Renaissance of Fascist Lies - How the national hate generator works?

To dumb down the people has been the most powerful tool of tyranny from the earliest times until now. The power of the tyrant lies only in the ignorance of the people.

Baron József Eötvös

In recent decades, studies analysing the effectiveness of political propaganda in Hungary have primarily examined how politics has transformed the media system, the constitutional framework, including the legal environment and the economic background, in order to ensure that the state propaganda apparatus serves the government's stay in power as effectively as possible. [1] To measure the effectiveness of the resulting "national brainwashing" [2], the Dimension Media Foundation developed the Political Propaganda Indicator, a measure of the extent to which the full arsenal of government propaganda can be used to deflect the opinion of a community compared to if citizens had formed their opinions through objective, balanced information. The percentage of voters who made a decision based on manipulated information has been relatively accurately determined. DMA research found, for example, that in 2022, a few weeks before the election, one third of left-wingers/democrats also gave credence to the claim, which was repeatedly refuted by the political propaganda machine, that if Péter Márki-Zay won the election he would send troops to Ukraine. The research argues that in the post-2010 information system, the vast majority of voters have formed their opinions about parties with little access to information free of manipulation or to refute fake news. This is a serious violation of the constitution, as the right of access to information free of manipulation is a fundamental right under the Constitution. [3] The Political Propaganda Indicator allows us to predict with relative accuracy the percentage of voters who made a decision based on manipulated information. So we are not relying on hunches when we claim that the preponderance (and lack of scruples) of the grossly one-sided government propaganda, funded by public money, had a significant impact on the majority of voters before the election. The PPI's measurement results cast doubt on whether the 2022 parliamentary elections in Hungary were legal and fair.

Intransigence is not a made-up word, but a concept used in communication theory, a concise expression of the new communication strategy and tactic of the extreme, the ruthless, the character assassination, which is increasingly used as a weapon of radical political movements. The DMA's research has also shown that distorting reality, misleading the masses, removing the relative balance of the information system and limiting the spread of refutations are only partially sufficient to maintain power. It is an integral part of this model of communication and political propaganda that the texts attacking the competition must be visceral. They must promise protection against the threats that those who commission political propaganda campaigns project onto the canvas they dominate, into the minds of the masses. Movements with similar ideologies have achieved, and continue to achieve, worldwide success by alarming people with threats to the fundamental values that are most important to communities and nations. The most suitable means of provoking a visceral reaction are claims that threaten the identity of the targeted group. The majority of people react instinctively to verbal attacks on national, gender, racial, religious, family, generational, ideological, existential, political, and thus fundamental identities. Federico Finchelstein states in his book Fascist Lies [4]: "One of the most important lessons of the history of fascism is that racist lies lead to extreme, politically motivated violence." It is our daily experience, if we only think of the wars that are being waged, that the "text-bombing" of sentences that offend the essence of the person, the identity of the person, leads to a moral panic in the masses, a significant group of people abandon their traditional values and become vulnerable to manipulation. The deployment of state media commandos in Russia, or political propaganda teams in England, America, Serbia, Brazil, China, Vietnam, Hungary, etc., is part of the invasion of the communication space, in order to make the reality created in the virtual space mask the failed, dead-end, hopeless reality that emerges from the government's actions.

Endre Sík's epochal research on the pushing of the Moral Panic Button is a thorough mapping of when and to what political challenges the launch of a central campaign in Hungary was a response to trigger visceral reactions - with success. [5] In the international literature, the term "moral panic" is used to describe the phenomenon under study, the reaction under investigation, much better than the term "moral panic", which is the accepted term in the literature. There is no space here to describe the study in detail, but it is worth recalling how the authors describe the initial situation of the research: 'In the autumn of 2014, the governing parties rapidly lost popularity. All polls perceived a decline in popularity and then a recovery, but the pace and extent of the decline differed. In order to regain what seemed to be losing popularity, they began to look for the issues that seemed most likely to quickly win the public's sympathy, i.e. those that the government's image-makers knew the people would agree with, and that they would be able to articulate. Such was the case with the 'talk' of restoring the death penalty, and with xenophobia."

It is particularly important in such campaigns that otherwise blatantly false claims are not easily disproved. In the fascist media system, the limitation of the wide dissemination of possible refutations is a fundamental task, because the aim of political propaganda is precisely to generate hatred or fear, which inevitably requires exaggeration, i.e. propagandists do not shy away from very blatant lies, and the bigger the lie, the greater the risk of being caught, since the further the claim is from the truth, the easier it is to debunk. And for the non-professional news consumer, the rise of social media has made it increasingly difficult to get their bearings.

Almost every day in authoritarian regimes, there is an allegation whose main purpose is to divert attention, mostly from embarrassingly weak governance. In a media space dominated by government propaganda teams[6], false claims are allowed to run rampant unhindered. Even if the false claims created by government propaganda outlets are refuted in the media space, which operates under the rules of a free press, the refutations hardly reach the part of society that mostly encounters the manipulated information. Government media commandos, for example in Hungary with the launch of the Megafon programme, have openly undertaken to confront independent journalists and defend the government with all their might, reinforcing political propaganda. The deployment of the hate squad has become part of the government's strategy, with a budget line as their source.


Where is the limit?

István Szent-Iványi's Facebook post of 25 September 2023 is both an illustration of how such a campaign is constructed on the government side, how the messages fit together, and also of how absurd, unverifiable, i.e. false the statements in the campaign are, and how the media commandos join the government's activities: 'For weeks now, government actors and pro-government spokespeople have been ramping up the vilification of Sweden and the Swedes. Szijjártó has written a letter to his Swedish counterpart, Tamás Menczer, the state secretary, has a video in which he says he is "worried about Swedish democracy", and László Kövér says that Swedes hate their own country and spit on it. They attack them with such fury and determination as if they were the ones blocking our accession and not ours. The whistleblowers are even tougher. Bayer says the Swedes are idiots, like alcoholic husbands, perpetrators of domestic violence. But the dot on the i is put by the good András Bencsik, who after a long rant asks the big question: what is the point of such a stupid, malicious, sick country in the European Union?"

