It must be something in the air. An alignment of planets or something like that. Political frustration. The struggle between the free spirit and the mechanisms of control are intensifying. Even RO is not unaffected.
I’ve been working on another posting for some days now (OK, more than a week), but because of a passionate discussion I had with Very Aries this morning, I’ve decided to put that on the back burner in order to share something with you that’s boiling away like mad on the front burner.
As many of you know, I have lived in Hungary for nearly twenty years now. Various alarming things have happened over those years in politics, in the economy, and in the cultural sphere. On different occasions our more liberal friends, or those with greater material expectations or those with less opportunities have either emigrated or threatened to emigrate. I always maintained things weren’t as bad as people built them up to be (Hungarians are famous for their pessimism and skepticism), and said I’d still prefer to be here than anywhere else.
Last spring they elected a new government here that brought back a ruling party and a prime minister — Viktor Orbán — that had already governed for one term between 1998 and 2002. Even during that term Orbán’s opportunistic, populist nationalism and drive to consolidate his power at any cost was frightening, but his majority in parliament was slim and his coalition partners were unstable, so the damage he could do at that time was limited. And it was the late nineties: the markets were buoyant, everyone was making money, and nobody really cared.
But then the next election, that all the polls said he would win, he barely lost to the socialists. And that twisted him and his party a little.
The socialists were very accommodating to his plans and proceeded to be ineffective, incompetent and corrupt for the next eight years, bringing the country to the brink of financial ruin. All other parties had imploded by then, so the country voted overwhelmingly for Orbán and his party, as the only force that could take decisive action, giving him a two-thirds majority.
In Hungary it only takes a two-thirds majority to alter the constitution. Orbán went whole-hog and announced that they were going to write a new constitution. This is tantamount to creating a new state, shaped to one’s political vision, with no input from anyone else.
Imagine the Republican Party getting the chance to write a new US constitution from scratch, and pass it themselves. Scary, huh?
The document, which is due to be rubber stamped by parliament next week, is downright Orwellian in its bizarre self contradictions and ideological vagueries . Judges and prosecutors are going to be able to make shit up as they go along when it comes time to interpret it.
And the Orbanistas are going for broke: protection of life from conception, institutionalising Christian values, giving parliament influence over the national bank, declaring marriage to be purely between a man and a woman,… it goes on. And every day they pass more legislation that gives them more and more control over education, culture, the media, the courts, health care… it goes on. We’re heading towards a sort of soft fascism, and the EU is impotently watching as it happens.
For the first time since I arrived here in 1992, I am considering leaving. I don’t want my children to grow up in a totalitarian state, and it has become conceivable that things could go that way.
But I don’t want to go. First of all, I love this country. And I’m 52 and have a hard time imagining starting a new career elsewhere. I don’t want to go back to the USA, because there’s no opportunity there (ironically, once known worldwide as “the land of unlimited opportunity”), and civil liberties and political culture have been on a steady decline ever since Reagan. No, America is not an option.
And besides that, I’m a Rosicrucian. If you’ve read your Fama, you know that a Rosicrucian stands for using the mystical knowledge of the ages for a “general reform” of society. Sooner or later in life you have to decide where you are going to take your stand and make a difference in the world. You have to be involved with your community. An aikido teacher I trained with on several occasions in the 1980s once said something to me that made a deep impression. He said, “If you can’t find a way to get involved in the community you’re in, then you should find another one to get involved in.”
I have good friends and colleagues here. My kids go to a Waldorf school we love (which is threatened by proposed legislation). I am involved in the Rosicrucian Order here and serve in the temple. Twenty years is a long time. I use the powers I’ve learned from arcane teachings to promote all of these things and more. I visualize my neighborhood becoming more beautiful and harmonious. I try to nourish my colleagues with love. I’m committed.
But there are times one should admit it’s time to cut and run. It hasn’t reached that point yet, but it’s a real milestone that I’ve considered the time just might come. When they knock on your door at 3am, it’s already too late. Time for some serious divination.