the thing.

    I wish these kinds of blatant dark-agey things would result in the same fervent protests and riots that occurred a few years ago when the last prime minister was caught admitting to his advisors that they were lying to the people during their entire term.

    Yeah. This is a fucked up country. I remember I used to get offended when anyone lumped us together with the Balkan countries. Not any more.

  10. 10
    Zeppelin

    That law does indeed sound American.

    Which, considering that it was passed by what are basically thinly-to-not-at-all-disguised neofascists, says a lot about the political culture of the US.

  11. 11
    jjgdenisrobert

    And people complained about Communism restricting freedom… Which just goes to show: It has nothing to do with Left or Right, but rather with Authoritarian vs Liberal. Authoritarians, left or right, will always end up doing the same thing, even if nominally for different reasons.

  12. 12
    Teh kiloGraeme

    @ #8 otranreg

    Seriously? You think further centralization is a good plan?

  13. 13
    alexandra14c

    Yeah, there’s a reason that child over at Bad Catholic blog keeps threatening to move to Hungary.

  14. 14
    Synfandel

    …the family, based upon marriage of a man and a woman whose mission is fulfilled by raising children…

    I get so tired of hearing that the purpose (or “mission”) of marriage is to raise children. I’m happily married and will never have children. For medical reasons, bearing a child would have been a really bad idea, and possibly a fatal one, for my wife. And I’ve taken a common and routine measure to see that it never happens. Does that mean we’re not married? Does it mean we shouldn’t be married? Does it mean our marriage has no purpose? If your only reason for marrying is to have children, I put it to you that your marriage is already a failure. It’s worse than marrying just to get a green card.

  15. 15
    amadan

    Looks like a direct lift from the Irish Consitution, Article 41:

    1° The State recognises the Family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law.

    In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.

    2° The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.
    3. 1° The State pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of Marriage, on which the Family is founded, and to protect it against attack.

    This is a vintage 1937 National Embarrassment to Ireland (one of many!) and we’ve been trying to get rid of it for years.
    Don’t do it, Hungary!

  16. 16
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    I’m happily married and will never have children.

    Same, but ours isn’t a medical choice. It’s just a choice.

    If that twists the undies of the fundys just a little, I’m glad I could do my part. Though they had exactly zero bearing in our decision.

  17. 17
    otranreg

    @12

    ‘Seriously? You think further centralization is a good plan?’

    Absolutely. Apart from other considerations, and more relevantly to the topic — Nazi-types prey on regionalism, self-importance and delusions of grandeur. Unified foreign policy and a determined legal power above these regional governments will curtail all three.

  18. 18
    Natalie Reed

    *sigh*

    Coming from a Hungarian family, these kinds of things always break my heart a little bit. Did you hear about that law passed recently where they made homelessness illegal, and decided to enforce that law through a fine?

    I’d be interested to learn more about how and when this current wave of hardcore right-wing policy-making began in Hungary.

  19. 19
    wasd

    Oh noooo with all these kids raised by same-sex couples who want them instead of mothers who do not the country is going extinct! Also gambling, war, prostitution and murder all existed before the emergence of state and the law and should therefore be legal.. no they should be mandatory!

    Anyways, Hungary isn’t at all like the US. Only 39,0% of Hungarians consider religion important in their daily life versus 58,5% who do not. In the US that’s basically the other way around (65,0% important versus 34,5% unimportant)

    That makes Hungary more secular than such well know secular places as, say, Israel (49,5% versus 49,5%), Uzbekistan (51,0% versus 45,5%) and Uruguay (40.5% versus 59%)

    The US is more like Argentina (66,0% versus 33,0%). I know, I know along, along with some intense poverty the US also has plenty of pockets of significant wealth. Somewhat like say Singapore (70,0% versus 29,0%) I guess. Still the US is not that far off from Mexico ( 72,0% versus 25,5%) and Botswana (77,0% versus 23,0%).

    The point is Hungary isn’t really that religious, its just going trough a bit of fascist-y phase. They will get over it. The currently governing radical right wing party has already lost most of its support in the polls. In fact that may be why they are so eager to “fix” the constitution and election system while appointing party loyalist to key positions for longer and longer terms without following the procedures that call for a debate in parliament on such matters. The rest of the world doesn’t care much, especially not Europe. The one thing that bothers Europe: the replacement of the head of the central bank by a party lackey. The rest of the world prefers its central bankers “independent”… meaning they answer to bankers not to voters (like such success stories as Allen Greenspan)

    When European countries are governed by anti-democratic parties like the Hungarian Fidesz or Berlusconis coalition of the week Europe tends to give them a deal: In Brussels these parties are expected vote along the christian democratic European Peoples parties party line and in exchange the EU wont bother them at home. Its dealmaking like that that has allowed the EPP to be the the biggest party block in the European parliament for decades.