Szent-Iványi quotes the sentence, which makes it clear: the Turks are admittedly using the vote as a means of blackmail, and have even said they are asking for F16s in exchange for the votes. And the Hungarians want to use the "we want money for our vote" deal in the EU budget negotiations for 2024. Such blatant blackmail is, to put it mildly, not elegant. But have governments overstepped the mark with this statement?  Is there a line in communication that makes it clear that certain official statements no longer fit within the democratic values of communication? For example, can it be seen in the structure of the text used by the Nazi propaganda machine, in the turns of phrase, in the content of its messages, in the pattern of Nazi propaganda as a whole, that the system has lost its democratic character? Are there any markers or characteristics that would suggest that, in order to retain power, the authorities did not shy away from eliminating society's mechanisms of self-defence, freedom of the press, freedom of information, freedom of competition, freedom of choice, in the course of the communication battle, precisely in order to deceive the electorate in an institutionalised way?

For propaganda to be effective, it is not enough to simply spout well-edited texts. Electoral results are influenced by many things other than propaganda, such as governance itself, social movements, economic policy, cultural policy, health policy, rural development, etc. The influence of political propaganda on the outcome of elections is therefore considered by the vast majority of political science analyses as marginal and the legitimacy of elections is accepted, i.e. the election results are considered as objective facts, although it can be easily demonstrated that the degree of manipulation far exceeded the margin of error. [7]

Yet it cannot be said that any extensive overhaul of the information system alone can be enough to make a community turn against democratic values and surrender the right to freedom of choice and accept restrictions. The question remains: why is the ultra-nationalist, racist, illiberal, chauvinist, populist, neo-fascist, neo-Nazi, anti-democratic, authoritarian street discourse successful again, worldwide, not least in the United States of America, Brazil or the Far East, and sometimes even in the middle of the European Union? Why can the anti-democratic model triumph over democratic communication, sometimes for longer, sometimes for shorter periods? Are there characteristics of illiberal, reformist, nationalist, racist[8] speech that give the user of fictitious fascist garbage speech an illegitimate, irregular, unethical advantage over his rivals in power games? And the new tools of media technology (Tik-tok, Facebook, X, Twitter, Real-video, etc.) are playing an increasingly important role in the renaissance of neo-fascist, populist, national-socialist, fake-Christian, nationalist speech. For the time being, it does not seem to be a democratic tool against anti-democratic, illiberal, ultra-nationalist, pseudo-Christian, pseudo-conservative or fake-communist, social-radical political propaganda. (I will make a suggestion at the end of this reflection.)

The cornerstone of this issue is: should the opinion of the public be considered as something objective, which is the basis for the outcome of elections, or vice versa: the opinion of the public is the result of manipulation by the political propaganda machine. Because, if that is the case, then it can be said that only the election result, which is the result of a balanced information framework, can be considered objective. In the words of Balázs Orbán: "The media is a strategic sector and a question of sovereignty, because whoever controls the media of a given country controls the thinking of that country, and through that the country."[9]

The mechanism of action of the fascist narrative/talk/discourse

So the analysis is not about how much the trajectory slopes, but how the manipulation model is constructed. At what points does the authorities break, kick up, or eliminate the framework of democratic political debate based on the competition of opinions with openly extreme right-wing, authoritarian, nationalist, etc. discourse. What is the mass psychological mechanism of action of fascist, racist, populist, chauvinist street speech? How is the autonomy of choice taken out of the hands of the citizens? How do voters lose their attachment to the democratic framework? Why does he not see that he has suddenly turned against his former democratic self? What makes the masses politically blind?

Gábor Polyák, Mihály Gálik and Ágnes Urbán have shown in several publications what kind of institutional background the government built after 2010 to allow the anti-democratic state to emerge even within a democratic framework. More precisely: how the almost one-party system functions in an apparently democratic framework. Beyond this, it is time to examine how the ultra-nationalist, illiberal, chauvinistic, populist agenda can provoke a visceral reaction from the masses and turn it into a political programme that can empower the extremist movement to take what is essentially the sole possession of power.

Fascist discourse eliminates competition, the rules of the contest from the verbal struggle for power, the opponent is not an equal, not even a human being, not even a member of the nation, xenophobic, serving foreign interests, anti-national, etc., and thus makes his own political community the sole dominant one. Federico Finchelstein[10] in the book cited above, has well explored what turns off the defence mechanisms of the masses, the natural communication institutions that act as a brake to prevent respectable citizens from falling victim to a politics that divides their national community into two camps, one that represents the interests of the nation and the other that is anti-national.

There is still no answer to the question: why did the founding fathers of the European Union's predecessor, the Common Market, and then of the Union, not consider that fascist propaganda was an indispensable tool for the success of the movement that fired up the masses in Nazi Germany. Unfortunately, the founding documents of the EU were drawn up without taking into account, in minimising the risks of war, that it was not enough to create an economic and political framework for institutional cooperation between nations, that the tried and tested technique of inciting the masses, of restricting fascist speech, could not be avoided. NATO has, albeit belatedly, switched, and communication is a separate weapon in its strategy. The literature cites numerous examples of hybrid instruments. Without claiming to be exhaustive, some further elements are: disinformation campaigns, dissemination of fake news; manipulation of social media; economic pressure (e.g. tied lending, exploitation of energy import dependence); actions of paramilitary organisations; support of political parties, lobby groups; playing the religious or ethnic "card", amplifying social fault lines; strategic leaks of intelligence or classified information.

