In Self Defense

Due to personal commitments there was to be no “Duly Noted” this week. Writing this “self defense” is more than inconvenient; it is also predestined to be futile. Investing scarce time to throw good words at a subject of dubious value is probably foolish.

At the risk of additionally insulting those who look for an excuse for their rage, the reason for calling this effort “futile” needs to be explained.

The storm that rages in the commentaries attached to my now dated “Duly Noted” (BJ, Sept. 19) draws its energy from two sources. One has to do with a reality that is ignored to an extent that makes the “twisting of facts” into a plausible phrase. The other motor of the censure is drawn from a preconception. As so often, prejudice is supported by a false perception bolstered a partially blacked out reality.

In the case at hand, the half-truths embedded in unawareness support a limping case. It is based on my surmised personal background and a risky extrapolation from it. The upshot of these guesses is used to prove a predisposition to present a distorted rendition of events. This interpretation puts me near movements and ideologies with whose support I humbly wish not to be credited. However, since I regard such explanations improper, I limit myself to the enjoyment of the irony of the charges and remain silent. The more so since what I would have to tell would hardly penetrate the thick armor worn by the addressees.

It is preferable to move to an issue that hinges on provable facts. Originally, I regarded the showing of the Nazi propaganda film “Jud Süss” as one of the many subjects that do not matter sufficiently for me to bring up. If the actions of every demented group – the are also found in countries and even represented in governments that some critics might sympathize with – are covered then two things happen. The role of the fringe nuts is over emphasized and there would be no place left for anything worthy of the discriminating attention of the sane.

Since a letter-writer had insisted, I dug out the matter and – not without some reluctance to deal with the feces of politics – I handled the Jud Süss affair (BJ, July 28) in a note. (The gist of the posting: Using a DVD (!), an extremist group played the film about three times  in some cellar. Then the Hungarian police swatted the perpetrators. The charge was something like “hate agitation”. By accident, I know that legal action is in progress.)

It seems that the rest of the accusations have about as much merit as does the above indictment’s consistency enable it to hold water.

Now to the claim that by keeping silent, I tried to whitewash Hungary’s scandal of letting extremists – presumably those that are not members of the state police – conquer her streets. My silence regarding the clashes on September 20 in the September 19 posting (and written much earlier than that) is supposed to condemn me. This is written on the 23rd and therefore my manipulative chauvinistic face lifting has not had enough time to unfold. Nevertheless, to be candid, it is true that I had no intention to handle this rather minor occurrence. That was because the case is the configuration of several, in themselves complicated components. This creates an item that does not fit the format of DN. If the “Budapest Times” sees fit to make it the cherry on its pre-baked cake then this tells more about its website than about the importance of the event. Apparently, the local press does not attribute much significance to the incident, as the coverage is perfunctory.

Let us just go through the parameters of the confrontation. To begin with, an apology is due because some of what follows contradicts the official foreign language news the government puts out. Alas, one event can have several versions. Tom Landen’s “Cologne Gives In…” will serve as a good example (BJ, Sept. 20 and 23). Regarding “Budapest”: without having bothered to check BT, I risk a bet. It is that the riot police’ invasion of a Church during service and the rough treatment of the worshippers – its minister is suing the state – has not been mentioned.

You see, the picture includes a failed government that is inspired by the Burmese junta when it resorts to its riot police. Then there is an opposition with about 70% of the voters behind it. Its popularity comes from growing poverty and the widespread naked corruption covered up with the bikini of power. Now add that organization of the Gypsies which, for some scraps for its members and steaks for the leaders, supports the governing Socialists. Whether reported or not, in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Kosovo and others, those millions of Gypsies that refuse integration are a major problem. (Some Western countries that accepted such immigrants also developed difficulties.) Low-tech Socialism had provided them with menial, now disappearing jobs. Beyond this, the police state added the suppression that the Gypsies were privileged to share with the majority based on full equality. As they often refuse to be schooled, they become dependent on support. What they do not get they demand, and if it is not given, it is taken. Complete the sketch by adding some desperate people that, in their political illiteracy assume that the antidote of the ruling Socialists’ poison is the “wrong right”. Spice this brew with a few genuine extremists modeled after the archetypes of the Right and the Left. This you will find easy as they are indigenous and locally active where you live. Let us not forget to put all this in its physical context. The venue is around the understandably resented Soviet memorial on Freedom Square. Stirring these components in a cauldron over the fire results in an explosive brew and in the end of this story.

Looking forward to the next DN

Reading Mr. Handlery provides a similar enjoyment and interest to reading great Mitteleuropeans like Mises and Hayek. There is a similar fine discrimination, impartiality, contempt for mendacity, and fidelity to truth. I hope Mr. Handlery does not feel unappreciated when particular comments are not responded to. When he nails a perception, there is usually nothing more to be said except to expand the apercu with unnecessary verbiage.