    European voters might not always realise which parties they keep in power in Brussels by voting for the parties they know nationally.

  20. 20
    mudpuddles

    @ Matt Penfold (#5)

    Yes, you can be pretty sure that any challenege to the homophobic & bigoted aspects of that constituion that comes before the European Court of Human Rights will succeed. The CHR has a pretty good track record (from the sane person’s perspective, that is).

  21. 21
    Walton

    The situation in Hungary is extremely worrying. A right-wing party, Fidesz, which includes strong antisemitic and anti-Roma elements, was elected with a 2/3 majority. This has enabled it to pass a new constitution, and to replace all the public sector apppointees it does not like with its own people, giving them 9-year terms so even if it loses the next election, the incoming government can simply be sabotaged. It has declared that Hungary is no longer a republic but “the state of all Hungarians” – there are many Hungarians living in Romania and smaller numbers in other neighbouring states. The Roma are subject to increasing persecution, particularly by the militia of the fascist* party Jobbik.

    It’s extremely frightening. Generally, the amount of violent hostility towards the Roma in Europe really scares me; racial hatred towards them still seems to be socially acceptable, to a much greater degree than towards other groups. In combination with the growing xenophobic hatred towards Muslims and towards immigrants from Muslim countries, I’m very worried that there’s going to be a large-scale resurgence of the far right in Europe in my lifetime.

    Hungary has a long fascist tradition. Among Nazi Germany’s allies, it was only Hungary that remained loyal to the end.

    Indeed. There was Miklós Horthy, the military dictator who pulled the same trick as Franco – claiming to be a monarchist while declining to restore the actual king to the throne, and declaring himself to be “regent” with absolute powers. Not only was he allied with Hitler, his regime imposed anti-Semitic laws, and allowed the Germans to transport more than 400,000 Hungarian Jews to death camps.

  22. 22
    samsalerno

    Well of course. What were you expecting the Spanish inquisition.

  23. 23
    Bronze Dog

    I was completely oblivious to this before coming to the blog. (My Americanness is showing, isn’t it?) I really hope those of you across the pond can handle the situation safely, especially the sane Hungarians. From what I’ve read here, I’m worried that history might be repeated if the trend is allowed to continue. Good luck countering it.

    And, of course, I’m quite aware of the nasty trends going on with American wingnuts. I’ll do what I can about them.

  24. 24
    anteprepro

    From PZ’s quoted section:

    It obliges the media to respect marriage and parenting and assigns parents, rather than the State, primary responsibility for protecting the rights of the child.

    What a brilliant way to assure that child abuse can happen without any outside intervention! Just gotta love that it seems just as common of a right-wing policy as the anti-gay and pro-fetus nonsense that’s also crammed into this law.

    Also:

    The law enumerates responsibilities for minors, including respect and care for elderly parents.

    Seriously? Children in these situations are EXPECTED to take care of their parents, and thus also take care of themselves? Let no one fool themselves into thinking that the people who wrote this schlock give a damn about children. Fetus or fucked, as far as they are concerned.

  25. 25
    Ing

    I get so tired of hearing that the purpose (or “mission”) of marriage is to raise children.

    FFS by 2050 we will have 9 billion people. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED PLEASE STOP!

  26. 26
    Nick Gotts

    I’d be interested to learn more about how and when this current wave of hardcore right-wing policy-making began in Hungary. – Natalie Reed

    The previous “Socialist” (centre-left) government screwed up badly, and its leader was caught out admitting he’d lied about the state of the economy to win the general election before last. Fidesz, which can best be classed as a conservative party pandering to popular prejudices against Jews, Roma and LGBT people, won a 2/3 majority in the 2010 elections, which allows it to change the constitution. It is intent on entrenching itself in power, despite now being extremely unpopular. There are at least two parties to its right, best classifed as fascist; one of these, Jobbik, which has a paramilitary militia that concentrates on beating up Roma, also won seats in Parliament.

  27. 27
    raven

    wikipedia:

    Hungarian Judaism 12,871, 0.1% out of a population of 10 million.

    I don’t know why they bother with the antisemitism.

    Thanks to World War II, there aren’t even a huge number of Hungarian Jews left. There are 13,000 out of a population of 10 million.