Gábor Polyák, speaking at an expert discussion at the Department of Media and Communication of the ELTE, said that the latest regulatory attempts of the European Union are more hesitant than radical, that some people think that they are too much, while we Hungarians think that they are too little.[12] Mihály Gálik Gálik will give a comprehensive assessment of the whole regulatory process in his article published in Médiakutató in the autumn of 2023. The challenge facing the EU is gigantic because the boundaries are becoming increasingly blurred between the marketing methods used in fair political competition and the authoritarian, chauvinistic, post-fascist propaganda used by pseudo-democratic, often even questioning the right to exist of the rival.

In normal democracies, the debate between parties is about market regulation, tax policy, the financing of public services, family support systems, cultural subsidies, the framework for public services, environmental challenges, etc. Within a democratic framework, it cannot be said that a rival movement or party is not part of the nation, is bad for the nation, is a traitor to the nation, etc. A very broad, pervasive overhaul of the information system and a consistent propaganda campaign are needed to make it openly clear without serious political risk that the interests of the nation are represented by only one side. Successful manipulation requires the widest possible access to the members of societies, the widest possible ownership of elements of the media system, media regulation that disproportionately favours one party, and public acceptance that the previous system was undemocratic but the current one is not.


The success of political propaganda requires an almost unlimited amount of resources to keep the media system, which has been turned into a propaganda tool, running smoothly. This requires constant maintenance of the commitment of the apparatus. It requires a charismatic leader, it requires the constant renewal of the language panels, it requires the creation of the conditions for a committed scientific background, and it requires a constant emphasis on the role of martyr. It also requires the continuous enrichment of populist programmes, with the important side-effect of the continuous generation of hate, the naming of the community targeted for hate, the plasticisation of the current threat, which requires the justification of the threat in the entire media system, which requires reaching the masses. It is also necessary to make it more difficult for rival political organisations to reach the masses, to make it impossible for independent scientific and cultural workshops and civil organisations to reach the masses, i.e. to limit to the extreme the possibilities of refuting the accusations spread in the political propaganda system, to minimise their opportunities to speak out, to dry up their resources.

In a democratic framework, it is hardly possible to say that one MP is like a sneaky fox in the countryside shedding his or her fur, because this is dehumanising and degrading the other person, in order to make the politician who is paying the other person a compliment place himself or herself higher in the hierarchy of living beings than where he or she thinks the other, who is also a Member of Parliament, is. A successful strategy of the anti-Semitic movements was to identify Jews as an odious animal, a rat, in fascist, Nazi propaganda publications.

Let us see the official definition (Wikipedia). The ideology of fascism consistently stresses the principle of the primacy of the state.

The fatherland cannot be in opposition, is the phrase proclaiming the era. Orban used this phrase to put the losers above the winners. The statement eliminated the essence of competition, of free competition, of the democratic game. He has expropriated the representation of the nation, or, to put it more permissively, he has identified himself and his movement with the nation, making the right of representation exclusive. Apart from Rudolf Ungváry, no one has raised his voice against the wording, no one has initiated legal proceedings, no one has sought a legal basis on which a court could declare that this speech is contrary to the Hungarian rule of law, since the Basic Law also states that political programmes and parties may not seek to exclusively hold power. Even the spirit and the letter of the Hungarian Basic Law, at that time even the Constitution, is against the spirit and the letter of the movement that seeks to seize power exclusively.

The pitfall/trap of power


The fascist-communist conspiracy is to create a situation in which there is really no choice. An example is war. When foreigners declare war on the nation, the family, the religion, the community. The fictitious illiberal, ultra-nationalist, but rather fake-nationalist, invokes the fact that there is a war, that someone, foreigners, migrants, etc. are attacking the nation, the family, etc. Political racism is therefore an indispensable accessory of this ideal system, the elimination of the equal rival. The first step in the elimination of normal competition is to create a climate of threat, with much agitation, by launching propaganda wars. By that time, it is easy to invoke the main threat previously identified by political propaganda, the alien threat to the existence of the community. A propaganda campaign that eliminates competition, even proclaims a result before the competition has begun, sets a framework in the political space into which the competition cannot set foot.



The trap of the fascist-communist discourse is that in fact it is precisely the exclusive, authoritarian social system that is one of the greatest dangers to the nation, because it subordinates the interests of the nation to the interests of a small group, which of course it claims to be the interests of the nation, but it eliminates fair competition in the economy, public life, justice, culture, science, sport, and essentially subordinates everything to the interests of a corrupt, crony clientele. It replaces the democratic selection mechanism of the best, the fittest, the most talented, the most skilled, the most prepared, the most cooperative, with a value system proclaimed as superior, where the dubiously selected leader picks the 'winners'. This eliminates the free will of the community, the free choice, depriving the community of the opportunity to find a better man for the top of power, for the national parliament, for the head of national institutions, for the winner of EU tenders, for the nation in general, better than billionaire bunglers, political conmen, fake Christian, fake patriots.



But why does the majority of the nation surrender to an idea that is dangerous and harmful to the nation? What is the effectiveness of the fascist trap? Let's look at how the messages of the leaders of proudly fascist, populist, nationalist, illiberal, or even socialist, communist states weave a web of supremacy.



"National feeling exists, it is a pity to deny it.


It is only blood that sets the rumbling wheel of history in motion!

Religion is a mental disease of the brain.


The fascist state ethos is based on human quality, and therefore rejects the majoritarian principle of democracy, which places quantity above quality. Democracy (rule of the people) in the modern sense is a lie anyway, since the people do not rule by having their voice heard once every four years in the form of a vote.



Better to live one day as a lion than a hundred years as a sheep.


Democracy is wonderful in theory, but a mistake in practice.

Our formula is: everything in the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state." (Mussolini)


Is there a greater threat to the nation than a fascist takeover? Is there a purer betrayal of the nation than the theft of national wealth under the national veil? The patent, the pattern, the text model of fascist discourse is essentially simple; all that is needed is the necessary shamelessness to substitute oneself for the concept of the nation.



