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Hungarian Press Roundup: Weeklies on the PM’s Summer Address

Hungary Today 2019.08.05.

In their first issues after Prime Minister Orbán delivered his annual policy speech at the Summer Fidesz event in Transylvania on 27 July, weekly newspapers try to make sense of his new notion of ‘Christian liberty’.

Hungarian press roundup by budapost.eu

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In his Demokrata editorial, András Bencsik says that by reframing his idea of illiberal democracy as ‘Christian liberty,’ the Prime Minister made clear that by illiberalism he meant more love, not less freedom. Orbán himself explained to his audience, Bencsik recalls, that Christianity expects its followers not to do to others what they don’t want to be done to themselves. The pro-government pundit interprets the difference between Prime Minister Orbán’s Christian liberty and liberalism as the difference between an organic democracy as compared to a doctrinaire democracy. One form of doctrinaire democracy was communism, he explains, while another form is liberal democracy, which puts the individual in the centre of liberty. Individuals, however, cannot exist on their own. Whether they realise it or not, they are part of a larger community, Bencsik concludes.

In Magyar Hang, Szabolcs Szerető sees the 30th annual Fidesz gathering in Transylvania as a stage in the construction of what he calls the Prime Minister’s own myth, transforming him into an idol. He acknowledges, nevertheless, that Orbán has the intellectual arsenal to give a coherent account of the past decades, analyse the internal and international situation of the given time and draw up outlines for the forthcoming 15 years. He doesn’t agree with his analysis, however. He doesn’t believe that the candidates for leading EU posts whose nomination Orbán helped to foil were ‘George Soros’ people,’ for example, and suggests that they do not agree with the Hungarian American investor any more than newly elected EC President Ursula von der Leyen, whose candidacy the Hungarian Prime Minister supported. Szerető admits that among the leaders of the opposition, there is no one who could be even suspected of offering strategic analysis of the kind Orbán provides every year in Transylvania.

On HVG online Marxist philosopher Gáspár Miklós Tamás criticises opposition analysts who ridicule the Prime Minister’s notion of Christian liberty. That concept was introduced 500 years ago by Martin Luther, he writes, and it means that believers should not be subordinated to the ecclesiastical authorities while at the same time they should see themselves as servants of the community. Those two requirements may be in contradiction with one another, Tamás explains, and he is not certain that the Prime Minister is able to reconcile them. Nevertheless, he warns his colleagues who are critical of the government that no one should be unjustly criticised, not even the Prime Minister.