  28. 28
    Ing

    @Raven

    It would be harder to be anti-Semitic with a large jewish population.

    People’s “feelings” and “friends” would get in the way.

  29. 29
    Kristof

    It sounds almost exactly the same as right-wing rhetoric in Poland.

  30. 30
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    The law enumerates responsibilities for minors, including respect and care for elderly parents.

    So if your parents abused the shit out of you, not only are you obliged to keep in touch with them and care for them (and of course that burden will fall most heavily to women, as i does everywhere), you’re obliged to respect them.

    Oh, wait, I forgot, fascism in particular and conservatism in general aren’t about what’s best for people. They’re about preserving social hierarchies.

  31. 31
    pelamun, the Linguist of Doom

    The EU has a bad track record reining in extremist governments, see the example of Austria.

    However, I do agree that the ECHR is a better bet (and it isn’t an EU institution anyways)

    On a personal note, I’ve heard stories about homophobia going strong in Hungary, could be the lingering influence of Catholicism, or reasons independent of that. AFAIK, from the former Warsaw Pact states, only Poland shows a serious degree of religiosity today.

  32. 32
    Teh kiloGraeme

    @otranreg

    Absolutely. Apart from other considerations, and more relevantly to the topic — Nazi-types prey on regionalism, self-importance and delusions of grandeur.

    Which can occur in any political organisation or structure. The problem with greater centralization is that it removes touch with the people who actually provide the political mandate for action. This surely makes it more likely that these movements will start. The regions will still exist, will feel disempowered and are more likely to spawn self-important regionalist attitudes.

    Unified foreign policy and a determined legal power above these regional governments will curtail all three.

    Well the ECHR seems to have had many good effects, however greater centralization requires more than just broad consensus on foreign policy (which is already shared by many in the EU), it also requires political union. If you intend to make a proper legal power, then you need to effectively remove authority from the people even further than it is now. This just means you concentrate the arrogance and self importance at a different level, which is even less responsive to the people.

  33. 33
    pelamun, the Linguist of Doom

    We’re still far, far away from a unified foreign policy right now.

    And the EU right now is at a crossroads, the EU level is too far away from the daily lives of many citizens. The powers of the EP are still insufficient, which is reflected by the lack of attention it and its politicians receive in the various national media.

    The German constitutional court (and I’m sure other countries might have similar problems) put the kibosh on more centralisation effectively anyways. This cannot be changed by a constitutional amendment, as the articles the Court cited fall under the perpetuity clause.

  34. 34
    unclefrogy

    this for me illustrates the either or thinking that characterized much of the thinking during the “cold war”.
    It became a struggle between all good and all evil. The communists were the “oppressors” clearly so those who were seen as most at odds were the good guys, that became the religious thinkers in eastern in poland it was the catholic church and it seems that in hungry it was the neo-nazis not far from the catholics and of course the rich and the wanta be rich crooks and gangsters everywhere. Here it was the “free-market capitalists” and the religious right.
    no where is there thought it seems to try and find a middle way between the dictatorship of the proletariat and theocratic fascism and/or Laissez-faire capitalist anarchy.
    It is here as well as the former soviet union. What is it with people that they are so attracted to repression that they are willing to sell themselves in to it so readily?

    uncle frogy

  35. 35
    pelamun, the Linguist of Doom

    unclefroggy,

    the fact that in many former Warsaw Bloc states, former communist parties (usually after a name change to “left/socialist” party) have risen to power after the Iron Curtain fell, including Hungary, somewhat contradicts your manichaic world view hypothesis…

  36. 36
    pelamun, the Linguist of Doom

    sorry for misspelling your nym, uncle frogy.

  37. 37
    pelamun, the Linguist of Doom

    the first wave of ex-communists coming to power (since it was through democratic elections, my phrasing was a little off) was:

    1992: Lithuania
    1993: Poland
    1994: Hungary

  38. 38
    TimKO,,.,,

    is there any other country in the world that would give such idiots such prominence?

    Most Africa nations and the 24 nations that have sharia law. And the country of Texas.

  39. 39
    unclefrogy

    what I mean is that I see little strong support for liberal democratic principles and policies here or anywhere else but That may be from my limited view. Surely not in Russia and it seems not in Hungry either. It looks like either or to me with the only thing consistent is the lack of any effective democracy it is power politics with a right wing facade or a left wing facade but for the majority of the people with no voice or choice.

    uncle frogy

  40. 40
    lordshipmayhem

    The new law says the family, based upon marriage of a man and a woman whose mission is fulfilled by raising children

    So, if I read this correctly, my father’s second marriage – to a wonderful woman a couple of years older than him – wouldn’t have been valid in their eyes if the happy couple were Hungarian.