"Any kind of domination has a right to exist only if and as long as its aspirations to power serve the forces dormant in the people." (Adolf Hitler)



"Christianity is the most serious setback that mankind has ever known." (A. H.)



"I equally expect the German justice system to understand that the nation is not for itself, but that it is for the nation, that is, that the world, which includes Germany, cannot be destroyed just to keep formal law alive. Germany must survive, no matter what the formal doctrine of justice may say to the contrary." (A. H.)



"I have fanaticized the masses to make them the instrument of my policy. I forced it to rise above itself, I gave it meaning and activity. I was accused of arousing the lowest instincts in the masses.



This is true. If I stand before the crowd with a rational argument, he does not understand me; but if I arouse in him emotions that are to his taste, he will immediately follow the command I give him. There is no room for thought in a crowd (...) The larger the crowd, the easier it is to control. The richer the colouring of the human components, peasants, workers, officials, the more they become a de-individualized, typical mass. Nothing can be done because of the limited number of educated people, representatives of professions or other interests." (from a speech by Adolf Hitler)



"We National Socialists (...) have never claimed to represent democracy, but have openly proclaimed that we use democratic means only to win power, and that once in power we deny our opposition all the means which were granted to us in the days of opposition." (from a speech by Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda for Popular Education, 1934)



 "Front and home, administration and justice are bound to obey only one ideal, and that is: the pursuit of victory." (A. H.)



"The average man is so simple-minded that it is only necessary to emphasize something emphatically, and if the assertion is often repeated it will be accepted as truth." (Goebbels)



"If we buy UFA today, we will have the largest film, press, theatre and radio group in the world. I will be doing this for the benefit of all the people. It's a great challenge." (Goebbels)



"It is not the Party that is against Christianity, but we ourselves who must declare ourselves to be the only true Christians. Then the party can attack the saboteurs with all its fury. Christianity is the watchword for the extermination of the scoundrels, just as Marxist dissections were once executed under the banner of socialism." (Goebbels)



"To choose the victim, to prepare carefully for the blow to be struck, to satisfy the thirst for revenge without mercy, and then to go to bed and sleep... There is nothing sweeter in the world." (J.V. Stalin) 



"The establishment and maintenance of the dictatorship of the proletariat is impossible without the party, which is strong precisely because of its firmness and iron discipline. But its iron discipline is inconceivable without unity of will in the party, without the full and unconditional unity of action of all the members of the party." (J.V. Stalin)


It is a recent and striking phenomenon that the representatives of authoritarian, illiberal, populist, chauvinist, nationalist, etc. ideology have started, with a sly retort, to redefine the concept of fascism and the ideology of fascists as a threatening community, and to easily conflate it with communists and communism. Mária Schmidt, Director General of the House of Terror Museum and one of Fidesz's main ideologists, said at a commemoration ceremony on the occasion of the European Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Totalitarian Dictatorships, according to MTI: Let's call them names. She continued. It is as if these two vile world views had nothing to do with each other, as if they had grown up separately, walked separate paths and had different natures, whereas fascism, Nazism and communism are left-wing, socialist ideologies, they have walked and walk hand in hand, they could and do count on each other, they have built and are building on each other."[15]


Maria Schmidt is right, there are common features in the far-reaching profile of the two systems. The particular ingenuity of the statement is that it prepares the mobilisation against fascism and communism by taking the initiative. It cleverly conflates the two ideologies and presents the fascist-communist model of power as the enemy and rival of Fidesz. In this way, he pushes off the fascist stigma. After all, its opponents are the heirs of the communists or the Nazis.



The European Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Totalitarian Dictatorships is held on 23 August, on the initiative of the Hungarian-Polish-Lithuanian community, to commemorate the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact on this day in 1939. Speaking at the commemoration, Bence Rétvári, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Ministry of the Interior, said that there was no great difference between Nazism and Communism, as both denied Christianity and civil democracy, and that it was therefore justified to commemorate the victims of both dictatorships together. The logic of communication is that if the regimes they are fighting against are fascist, then they are democrats. The patent probably works.



Populism is also fascism


The defence against the rise of fascism became a leading theme of political analysis. Euronews, for example, asks why Putin wants to "Nazify" a non-Nazi country. As in every country, there are neo-Nazis in Ukraine, but they are marginal. The country itself is a constitutional democracy. The short answer to the question posed in the title would be: because he wants to bring about regime change in the neighbouring republic he is attacking. Ukraine is a parliamentary democracy, with far-right groups among many others. But the problem is not fascism in the country, it is corruption. "We want the Ukrainian people, or as President Putin said, all the peoples living on the territory of Ukraine today, to be free to decide their future destiny without being driven into the grip of Banderist psychology," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated the Kremlin's official ideology for the invasion of Ukraine.



"Russia will ensure the demilitarisation of Ukraine. Russia will ensure the denazification of Ukraine. We have suffered too much from Nazism and the Ukrainian people have suffered too much from Nazism to turn a blind eye and be irresponsible," Lavrov stressed. It is as if Ukraine has a Nazi president, a national socialist government that oppresses both the majority and the minorities. In Ukraine, however, there is no such thing.[16] Significantly, even the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., has issued a separate statement[17] rejecting Putin's distortion of Holocaust history "by his false claim that Ukraine should be Nazified."[19] Putin has also denied that the Holocaust is a "Nazi" and that the Holocaust is a "Nazi" crime.



Facts have long since ceased to matter, since the refutation of the false claim does not reach the misled masses.  "They say we are Nazis. But can a people who lost more than eight million lives fighting Nazism support Nazism?" - asked the rhetorical question[18] after Putin's invasion of the country, which began on the morning of 24 February 2023. Volodymyr Zelensky, who often boasts of his Jewish grandfather who fought against Hitler (and survived the war), felt the need to say that three of his grandfather's brothers were also killed in the Holocaust. The President has made it clear that he is the number one target of the Russians, it is quite clear that Moscow's aim is to create a Russian puppet government.



