Budapest Diary

I am quickly learning why the New York Times and the left (but I repeat myself) are so spun up about Hungary: the government here actually wants to defend Western civilization—and religion—from its enemies. Whether they are doing this well or badly I cannot fully judge yet, but that they mean to do it seriously is clear.

So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to find out that my visit here has not gone unnoticed back home:

First or all, I’d rather be called a “licksplittle” than a lackey, but that’s just me. And it’s pretty ironic given how many readers, not to mention “Lucretia” on our last 3WHH, blasted me for being too hard on Trump in the Power Line post Chait references. Makes me think he didn’t actually read the whole thing, even though it was a short note. It’s a certainty that he didn’t read any of the comments! This fact was not lost on one reader who entered the fray:

Second, as a charter inmate of the Bush Derangement Asylum back in the 2000s, I guess Chait needs new hate figures, and he is indeed right that I have been enjoying hanging out in Cafe Scruton, which is alive especially with young people popping in and out, sitting in the small upstairs conference room with laptops and books strewn abut the table, engaged in serious conversation, along with lots of people coming up and down from the well-appointed basement meeting room. I’ve been happy just to sit with a cup of cafe Americano, noodling away on my computer, and watching the passing scene.

One of the things that so upsets the New York Times about Hungary is that the Orban government has funded a college, Mathias Corvinus Collegium, or M.C.C., and—gasp!—it appears to be a self-consciously conservative college. Imagine that! Here’s the New York Times wringing its hands about it:

His critics argue that the donation is legalized theft, employed to tighten Mr. Orban’s grip on power by transferring public money to foundations run by political allies.

So let’s see: in the U.S., the federal and state governments give billions each year to colleges and universities run almost exclusively by Democrats, where the faculty is 90 percent Democratic, and where 95 percent of university faculty and staff campaign contributions go to the Democratic Party (I don’t suppose the Times would ever think to call this money-laundering)—and that’s before we get to the curriculum, whose ideological content ought to be considered an in-kind campaign contribution to the Democratic Party. But somehow the Times gets its knickers in a bunch when a distant country decides to spend some public money on behalf of educational programming that actually supports the country. That’s pretty rich.

Anyway, there is this sequel to the Chaitred:

Well, I’m not going to jump to this bait because, among other things, my topic here is to talk to Hungarians about America (specifically, “What Is Going on in America?,” which most people here amended to “What the Hell Is Going On in America!?!”), rather than lecture Hungarians on how they should run their country.

The lecture, by the way, was very well attended—the best attendance for a Danube Institute event since the COVID lockdown ended here—despite a line of heavy thunderstorms and showers throughout the afternoon. At some point I will post some of the text here, or include some audio excepts in a podcast, but in one sentence, my theme was: “America is having a nervous breakdown.”

Power Line reader Peter Urban (left)

And what do you know—there are Power Line readers in Budapest! One of them is Peter Urban, pictured here, who came to the lecture because he had read about it here. He reads Power Line first thing every morning, and so I have promised to try to post more material  in the overnight hours U.S. time.


Meanwhile, a few other snaps:

Ronald Reagan in Liberty Square.

And just for the heck of it:

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