    You see, Dad was in his 80′s. Not a lot of “raising children” at that age.

  41. 41
    laszlomolnar

    unclefrogy: That will be Hungary and not “hungry”. Thanks a lot.

    De we Hungarians live in a democracy or in a totalitarian state? Let’s see, the ruling party tries to shape a lot of things to fit their needs. They make bad laws. They don’t humiliate and send back foreigners from the border just because an offending tweet. We don’t strip people’s rights to personal freedom (Patriot Act, TSA, etc). Hungary is no more totalitarian than the States, which is supposedly the land of freedom.

    For a bit of history: Fidesz took over after 8 years of left-side government in 2010, and blasted the ruling party to pieces. People were fed up with the impotent handling of the country’s economy, especially during the crisis, the evident signs of widespread corruption and the major ignorance displayed by a lot of politicians. So people voted, simply in protest or thinking, well, Fidesz will obviously win so they’ll be prepared and everything, right? It turned out that they weren’t and are just as ignorant pieces of (feces) like the other side. Idiotic, over the top symbolics, rushed, flawed lawmaking and general incompetence, completed with seemingly total loss of how the EU and global economics work (you won’t get any IMF funds or be able to sell state bonds, or whatever are they called in English, if you play the dick who ignores the big guys’ requests). But in any case we’re at least not Greece. Kinda like a small italy with a small Berlusconi.

    The thing is: a growing majority (count me in) has no party to choose: the opposition is broken to small parties that are either seriously compromised by the people from the past governments, are inexperienced and have no real voting base, or are fascist, racist, anti-EU nationalists. No wonder Fidesz still leads the polls, despite the last two years. No serious contender has risen from civil movements either yet that would have any chance to beat’em.

    Now, about the stuff PZ mentions: yes, Fidesz is conservative, with a Christian wing (officially a separate party, practically a subsidiary). So we get all the craziness, or similar, you Americans get from the GOP. Family is man+woman? Check. Opposing abortion? Check – not in the laws however. Strong ties to the (Catholic) church? Check. Anti-GMO? Check – now in laws, too, hurray! Creationism creeping into syllabuses? Ummm… no. Those guys are the fringe here, trying to get any attention. Young-Earth creationism? A few lunatics. Huge Christian majority? Nope. Only 44% stated to believe in God and 19% are atheists. (For the US it’s about 85% and 2%, according to Wikipedia.)

    So take an advice from us, ruled (still, more or less, democratically) by total wingnuts: don’t elect ignorant wingnuts to lead one of the worlds most powerful country! Pretty please? We’ll fight our battles here.

  42. 42
    pelamun, the Linguist of Doom

    uncle frogy,

    that is true that in many transformational countries democratic traditions aren’t as strong as in Western Europe, but I do think that 20 years should be enough.

    You should be aware that the current government came to power after a scandal hit the previous leftist government, with the PM on tape admitting that he had lied to the Hungarian people in order to get elected.

  43. 43
    pelamun, the Linguist of Doom

    what laszlomolnar said.

    Just to clarify: “20 years should be enough for democratic practices to take hold”. (The EU would also actually notice if Hungary was Russia in disguise)

  44. 44
    adamszentirmai-schon

    Hi there! I’m also a hungarian. I also feel very bad and embarassed about the stupid new constitution.
    However, there is a context. The world population is growing, but the number of hungarians is shrinking, and this is a big problem, because every year, (in proportion) less people are paying taxes, from witch the state has to pay for pensions for more elderly people. Also, in Hungary, there is free medical treatment for everyone, and the state provides free university education and many other social benefits.
    I think this is partly the reason, why politicians want to declare, that family is for “making little hungarians”.

    On an other topic, frankly, I don’t understend, where people get these ideas, that in Hungary there is a persecution of minorities.

    @KG Where are you getting this stuff from?

    The Roma are subject to increasing persecution,…

    There are at least two parties to its right, best classifed as fascist; one of these, Jobbik, which has a paramilitary militia that concentrates on beating up Roma, also won seats in Parliament.

    What are you talking about? I tried to search for newsarticles, in case I missed something. The only ones I did find, reports about Roma citizens beating up (sometimes brutally) members of Jobbik.