Since the independence of the Republic of Ukraine - and even more freely since the 2013 Majdan Revolution[19] - it has been a parliamentary democracy with a constitution guaranteeing a diversity of parties and views. The main problem for Western institutions and rights organisations is, of course, the inexorable corruption - so far, no one but Putin has been accused of fascism. "There is a dynamic competition between parties in Ukrainian politics. The opposition is represented in parliament and their political activity is generally not hampered by administrative restrictions or legal harassment. However, grassroots parties find it difficult to compete with more established parties with the support and financial backing of the oligarchs," Freedom House wrote in last year's country report[20]. Ukraine recognises the rights of national and social minorities, and the LGBT community holds an annual Pride march, which far-right groups regularly try to disrupt. (It seems unlikely, however, that Putin would fight Ukrainian neo-Nazis in defence of gay organisations.)



If we accept Federico Finchelstein's claim that populism is nothing more than fascism adapted to democracy, then action against populism is essentially action against the spread of fascist views by stealth. A commentary in the Daily Telegraph of 14 August 2023 warns against the belief that Western governments can ban populism,[21] which, according to author Sam Collins, could have very dangerous consequences. The issue has been raised as major parties in Germany are considering outlawing the AfD. But, as the author Sam Collins points out, this does not remove the reasons why a fifth of the electorate currently supports the party.



Populism is on the rise in other countries, such as Italy, Sweden and Finland. It is a risky and ultimately hopeless attempt to blacklist these forces. It simply does not work, despite all the power of the state. The reasons why people vote for these parties are still valid. Of course, it would be a mistake to think that every fifth person in Germany is a fascist because they put a cross next to the AfD name on their ballot paper. The fact is that a significant section of the population feels that the big parties do not represent their interests on a range of important issues, from immigration to the EU.



If you forcibly eliminate the party that represents these views, the believers will either become more radicalized or seek a group that says what they say. It is much more effective to make it clear to the public which tendency it is. Sunshine is the best disinfectant. In addition, the political elite must address the concerns of the electorate. Because if they do not, it could end up very badly.[22]



Alexander Soros now sees the fight against the fascist threat as a way of getting the organisations his father created out of Europe.  The Open Society Foundations (OSFs) set up by George Soros are almost completely withdrawing from Europe because the European Union and the governments of the Member States are spending a lot of money on the same projects as the OSF. Balázs Orbán, Political Director to the Prime Minister, was the first to react on behalf of our government. In a Facebook post he wrote: "We read the news about the Soros empire. We Hungarians have historical experience of such issues: we only believe that the occupying troops will really leave the continent when the last Soros soldier leaves Europe and Hungary. We are still far from that..."[23]



Trump facing the court


The message of the coded text is simple and long-held: Soros is an enemy of the national community, an invader like the Soviet army was. If anything, George Soros did declare war on the sole power, and ultimately lost the battle. He thought to use NGOs to help control power, and political propaganda therefore turned against NGOs, claiming that they organise migration and spread false accusations about the government, serving foreign interests when criticising it at home and abroad. The discrediting has not been ineffective. And there was little legal redress, because by then the legal framework had changed to such an extent, to the detriment of civilians, that meaningful justice could not be expected. The situation in the United States of America, the birthplace of democracy, is not yet hopeless, because Donald Trump has not succeeded in transforming the justice system to the extent that his ideological cousins have in many parts of the world. 



America would defend democracy from a lying former president through the courts. It would use the courts to say that lying is dangerous to democracy. The Guardian's editorial, taken from The Observer, argues that America should put the former president on trial after he caused huge damage to democracy by claiming he rigged the 2020 election. Unfortunately, it took two and a half years to get here. But the delay allowed the politician and his supporters to link the impeachment to next year's campaign. Of course, it is also a bald-faced lie on Trump's part that he is being hunted by the political press. After all, he tried to kill democracy. Confidence in the government is in tatters, and the possibility of civil war has been carelessly raised in the public debate. The former president will, of course, insist in his defence that he had the right to spread falsehoods about the election under freedom of speech. Because he meant what he said. That is utter nonsense, of course, but he is a compulsive liar. During his four years in office, he made a good 30 000 false or misleading statements. That is an average of 21 times a day. But the trial could go on for years, and politically it does not solve much. But it could divide America even more. For Trump is merely a terrible symptom. He is far from the only one who lies. But his arrogance is quite extraordinary. Like a mafia boss, he immediately threatens anyone who speaks out against him. If he were to return to power, it would bring international disputes, confusion at home and the settling of pending scores. Rarely has it been so important to do justice and make it look like justice. So there should be no doubt that the judgment is impartial and objective."[24]



According to László Bartus,[25] the threat of fascism is close to being fulfilled.In his post of 5 August 2023, Orbán has been preparing Hungary for thirteen years to turn away from the West and, if necessary, to leave the European Union and NATO. His persistent propaganda has not been ineffective; the majority of Hungarians have been completely brainwashed, telling good things as bad and bad things as good (Orwell). He has believed the lies about the West, America, the European Union and NATO. At the same time, the West has understood that Orban is not only ideologically and emotionally, but also politically completely alienated from it, a foreign body in Western civilisation, and a denier of everything that has Western values.



Orban has become an enemy of the West. He knew from the outset that the new political system he imagined and has since implemented cannot be integrated into Western democratic systems because it is deliberately opposed to them. He created a mixture of Italian fascism, German Nazism and Hungarian Christian nationalist Horthyism, disguised in a democratic cloak. This robe is increasingly peeling off and becoming invisible, like the Emperor's new clothes. Orbán has created not only the opposite of Western democracies, but also an alternative model.



