2011. július 28., csütörtök

George Orwell vs. Viktor Orbán hungarian prime minister

Notes on Nationalism - Essay

Somewhere or other Byron makes use of the French word LONGEUR, and 
remarks in passing that though in England we happen not to have the WORD, 
we have the THING in considerable profusion. In the same way, there is a 
habit of mind which is now so widespread that it affects our thinking on 
nearly every subject, but which has not yet been given a name. As the 
nearest existing equivalent I have chosen the word 'nationalism', but it 
will be seen in a moment that I am not using it in quite the ordinary 
sense, if only because the emotion I am speaking about does not always 
attach itself to what is called a nation--that is, a single race or a 
geographical area. It can attach itself to a church or a class, or it may 
work in a merely negative sense, AGAINST something or other and without 
the need for any positive object of loyalty. 

By 'nationalism' I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human 
beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions 
or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled 'good' or 
'bad'.[See note, below] But secondly--and this is much more important--I mean 
the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing 
it beyond good and evil and recognising no other duty than that of 
advancing its interests. Nationalism is not to be confused with 
patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any 
definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction 
between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. 
By 'patriotism' I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular 
way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no 
wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, 
both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is 
inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every 
nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, NOT for himself 
but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own 
individuality. ...

The reason for the rise and spread of nationalism is far too big a
question to be raised here. It is enough to say that, in the forms in
which it appears among English intellectuals, it is a distorted
reflection of the frightful battles actually happening in the external
world, and that its worst follies have been made possible by the
breakdown of patriotism and religious belief. If one follows up this
train of thought, one is in danger of being led into a species of
Conservatism, or into political quietism. It can be plausibly argued, for
instance--it is even possibly true--that patriotism is an inoculation
against nationalism, that monarchy is a guard against dictatorship, and
that organised religion is a guard against superstition. Or again, it can
be argued that NO unbiased outlook is possible, that ALL creeds and
causes involve the same lies, follies, and barbarities; and this is often
advanced as a reason for keeping out of politics altogether. I do not
accept this argument, if only because in the modern world no one
describable as an intellectual CAN keep out of politics in the sense of
not caring about them. I think one must engage in politics--using the
word in a wide sense--and that one must have preferences: that is, one
must recognise that some causes are objectively better than others, even
if they are advanced by equally bad means. As for the nationalistic loves
and hatreds that I have spoken of, they are part of the make-up of most
of us, whether we like it or not. Whether it is possible to get rid of
them I do not know, but I do believe that it is possible to struggle
against them, and that this is essentially a MORAL effort. It is a
question first of all of discovering what one really is, what one's own
feelings really are, and then of making allowance for the inevitable
bias. If you hate and fear Russia, if you are jealous of the wealth and
power of America, if you despise Jews, if you have a sentiment of
inferiority towards the British ruling class, you cannot get rid of those
feelings simply by taking thought. But you can at least recognise that
you have them, and prevent them from contaminating your mental processes.
The emotional urges which are inescapable, and are perhaps even necessary
to political action, should be able to exist side by side with an
acceptance of reality. But this, I repeat, needs a MORAL effort, and
contemporary English literature, so far as it is alive at all to the
major issues of our time, shows how few of us are prepared to make it.

George  Orwell

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban

Hungary's democratic 'dictator in the making' takes centre stage in Europe

He is accused of being a closet Bonapartist bent on destroying or bypassing the checks and balances of democratic politics. Since his rightwing Fidesz party won a two-thirds majority in a general election seven months ago, Orbán has been a prime minister in a hurry, orchestrating a whirlwind of laws, decrees, and proposals that opponents describe as a funeral of Hungarian democracy and liberty, but which his supporters hail as a sorely needed "revolution".
Orbán jokingly swatted aside all suggestions of megalomania. They used to call me Hitler or Mussolini, he jested, but these days the comparison is with Vladimir Putin in Russia or Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus. "I will leave it up to you decide if that's progress."
Orbán's supporters and party officials are penning a new Hungarian constitution, to be ready by April. He has removed powers from the constitutional or supreme court. He has put party cronies in office as head of state, as chief prosecutor, and in charge of the court of auditors. He has attacked the head of the central bank and is expected next month to install four Fidesz allies on the bank's seven-strong policymaking committee, ensuring a friendly majority.
State television, radio, and the national news agency are being centralised, with programming and news output directed by government allies.

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