  45. 45
    pelamun, the Linguist of Doom

    From Wikipedia:

    Hungary has seen escalating violence against the Romani people. On 23 February 2009, a Romani man and his five-year old son were shot dead in Tatárszentgyörgy village southeast of Budapest as they were fleeing their burning house which was set alight by a petrol bomb. The dead man’s two other children suffered serious burns. Suspects were arrested and are currently on trial.[55]

    Another commentator feels that Hungary is on the brink of a race war with the ethnic Hungarian paramilitary Magyar Garda in confrontation with the Romani Garda.[56]

    Also quite easy to come across links about “Roma persecution in Hungary”

    - http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2010/09/gypsy-roma-sarkozy/
    - http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=552
    - http://worldfocus.org/blog/2009/02/12/gypsies-are-at-home-in-hungary-but-still-dont-fit-in/4035/

    Of course, Hungary is far from being the only EU member nation that discriminates against its Romani citizens, but I find it bewildering to claim that there is no “persecution of minorities” there. BTW, LGBT people are a minority too…

  46. 46
    Ing

    However, there is a context. The world population is growing, but the number of hungarians is shrinking, and this is a big problem, because every year, (in proportion) less people are paying taxes, from witch the state has to pay for pensions for more elderly people. Also, in Hungary, there is free medical treatment for everyone, and the state provides free university education and many other social benefits.

    Good.

    No seriously, we have too many people we can’t keep growing. Someone has to be OK with a shrinking population. Insisting it be someone else is absurdly selfish.

    Besides, isn’t the pension problem one that’ll solve itself? The next generation will be a lot less to support.

  47. 47
    unclefrogy

    >>>The thing is: a growing majority (count me in) has no party to choose: the opposition is broken to small parties that are either seriously compromised by the people from the past governments, are inexperienced and have no real voting base, or are fascist, racist, anti-EU nationalists.<<<

    that is what I mean I don't try to speak in absolutes but liberal democratic ideals don't even seem to be understood by the majority of the right wing reactionary voters here the "tea party republicans" nor the Christian right wing republicans. I guess I find it surprising that anti-democratic ideas are so easily accepted and not universally condemned.
    I hope that all the those who favor more citizen self-rule and the protection of the rights and freedoms of the individual as well as the responsibilities gain more voice in all countries.

    sorry about spelling, spellchecker was made for people like me sometimes it's suggestions are bizarre as well as wrong

    uncle frogy

  48. 48
    Q.E.D

    Love Hungarian salami. Hate fascists.

  49. 49
    adamszentirmai-schon

    @pelamun: I forgot about LGBT people, sorry, that’s my bad.
    About the articles you linked: Those aren’t evidence for the claim, that Roma are persecuted here.

    Yes, there were violent crimes against Roma people by hungarian or Roma criminals.
    And so were against hungarian people by Roma or by hungarian criminals.
    For example, Szögi Lajos, a schoolteacher was beaten to death in front his two daughters, and then the two little girls were threaten with rape and murder by a Roma mob. I could go on, the list is long.

    I myself had the pleasant experience of having a knife at my throat, and having spat on my face by Roma, for no reason.
    Now, does this mean, that there is a persecution of hungarians in
    Hungary?
    I would say no. These are criminal actions, and should be investigated and treated the same way.

    The wikipedia article also talks about the feelings of a commentator. Honestly, if I tought, that someones feelings are good evidence, I would go ahead and rejoin the Church, and quit beeing an atheist.

    @We Are Ing: Of course, but this is very easy to say, when not your economy collapses, and you are not the one, who has to work 5-10-15 years more of his life, only to recive a pension, that is hardly enough to buy your food, and pay for your medication.

  50. 50
    pelamun, the Linguist of Doom

    Sigh, do you really need me to quote from the links I gave above?

    Eight similar killings have taken place in neighbouring Hungary over the past 18 months, and 30 firebombing attacks have been reported

    Less than 4 per cent of Hungarian Roma attend university. In 2009, over a fifth of Roma children in Hungary had been placed in special schools, cutting them off from the mainstream and consigning them to classes for the handicapped. Less than 10 per cent matriculate. These are the numbers of misery.

    Independent monitors have noted that most if not all of these Hungarians are Roma fleeing persecution on ethnic grounds in Hungary. More are arriving every week

    the chief of police in Hungary’s third largest city, stated last year that “gypsy and Hungarian culture cannot coexist without conflict.”

    What happened to you is regrettable and should be persecuted as the crime it is. However, you do not seem to understand the power imbalances here. To say that 1.9% Roma are persecuting 93.2% Hungarians is preposterous.