But the essence of this is no different from classical fascism, because there is very little new to invent. A political system is based either on the rule of law or on authoritarianism, and in the latter case it is always the same: restrictions are placed on freedom of the press, free and equal elections, the separation of powers is abolished, the system of checks and balances is eliminated and everything is brought under the rule of the ideological state. They are abolishing civil liberties in the fields of culture, education and science. They are restricting the market and the freedom of enterprise.  It is no secret today that this is a common fascist state, whatever you want to call it. All this is not enough, because Orbán's confrontational and aggressive policy means that Hungary is at war on a daily basis with the West, with America, with the European Union, and is damaging the alliances of Western countries wherever it can.



Orbán has used Goebbels' propaganda methods to twist Western democratic values, human rights and respect for human dignity, and has successfully presented the West as a mongrel life, successfully criminalised the minorities it protects in Hungary and presented legitimate criticism of its authoritarianism as a revenge of the West. As if Western values are harmful and dangerous to Hungary, which he is protecting the Hungarian people from. In doing so, he has succeeded in making Hungarians hate freedom, human rights, humanism, goodness and humanity," Bartus says.



Csaba Káncz went further back. He found this (Szép szó, 1936-1939, journal):



"Fifty years ago, the slogan was: liberalism, democracy, enlightenment, equality of civil rights, national independence, freedom of the people, national independence, free thought, free press. Today: authoritarian state, totalitarian state, nationalism, racialism, new order, new world view, new intellectual front, Christian nationalism, national self-politics, national policy, national defence" (Ignotus Paul, co-editor, 1936).


Language mechanisms

For decades, the question of the linguistic mechanisms by which the 'leaders' get the masses to accept them as their leaders has been a subject of constant research. Marcel Danesi, an expert in cognitive linguistics who studies the relationship between language and the brain, has found that such politicians have had one thing in common for centuries: they dehumanise their opponents through symbols. In an opinion piece published in Politico, entitled How Trump, Putin and Orbán dominate your mind[26], the former US president, the current Russian president and the Hungarian prime minister are masters of emotions, drawing on the historical tools of dictators and autocrats, but the problem is that they can use their words to influence the thinking and beliefs of the whole public. They create a veritable cult around themselves, dividing the nation, waging culture wars, instilling hatred. Marcel Danesi explores how populist politicians use rhetoric to manipulate the mindset of the masses. Trump, Putin can stir up such an emotional storm in people that they march against Congress or attack another country. The author is particularly concerned about the ability to play on emotions such as aggression and to spread lies and conspiracy theories that defy the facts and destabilise society. The Nazis compared the targeted minorities to creeps and parasites. For centuries, powerful people have labelled certain social groups as rats, plagues, plagues. And successfully. Once one gets hooked on these metaphors, one's brain is transformed and ready to buy into even bigger lies and conspiracy theories. To do this, you first have to get public opinion to change in the right direction, which requires people to be afraid or feel insecure. The starting point could be economic instability or existing cultural prejudices.

Images that strip the other person of their humanity are particularly successful in this situation. However, once this kind of opinion has become ingrained in the brain, it is almost impossible to erase it. In other words, language can literally influence the mindset. Afterwards, the subjects can do things they could not have done before.Since 2010, thanks to populists and far-right movements, metaphors against the alien, the Other, have been spreading all over the world. Viktor Orbán already described migrants as poison in 2016. Putin branded Ukrainians as Nazis. In this way, they are influencing the nervous pathways of shy and anxious people, while they are waiting for something to believe in.

How susceptible someone is to manipulation also depends on their personality. If someone does not ask to be lied to, is critical thinking, their brain is more likely to detect when they are being deceived. Conversely, those who fall for the false claim don't care when confronted with the reality. It is a form of brainwashing. That's how fanatics are made. They only want the information that supports their beliefs. But they also have the ability to turn reality on its head, thus supporting their own opinions.

Danesi says we should not give up the fight, because history shows that cataclysms - the fall of a regime or the loss of a war - can bring new perspectives, and the brain can correct them. If it can break free from the spell of lies and manipulation. So there is hope for change. The great Cipollas, the autocrats and the autocrats have all been defeated by the truth, which tends to win in the end. But the bad news, as the expert points out in Politico, is that it will require some kind of severe ordeal. Without it, unfortunately, the masses are unlikely to give up the delusion. And that suits the authoritarians just fine, while endangering their society.

Ákos Keller-Alánt has also examined how fear-mongering campaigns help keep Fides in power.27 Since at least 2015, the Hungarian government has been continuously conducting propaganda campaigns to suggest that there is some serious threat to the country. The threat comes mostly from outside (migrants, Brussels, war), but there is also an increasing number of internal threats, be it from the left or even "LGBTQ propaganda". The government is becoming more and more explicit in its definition of the ideal Hungarian, while a large part of society hardly meets official expectations. The author explores how the perpetual sense of danger and threat or exclusion affects people's state of mind and how this helps the government to maintain its power. The article refers to research conducted by the Dimension Media Foundation, which examined the effectiveness of political propaganda and the extent to which voters believe demonstrably false political messages in the run-up to the 2022 elections. One third of left-wingers believed that Péter Márki-Zay would send troops to Ukraine if he won. This was the most important and disproved message that had a significant impact on the outcome of the elections.


