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Ruminations on the state of the public sphere

November 4th, 2016

A Marxist philosopher accuses the Hungarian government of attacking the foundations of a free society. A pro-government columnist on the other hand thinks that both left- and right-wing elites want to weaken Hungary’s sovereignty.

In Heti VilággazdaságGáspár Miklós Tamás finds it disappointing that the Hungarian public does not seem to be very deeply bothered by what he considers as the government’s efforts to control the media. The Marxist philosopher goes so far as to accuse the government of a ‘coup d’etat’. He assumes that Népszabadság, the leading left-wing daily, was closed as a result of the government’s tricks, in order to dominate public discourse. In conclusion, Tamás contends that Hungarian representative democracy and the rule of law has suffered a fatal blow.

Left- and right-wing elites have become alienated from the publicJózsef Veress writes in Magyar Idők. The conservative economist thinks that left-wing elites have abandoned classical social democratic ideals and instead of trying to strengthen equality, they have become preoccupied with cultural issues. Their right-wing counterparts, on the other hand, have become servants of the interests of global investors, Veress suspects. Both Left and Right wing elites are attacking the nation state, he believes  – the ‘cultural Left’ see it as an obstacle to cosmopolitan liberal norms, while the Right considers it as a barrier to global capitalism. Veress claims that critics of the Hungarian government in the country and abroad accuse it of trying to control the media in order to weaken an Orbán government which is trying to defend Hungary’s national freedom against the anti-national Left and Right.

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