Breeding policies are an excellent tool to trigger the most toxic kind of authoritarian thinking: sexism. This kind of thinking is so penetrative that many regard it as a fact of nature, rather than a debilitating distraction from what is being done to us.
People don’t recognize sexism for what it is: a power tool, and not just over women. By pointing out its obvious disadvantages to women, people remained blind to the fact that it is equally effective to keep the entire population (men) under the ruler’s thumb.
The same authoritarian submission-sadism dynamic is playing off on the societal level that is working in sexism. The behavior of men under an oppressive authoritarian regime is exactly the same as that of women in oppressive families: submission and aggressive enforcement thereof on other victims. (Yes, I just said that men are bitches to the king the same way women are bitches to the men.)
Nothing goes to men – and they are better for it
Orbán’s breeding plan is rampant and self-evident sex discrimination, but Hungarian men are not exactly aghast that these wonderful perks, like the wife debt, are not going to them. And with good reason.
The wife-loan, for instance, is a wife-debt that will stay with the woman in case of a divorce. And while she can only get it on her first marriage, the man can keep moving on to women, make them take out the debt, then leave with less than 3 children fathered to them. Or just leave at any point. Divorces are not very juicy for women in Hungary, please put your first world assumptions to rest for now. If the wife cannot perform the three successful live births to the same husband – that she doesn’t divorce from and who doesn’t divorce her – she has to pay it back, with interest. Alone.
The lifelong exemption from personal income tax for mothers-of-four (counting starts now, existing children can suck it) is also not exactly a liberating tool. There is nothing truly liberating after four kids, but a parent-friendly world would probably make more difference than this tax cut.
The only reason this tax cut made it into the law because minor loyalists of Fidesz, who cannot go offshore because they haven’t got to steal enough, still tend to have an above-average number of kids. Now these wives can front for their husbands until nosebleed.
The predictable domestic violence is a gift from the king to the men
If you are naive and silly, you may wonder how a woman can leave an abusive marriage after four kids – but that’s your first world bias. Happiness or even a liveable life for the subjects is not a priority. Once you adopt the collectivist breeding agenda, your happiness, your non-suffering literally don’t matter.
As of abusive marriages, István Varga, a Fidesz MP has already have you covered.
“Maybe mothers should return to child-rearing, birth 2-3 or rather 4-5 children, and then it would make sense to better respect each other, and domestic violence wouldn’t even be an option.”
And this was a parliamentary debate about domestic abuse and this was the sentiment of every Fidesz MP. This kind of talk is not the exception but the rule today. Sexism is just another face of authoritarianism, and the unpunished domestic violence is a gift from the ruler to the men. Their lives may suck, they may have no say in the dealings of the country – indeed, no one even dreams about such a thing anymore – but they still have their wives to rule over.
There, women. Just keep spreading your legs and pray for your fertility to remain or you are in for a lifetime of beating. And once you have five, and he still beats you for some reason, you can presumably leave. Sure.
By the way, the average take-home salary in Varga’s country is less than 700 euros in 2018. Your husband takes that much but you’re supposed to breed until he respects you.
Frivolities are wildly discouraged:
Such as adoption, civil partnership, divorce, being a gypsy, or just poor.
And homosexuals should die, too, obviously – they just don’t write it into this law. For now. But they sure don’t count as people or couples, can not marry and how could you seriously even think they would get any of the dubious goodies from the breeding program? You must be not from here.
A breeding policy is the nastiest type of social engineering. To the surprise of no one, it is also racist.
As expected, Orbán’s seven points were saturated in the perennial Hungarian tradition of leaving gypsies out of any benefits. Every Hungarian family-supporting state program ever has attempted to make sure that gypsies would not get a single forint of it by accident. You could smell the sweat of the lawmakers as they tried to describe gypsies in other terms (unemployed, without paying social security contribution, having criminal history, under-age mothers, etc.) and cut them off. Thereby entrenching the deepest of poverty and dependence in society in a single move, while not achieving much else.
But the Orbán-government is also famous for cutting off the poor from any state benefits. Punishing the poor and pushing them down instead of at least leaving them alone is also a time-tested authoritarian power tool – just as its opposite, boundless welfarism is. Orbán has criminalized homelessness, for heaven’s sake. A few years after the mortgage crisis put people on the streets – while designing bailout programs for mortgage holders who were well off in the first place.
Such poor-bashing satisfies the desperate need for self-validation of the not-yet-poor. It is also a gift from the king. Letting people spit bile on each other and setting groups against each other is cheap and makes resistance all the more unlikely.
In authoritarian societies, only women have children.
Men have nothing to do with their second coming.
Stomping on and legislating women and their reproductive choices, down to telling doctors what to do with them and what choices they are not allowed to make, even sometimes to lie to women – this is how hell works. Not being allowed to get sterilized, keeping the exposure to pregnancy alive even at the expense of the woman’s health are open priorities in Hungarian legislation.
Men can get snipped any time, without their wife’s consent or a lecture from a doctor. There is no legislation to keep them in the dark about their options, to prioritize their fertility even if it means living with pain, and not telling them that this choice was made for them. And there is certainly no law that would force doctors to lie.
Autocratic countries are unique in the sense that only women have children there. Men have nothing to do with the shitty little bastards. Women are the ultimate authoritarian targets as well as underdogs who are captive and thus end up supporting their captivity. Their branding is that they are the weak ones, for god’s sake, and that’s all an authoritarian mind needs to hear to attack. Kick the weak, suck up to the strong.
The fact that this program is targeted at women, as if men had nothing to do with children, should make everyone go WTF. The only reason it doesn’t is because we are so used to it. And that the Fidesz-type of men secretly love it. Okay, not secretly.
Mind you, the only breeding legislation that ever worked in the world (without unspeakable violence) was when men started to take more part in child-servicing, when they made the world more parent-friendly, when workplaces didn’t panic at the thought of a parent in the workforce or even a child in the office from time to time. Treating mothers like real people who have the same right to live in a world that takes into consideration their life experiences, like needing a ramp or a door wide enough to push the inane baby-tanks through. Having a baby is not exactly a minority issue, not shocking, not unexpected, the vast majority of people do it at one point, so why not build the environment less parent-unfriendly?
Sadly, the best way to remind the world that parenthood is a legitimate and natural life situation is pointing out that even real people do it. When men start topush baby-tanks around, ramps spring up very quickly.