    Here is another paragraph from Wikipedia about economic inequality (I’m sure there might be more data in Hungarian):

    Racial inequality, which strikes primarily Roma in Hungary, is a serious problem. Although the definition of the Roma identity is controversial,[78] qualitative studies prove that the Roma employment rate decreased significantly following the fall of Communism:[79] due to the tremendous layoffs of unskilled workers[80] during the transition years, more than one-third of Roma were excluded from the labour market.[81] Therefore, this ethnic conflict is inherently interconnected with the income inequalities in the country[82] – at least two-thirds of the poorest 300,000 people in Hungary are Romas.[82] Furthermore, ethnic discrimination is outstandingly high, 32% of Romas experience discrimination when looking for work.[83] Consequently, new Roma entrants to the labour market are rarely able to find employment,[81] which creates a motivation deficit and further reinforces segregation and unemployment.[84]

    You didn’t bring it up, but there might be a legal distinction between discrimination and persecution. There seems to be an argument whether persecution is happening or not, as discussed under one of the links I provided. But there is no doubt about the fact that Roma are discriminated against in Hungary.

  51. 51
    David Marjanović

    There is some good news in all this, and that is that European Union is already looking into taking Hungary to court over some of changes.

    Yes, and Orbán has already caved on a few things. (Even though he frames it “they didn’t convince me of anything at all, we just need the money”.)

    I suppose the next thing to do is form an alliance with Austria.

    As an Austrian, I can only LOL. Hungarian ultranationalism looks quaint and ridiculous from the outside.

    Besides, what would “alliance” even mean? Both Hungary and Austria are in the EU already.

    Take over the Balkans.

    Easier said than done! :-D

    Seriously? You think further centralization is a good plan?

    Absolutely. There are decisions that should be taken on a local level, decisions that should be taken on a regional level, decisions that should be taken on a national level, and decisions that are simply too big for a single country and should be taken at the union level. Most of those are still being taken at the national level, with quite bad results: 1) the complete and total independence of the European Central Bank from politics has backfired; 2) in spite of Merkozy, there’s still no Tobin Tax.

    European voters might not always realise which parties they keep in power in Brussels by voting for the parties they know nationally.

    You know, it doesn’t matter much. Even after the Treaty of Lisbon that has made the European Parliament much more powerful than before, it’s still quite powerless – unfortunately.

    The EU has a bad track record reining in extremist governments, see the example of Austria.

    Everyone has learned from that example.

    AFAIK, from the former Warsaw Pact states, only Poland shows a serious degree of religiosity today.

    And even there, it’s declining.

    However, in Romania, the (Orthodox) church is taking over the functions of the failing state.

    This cannot be changed by a constitutional amendment, as the articles the Court cited fall under the perpetuity clause.

    *blink*

    The what?

    Are there parts of the German constitution that cannot be amended!?! Where did people take the arrogance from to vote on eternity?

    On an other topic, frankly, I don’t understend, where people get these ideas, that in Hungary there is a persecution of minorities.

    @KG Where are you getting this stuff from?

    So it’s true: “a small Italy with a small Berlusconi” who controls all the media.

    *sigh*

    Besides, isn’t the pension problem one that’ll solve itself? The next generation will be a lot less to support.

    But the generation that’s retiring right now isn’t “a lot less”.

  52. 52
    pelamun, the Linguist of Doom

    Are there parts of the German constitution that cannot be amended!?! Where did people take the arrogance from to vote on eternity?

    vote? the constitution is called Basic Law, the people never voted it, it was ratified by the state parliaments (except for Bavaria). thus theoretically it would be possible to draft a new constitution and submit it to the people as was originally envisioned.

    but I wouldn’t call it arrogance, but rather lessons learned from the Nazi debacle. so this is a safeguard ensuring
    -Germany will always be a democracy (this was the problem, the court sees limits to the sovereignty the national parliament can give up to the EU level)
    - Germany will never become a moarchy
    - Germany will always be a federal state
    - Germay will gurantee civil rights and rule of law

    some constitutional scholars argue that even holding a referendum to introduce a new constitution can be unconstitutional if the sole aim is to get around the perpetuity clause

  53. 53
    pelamun, the Linguist of Doom

    Here’s the info from Wikipedia, in German. The rule of law is not explicitly protected, but many argue it is implicitly.

    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ewigkeitsklausel

    So it’s true: “a small Italy with a small Berlusconi” who controls all the media.

