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End of year report from the culture war

December 31st, 2018

A pro-government commentator calls on the Right to use its political power to end what he calls ‘liberal dominance’ in culture. A liberal pundit mocks the government’s efforts to transform the cultural landscape.

Magyar Idők’s János Dénes Orbán recalls that after Fidesz third consecutive landslide electoral victory in April, many expected the leaders of the discredited opposition to step down. This has still not happened, which Orbán interprets as proof of the opposition’s complete inability to renew itself and also a shame for the country. He suggests that as a result, it is the government that will have to take on the burden of establishing a credible opposition to itself. Another important task for the government is to transform the cultural landscape, Orbán continues. He contends that culture is still dominated by liberals who use their cultural capital to wage war on Hungarian spiritual life and threaten right-wing intellectuals. Unless liberal cultural elites are replaced, the opposition may use them to regain political power, Orbán fears.

In Heti Világgazdaság, Imre Para-Kovács in a sarcastic opinion piece mocks the proposals put forward by the right-wing culture warriors. How stupid and cowardly Hungarians must be, to continue consuming liberal culture, Para-Kovács writes. They cannot tell national from liberal internationalist cultural artefacts, and they are not aware that their seemingly innocent decision to engage with liberal and left-wing artists amounts to treason, Para-Kovács teases. He concludes by suggesting that the government needs to be more vigilant and proactive in order to teach Hungarians how to follow the national interest in their cultural diet. One way to achieve this is to call on Hungarians to spy on those of their family members, colleagues and teachers who do not follow the right and nationally desirable artists, and report them, he suggests.

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