The hatred and the cohesion

The key to the success of fear-mongering rhetoric is the well-known social psychological effect that people tend to line up behind the powers that be in times of danger. Psychiatrist and psychotherapist László Bokor also writes about the background to this in his book Society, trauma and the vicissitudes of the self, published earlier this year. "A group - be it ethnicity, people or nation - is always held together by love, but surrounded by hate, and out of these two things cohesion is formed," László Bokor told Free Europe. There is also the hatred of those outside the group, "who are not us". This in itself is not necessarily bad, it comes from evolutionary pack dynamics. Because it is an ancient reflex, hatred of "others" has great power, is easily activated, and causes experiential cohesion."[28]

The longer illiberal leaders are in power, the more democracy is repressed in their countries and the greater the chances that the system will become an autocracy. According to Washington analyst Charles Dunst, this has already happened here. Illiberal regimes are often the precursor of autocracies, Hungary being a case in point. Charles Dunst, deputy research director of the Asia Group, a Washington-based risk analyst, told Bloomberg. As proof, he said that Viktor Orbán came to power legally, but since then he has dismantled the checks and balances. His allies have invaded the press and civil society. The Turkish President has done the same. The longer such illiberal figures remain in power, the more democracy in their countries will be repressed and the greater the chance that the system will become an autocracy. The greatest threat to liberal democracy is now coming from within. So much so that Hungary has already moved into authoritarianism. But Dunst also warned in an interview with Bloomberg[29] that too many people in developed democracies think the system doesn't work. As such, they look for something else, including illiberalism. The only way to arrest authoritarian impulses is for the rule of law to do better at home. Only then can democracy once again serve as a model for the world.

Jason Stanley, a scholar of the operating model of fascism, sees a spiralling cycle of ignorance and racism behind the overtly racist speech by Republican Governor Pat McCrory, who has declared that gender studies should not be taught in public universities, nor should Swahili. (Swahili, as a first or second language, is spoken by 150 million people in Africa, says the footnote, and it does not waste time explaining to its readers the difference between gender studies and gayism.)[30] In the attacks on universities, universities play the same role as the Nazis believed the Jewish conspiracy behind the women's movements. [31] Jason Stanley highlights the essence of communication that plays on visceral emotions: the perspective of having to share citizenship and power with minorities creates a sense of oppression in dominant groups. The exploitation of this is a universal element of current international fascist politics.[32]

The last British Labour Prime Minister, in an interview with the Independent,[33] cited today's Hungary as an example of how dangerous aggressive nationalism sweeping the world can be. Gordon Brown, speaking at a panel discussion in Durmfermline, said that Viktor Orbán had managed to convince Hungarians that he was being treated badly by his allies, while he himself blamed immigration for all the country's ills. The problem is that there are hardly any migrants on Hungarian soil, yet many people reject them, which shows how big the problem is. Trump has also divided society, but nationalist countries should stop pointing the finger at someone else every time something doesn't go as planned. Refugees, blacks, China can be the scapegoats, but we need leaders who don't keep looking elsewhere for the cause of the problems. Rather, politicians should unite to find solutions to global challenges such as climate change, epidemics and financial instability. Otherwise, the world will fall apart," warns Gordon Brown.

The counter-attack is part of the fake fascist political propaganda. The European Conservative[34], which is close to Fidesz, wants to become a major European news portal and a key institution of the EU right, say its editors. The company that publishes the magazine has so far received 1.6 billion forints from a foundation that spends Hungarian taxpayers' money on the magazine, the launch of its online news service and its Brussels office.

In the autumn of 2021, a branch of the international radical right held a conference in Orlando, USA. The National Conservative movement is also close to the heart of the Hungarian governing party, with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán himself having spoken at an earlier conference. In Orlando, one of the speakers with Hungarian ties was Alvino-Mario Fantini. The 54-year-old is the editor-in-chief of The European Conservative, an English-language political magazine published in Budapest. The magazine was one of the co-organising organisations of the conference, according to the event website. "At The European Conservative - the magazine that I was asked to edit," said the editor of the magazine, which was one of the co-organizers of the event, establishing and building international relationships and alliances is at the heart of almost everything we do. Especially as we are trying to become the leading platform of the right, not only in Europe but worldwide," Fantini introduced himself to the audience, according to a video of the speech. He added that he himself knows that he is talking about a very ambitious vision.

But Fantini must have known that the magazine he edits already had a major backer in this ambitious ambition. In the past, the magazine's publisher has received generous support from a special Hungarian public foundation that often funds Fidesz's ideological backbone. The report on the spending of the grant states that the appearance of Fantini's magazine in Orlando was part of an activity supported by the Lajos Batthyány Foundation (BLA). Since the 2021 conference, the Foundation has decided to support the journal's publisher on four other occasions.


The cultural war is only a cover action

Tucker Carlson, the American face of authoritarian propaganda, is busy satisfying the demands of the Hungarian prime minister and the Russian president. Although the Hungarian prime minister likes to portray himself as the tough guy who can't be swayed, downright unflappable, in reality he often caves in at the last minute. He is well known in the EU for this. But at home, he has to sell the story differently. That's why he invites his well-deserved Fox News heroine - that's how Anne Applebaum, a renowned American historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, describes the relationship between Viktor Orbán and Carlson.35 As a columnist for The Atlantic, which has been published for almost 170 years, she recalls that the host is willing to do his job: he conveys the Hungarian leader's deep dissatisfaction with the United States and its ambassador in Budapest. He does not, however, mention the real cause of the extremely poor bilateral relations. He has simply overlooked the Russian spy bank and Moscow's (and Beijing's) spies. Somehow also left out of the interview with Orbán is Fidesz's refusal to legislate for Swedish membership of NATO and its systematic torpedoing of anti-Moscow sanctions in the EU.