    I’ve heard the joke before that it was a good thing that Hungarian is a non-Indo-European languages, otherwise the European media would be full with outrageous statements said by Hungarian rightist politicians, every day! I guess Austrians were less lucky with their “choice” of mother tongue…

  54. 54
    adamszentirmai-schon

    @pelamun: Just a few things.

    About Romas and their attendance at Universities: Why is this the hungarians fault? What has to do this with persecution?
    Roma peple are are not disallowed to attend University. In fact, Roma kids get extra points to their entrance examination, just because they are Roma. They can recieve extra scholarships, that only Roma kids can get.

    So basicly, they can get easier into Universities, and they get extra money for it, but they still don’t go. How is this persecution?

    About Roma kids put into handicapped classes: I have a schoolteacher friend, and she told me, some of the 7-8 year old roma kids who come to school don’t even know, that pencil leaves a trail on paper, they don’t know what colors are. I think it’s a shame, that their parents neglect them so much, but I also fail to see how this constitutes persecution.

    About what the police chief said: He said culture, not race. And he was right. Western culture and roma culture cannot coexist peacefully, just like islam(sharia law-based) culture and western culture cannot coexist peacefully.

    To say that 1.9% Roma are persecuting 93.2% Hungarians is preposterous.

    This has nothing to do with percentages. This is about fear, and controll. One man with a machinegun can control thousands of unarmed men.

    I’m not saying Hungarians are persecuted, of course. There were times, when I felt like it though. I lived 7 years in a city with high Roma population.(And I’m not even gonna bother telling anybody the stuff that I’ve seen, because most people would propably think, that I’m some kind of right wing racist asshole, who makes up stories.)

    On the last note:
    A few years ago, there was an uproar: different groups of roma kids beat their schoolmates, and one other their scienceteacher, while calling them names and laughing at them, and they recorded it with their videophone, and put the video on a video sharing site.

    Rhetorical question:
    If Roma people were so persecuted, so afraid, would these kids do this?
    No. What this deed tells is: “We can beat your kids, our teachers, and we are not even going to hide it, because we know, there won’t be consequences. Nothing bad will happen to us.”

    I’m not saying there are no racist here, of course there are. And I’m pretty sure, many Roma face discrimination in some point in their lifes. But to claim, that there is a persecution or even goverment lead persecution is just ridiculous.

  55. 55
    pelamun, the Linguist of Doom

    LOL, I see, it’s all their own fault, nothing to see here, move along…

  56. 56
    adamszentirmai-schon

    @pelamun:

    LOL, I see, it’s all their own fault, nothing to see here, move along…

    I asked you, for example, how it is our fault, that they don’t go to universities, even if we make it easier for them to get in, and pay them money for it. The fact, that you could only answer with this sarcastic comment, shows, that you don’t have an argument.

    Here it is, how some poor, terribly opressed and frightend Roma kids treat they 69 years old physics teacher, in class:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vz0TBz2n98
    Please, propose a plan, how to educate kids with behaviour, like this.

  57. 57
    chigau (違う)

    Here are a couple of suggestions for how to deal with those kind of people.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apartheid#Institution_of_apartheid
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_removal

  58. 58
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    When a kid attacks a professor it gets in the news. Why did he do it? What’s wrong with him? All sorts of things are discussed. Maybe he likes heavy metal or he’s goth or drinks and stays out long with older boys of questionable reputation or his father is abusive or his mother left him or…

    When a Roma kid attacks a professor it gets in the news. And everyone knows he did it because he’s a filthy, dangerous Gypsy. And everyone starts discussing the “Roma problem”.

    No prejudice there, right?

  59. 59
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Also, while we’re watching videos, let’s see this one:
    Violent attacks against Roma in Hungary
    To echo adamszentirmai-schon, how to educate these violent people? Just in case you didn’t get it, I’m not talking about the Roma.

  60. 60
    David Marjanović

    the people never voted it, it was ratified by the state parliaments (except for Bavaria).

    Huh.

    thus theoretically it would be possible to draft a new constitution and submit it to the people as was originally envisioned.

    Ah… OK…

    Germany will always be a democracy

    …and hasn’t democratically voted on its de-facto constitution? That’s what doesn’t compute.

    I’ve heard the joke before that it was a good thing that Hungarian is a non-Indo-European languages, otherwise the European media would be full with outrageous statements said by Hungarian rightist politicians, every day! I guess Austrians were less lucky with their “choice” of mother tongue…

    You know, that makes a lot of sense.

  61. 61
    pelamun, the Linguist of Doom

    adamszentirmai-schon,

    what do you propose should be done with them? Do you want to deport them to India?

