Franklin Foer at The Atlantic seems quick to blame the shuttering of the CEU, the George Soros funded graduate university in Budapest, Hungary, on Trump’s ambassador (a business imperative at The Atlantic), and by appealing, perhaps, to the sentiments of his readership.
Hey, I’m generally for openness, but while this could be pretty important for some people, it’s also pretty maudlin:
I’d met the student earlier in the day; he had told me that he was gay, and that CEU was one of the few places in his native country where he could hold hands with a partner without fear of violent recrimination. He pointed in the direction of a nearby bathroom: “The only gender-neutral toilet facility in eastern Europe.”
What does seem clear is that Hungary’s president, Viktor Orban, achieved this move politically, tactically, legally, and by degrees. It’s not entirely clear that such a move will be wise, long-term. A reasonable conservative position might be having another center of learning to replace the departing CEU once such steps are taken, perhaps to try and bridge the gap of the Hungarian country farmer and the city cosmopolitan with greater openness. This, given the history of the Austro-Hungarian empire and the problems with the Nazis and then the Communists.
But, what the hell do I know? Please feel free to highlight my ignorance (it’s deep).
It’s this blog’s opinion that if you’ve taken up a more unthinking liberal American position, you’ll be more likely to agree with Foer’s framing of the issue. You’ll be more likely to see your political opposition as not only mistaken, but morally supect, and perhaps fascistic and evil. The-troops-are-gathering-upon-the-horizon kind of view rather than the-merry-go-round-making-another-turn kind of view.
Roger Scruton spent a lot of time in Poland and Czechslovakia helping the ‘catacomb culture’ of learning that had to operate in secret against Communist rule.
Now, it seems, some old fault-lines may be re-emerging. Let’s hope it’s balanced.
‘Michael Ignatieff had barely unpacked his books when he first heard rumors about CEU’s endangered future, surreptitiously passed to his staff by a sympathetic source in the government. The source whispered about the possibility of an imminent attack encapsulating everything that made Orbán such a vexing opponent. Having studied law at Bibó, Orbán implemented his agenda with legalistic aplomb. He constantly revised statutes to serve his own purposes.’
Here’s Michael Ignatieff introducing Roger Scruton at CEU a few years back, having to explain to many CEU campus radicals why they should even allow Scruton to speak.
You know, maybe that’s part of the problem: