Commentary

The nation’s new enemy: Youth

It appears that Fidesz might be in the last stages of drawing conclusions from the October election defeat – and youth are it. Luckily for us, they haven’t figured out a way yet to talk to the ungrateful little bastards without exhibiting barely concealed contempt for them. Every single interview with a Fidesz politician on the subject of so-called youth is thus pure, back-firing, comedy gold.

“Our sires’ age was worse than our grandsires’. We, their sons, are more
worthless than they; so in our turn we shall give the world a progeny yet more
corrupt.”
–Horace, in Book III of Odes, circa 20 BC

The 2018 general elections yielded nearly 49% for Fidesz on a national level, their support among under-30s was just 37%, and among the 30-39 it was 41%. It was still the highest among all the parties, but it did tell something. Orbán’s support base is the over-50s, which never spells good for a political force, and says something about what it became.

Even after the tumultuous local elections in October 2019 when the opposition managed to take over about half the cities – to everyone’s surprise – Fidesz led in the polls in every age group. But their support among youth was the weakest. Among the under-30s with solid party preference, only 25% votes Fidesz.

But my favorite thing is Fidesz’ tone deaf reaction to this issue. Since their weakening support among youth became one of the leading takeaways from the October defeat, Fidesz politicians keep visiting loyalist TV studios and Fidesz columnists opine their little heads off on the pages of loyalist media – yet they appear to be constitutionally incapable of uttering a complete sentence that doesn’t end with seething contempt for aforementioned youth.

All of these opinions run be the same scheme: For a start, they don’t talk to young people – but about them. They start with making the statement that Fidesz had forgotten to communicate to youth – but before you would mistakenly assume that it is self-criticism or an honest desire to understand youth, they continue, and then they end it with sharing their little opinions on why it could be so. And those opinions are hilarious – if you are not a stakeholder.  

One of their line of complaint is that youth is not breeding fast enough, they are not subservient enough, they can’t be manipulated with the same, stale methods their elders were caught up in. The sizzling warmongering and scapegoating propaganda meets the most skepticism among young people, and they are also more likely to have experienced what Popper called an open society. No surprise, then, that old politicians’ most often voiced complaint is that the young fuckers travel.

Truth is, if Hungarian youth don’t settle in a mortgage and breed like ethnic rabbits that’s because they can’t afford it. Books and plane tickets cost a fraction of the cost of diapers, and buying a home on a non-politician’s salary is absolutely hopeless.

And all politicians could come up with is a conditional, state-complicated mortgage in exchange for more children than you can afford, in a rigid, motionless life lived out in one place to serve the mortgage conditions, no moving, no divorce, no failure to procreate, or else. They even prescribe mandatory IVF treatments if you fail to deliver the number of children indicated in your state-subsidized mortgage – if you want to avoid full repayment with penalty.

What’s not to be grateful about?

When index.hu asked Fidesz press department about youth support, they supplied a similarly tone deaf answer (a clear sign that they haven’t got the communication memo yet). I will quote it, this is what they actually said:

“Fidesz stopped the Gyurcsány-government* from introducing tuition fees. We have reduced youth unemployment by 60% compared to socialist governments. On top of that the Fidesz-government reduced the VAT of the internet from 18% to 5%, thanks to which in the European Union our homeland has the lowest VAT on internet browsing. Thanks to the governing party driving license tests are free under 20 years of age, and so is the first language exam under the age of 35. Those taking language exams receive on average 89 euros in subsidies. As a result of this, Fidesz is the most supported party in every age group.”

* Gyurcsány was the prime minister before 2009.

Whenever Orbán says “nation” he really means himself. And one cannot be an enemy of him without being the enemy of the nation. Or – as he put it about himself – the nation cannot be in opposition. So I guess that part of youth who is not with him is now the new enemy?

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