    Seriously, many EU member nations discriminate against minorities, Roma are usually among those, but then there also Muslim immigrants. The majority often takes similar attitudes as displayed by you here.
    And it seems to me that the degree of discrimination, xenophobia is higher in the new member countries, like Czech Republic (the famous Wall), Rumania and Hungary. As I said, one can discuss the legal difference between persecution and discrimination, but this doesn’t make the problem go away that Roma are discriminated against in society.

    Crimes are crimes and need to be prosecuted as such, but a society needs to tackle the underlying problem of disadvantaged minorities. You talk about the advantages Roma seem to have when they apply for university, but what you fail to understand from your position of privilege is that it starts the moment they are born. Family background and economic situation, their advancement through primary and secondary schools, the cards are always stack against the Roma kids. Did you even read the quote about education BEYOND the first sentence, the second sentence says that 20% of Roma kids are placed in special education classes. How should they be able to get a high school diploma (and whatever you need in Hungary to attend university)? A school system that places 20% of one ethnic group in special schools is discriminating massively, this alone is one fact that needs fixing pronto…

    David,

    the state parliaments were democratically elected. Many constitutions have not been ratified by referendum, but either by state parliaments or delegates at state conventions (US), or the national parliament in unitary states (Japan). A cursory look at Wikipedia seemed to indicate that Austria too didn’t have its constitution ratified by referendum, but rather in parliament.

    When reunification was going to happen in 1990, there was a lot of talk about a new constitution (the preamble and Art. 146 seemed to suggest that the day Germany is reunited and free, the basic law should go and be replaced by a new constitution), but the West Germans had grown fond of it, and didn’t want any change to their system (hey it’s more than enough if those East Germans experience all the change for the entire country, right). So they decided to make the temporary Basic Law permanent, and apparently this means that the Basic Law now is THE constitution. (and according to constitutional scholars, a vote by the parliament on this was sufficient, no need for a referendum)

  62. 62
    adamszentirmai-schon

    Oh, boy, here it goes, just as I predicted, the implicit accusation of me being a racist… Just because I don’t think Roma people are persecuted here.
    Obviously, poor,stupid me… how could I a have better understanding about what is going on here, I only live here for 27 years, and lived with Roma for 7. You guys read a few articles online, and watched some videos and TV-reports, while living thousands of kilometers away.

    @Beatrice, anormalement indécente:
    The 4 people, who did those attacks are currently under arrest, and are under trial. Hopefully they will go to prison, and learn there lesson there. So it is not true, that the police does nothing.
    This video claims, that “newspapers are full of politicians calling for the Roma to put in camps…”. Interesting, I have never came across anything like this in a newspaper. Maybe I’m reading the wrong papers?

    When a Roma kid attacks a professor it gets in the news. And everyone knows he did it because he’s a filthy, dangerous Gypsy. And everyone starts discussing the “Roma problem”.
    No prejudice there, right?

    Aren’t you getting tired of making strawmans?
    This was not the issue. The issue was, they put the beatings of teachers and classmates on the internet. If someone were persected, would then do stuff like that? No, he would keep his head down, trying to blend in…

    what do you propose should be done with them? Do you want to deport them to India?

    Oh, for fuck’s sake!
    I would like to see everyone treated equally.

    Did you even read the quote about education BEYOND the first sentence, the second sentence says that 20% of Roma kids are placed in special education classes.

    Honestly, I did not commented on this issue, because I don’t have enough information about it. I will look into it. 20% seems high indeed, but maybe there is another explanation.

  63. 63
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    This was not the issue.

    How the hell is this not an issue?
    Look, it’s not exactly that I’ve seen a Roma person only on tv/newspapers. What I wrote came from what I’ve read in my country’s newspapers as well as on the internet about Hungary. And how news deals with different ethnic groups has a lot to do with how general population threats them. It’s a mirror.

    But I get it. Unless they are cowering on the streets whenever they see a “proper” Hungarian, it will just show that they are not actually persecuted enough. You know, it doesn’t have to come to putting a yellow star on someone’s chest (I know, I Godwinned), not treating someone as a fellow, worthy human being and denying them some basic rights is a quite a good start already.

    Call it a strawmam all you want, but you keep claiming that they are not persecuted (enough). I can’t keep reading that enough in the end, it just fits perfectly with your excuses about everything that we tell you. But we are supposed to believe you that about 2% of your population is actually very privileged and all the non-Hungarian media is telling dirty lies.

  64. 64
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    I can’t help reading, not keep reading.. in the last paragraph.

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