But the prime minister does not want his supporters to be concerned with corruption or his autocratic friends. Or, for that matter, if the Americans and Europeans were to find out about these things at all. That is why he then hides these facts behind the culture war, and that is why Carlson comes in handy, because the Hungarian side can say so without any interjections: You see!? We have the support of a well-known overseas journalist. The latter is helping Orbán to avoid the consequences by making it appear that this is a cultural war and that money and espionage are not the source of the problems. See Paks, the financing of which is shrouded in secrecy, the Budapest-Belgrade railway line, which is also opaque, and the battery factories in China, which are not exactly environmentally friendly. His words are also being picked up by far-right US circles. The method was invented by Putin, and the US mouthpiece often uses Russian propaganda. But in the US, most of the far-right extremists have already taken over the propaganda trope from the Russian head of state, as well as from Orban and Carlson. It is now standard practice not to deal with real world problems but to fight a culture war. After all, life is full of difficult problems that can only be circumstantially explained at best, and even the best solutions may require hard bargains. In contrast, authoritarian politicians want to gain power to hide difficulties, steal public money and serve the business interests of their friends. They also manipulate the political system so that they are never again defeated in elections. That's what Putin introduced, and that's what Orban is doing. They are abusing trust, and Carlson is the American face, the British voice," points out Anne Applebaum in The Atlantic.

The political equivalent of the chicken-or-the-egg question of which came first, manipulation or public opinion. The extent to which the question is not far-fetched is shockingly answered by György Csepeli's book Waking Values[36]. He describes a survey, one of the conclusions of which is that the values of Russians are very different from those of others. Freedom, equality, solidarity, creativity, understanding, experimentation and friendship score much lower in Russia than in democratic societies, while Russians value wealth and esteem more than those in Western countries.

In any case, the EU is already showing signs of taking seriously the challenge that texts attacking national, racial, religious, etc. identities and political propaganda campaigns can be used to change the values of a society, even to the detriment of the community. At stake is the defence of democracy. This war is also about defending European democracies[37]," said the EU Commissioners on 22 August 2023. The Russian state apparatus is distorting history and spreading conspiracy theories to poison democracies with malicious disinformation," said European Commission Vice-President Vera Jourová and EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders in a joint statement published on the occasion of the European Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes. "We will continue our work to promote remembrance and provide facts to dismantle such distortions," the EU Commissioners said in their statement. The occasion was 84 years before the signing of the German-Soviet non-aggression pact, the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, on 23 August, and shortly afterwards the outbreak of the Second World War, which opened one of the darkest chapters in European history. "On this important date in the history of our continent, we pay tribute to the countless victims of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. Their memory will not be forgotten, and we reaffirm our commitment to ensure that such tragedies never happen again," the Commissioners said. According to them, Ukraine should continue to be supported as long as necessary, since this war is also about the protection of European democracies. "Our freedom is not negotiable, nor is Ukraine's," they said in their statement.

Stop here, at the end of the train of thought, the aforementioned quote from Federico Finchelstein's book Fascist Lies: "One of the most important lessons in the history of fascism is that racist lies lead to extreme, politically motivated violence."

We've probably reached an era. Since the institutions that control democratic functioning are slowly being completely emptied, the competition of the parties is becoming more and more impossible, the possibility of independent information is almost completely eliminated, and the resources of the civil movements are buried, the only option left is the struggle of individuals to protect themselves. Everyone has to decide for themselves whether they have something to do in order to protect their country, their freedom, their principles, or if they give way to an unscrupulous group for the exclusive possession of power.



[1] Polyák Gábor: A médiarendszer kialakítása

[2] Nemzeti agymosoda, Élet és Irodalom, VISSZHANG - LXIV. évfolyam, 26. szám, 2020. június 26.

[3] Mit igazolnak a választási eredmények? 2022. április 5.

[4] Federico Finchelstein: Fasiszta hazugságok, 21. Század Kiadó, 2020

[5] Sík Endre: Egy hungarikum, a morális pánikgomb

[6] A nemzeti tulajdonban lévő média lényegében a kormánypártok üzeneteit közvetíti

[7] Mennyire sérül a befolyástól mentes tájékozódás alapjoga

[8] Tömpe István: A reformfasizmus és a beletörődésÉS, - LXVII. évfolyam, 35. szám, 2023. szeptember 1.

[9] Orbán Balázs előadása a Matthias Corvinus Collegium nemzetközi konferenciáján. 2023.01.25. HVG,

[10] Federico Finchelstein, i. m.

[11] A NATO válaszai a hibrid hadviselésre.

[12] Szakértői beszélgetés, ELTE, Média- és Kommunikáció Tanszék, 2023.05.16.

[13] Vicsek Ferenc: Mit igazolnak a választási eredmények? DMA, 2022.04.05.

[14] Ungváry Rudolf: Fasisztoid feltámadás

[15] Schmidt Mária, Terror Háza,  2023.08.23.  


[17] Putyin hamis náci narratívája

[18] Volodimir Zelenskiy szónoki kérése

[19] Majdan forradalom

[20] A Freedom House jelentése az ukrán pártviszonyokról

[21] Western governments believe they can ban populism. They’re dangerously wrong


[23] Orbán Balázs válasza

[24] The Observer view on Donald Trump: America needs to see the ex-president brought to justice | Observer editorial

[25] Bartus: Elkezdődött Magyarország kiszorítása  

[26] Hogyan uralja az agyad Trump, Putyin, Orbán? Politico, 2023. július 30.

[27]  Szabad Európa, Keller-Alánt Ákos, Hogyan segítik hatalomban tartani a FIDESZT a félelemkeltő kampányok, 2023 július 14.

[28] Magyar Narancs, 2023. május 31. Mitől egészséges egy társadalom.

[29] Nincs vége a demokráciák és az autokráciák összecsapásának. Bloomberg, 2023. 09. 11.  

[30] Így működik a fasizmus, Jason Stanley, Théatre le Levain, 2021, 62.oldal

[31] Uo., 64. oldal

[32] Uo., 86.oldal

[33] Independent interjú, Gordon Brown élesen bírálja Orbán Viktort

[34] A közpénzből támogatott, „független” európai jobboldali lap

[35] Mire kell Orbánnak és Putyinnak Tucker Carlson

[36] Csepeli György: Értékek ébresztése. Kocsis Kiadó, 2023, 88. oldal  

[37] Ez a háború az európai demokráciák védelméről is szól