Commentary

The annotated questionnaire – 2/3

The so called “national consultation surveys” are direct marketing mail campaign letters sent to every Hungarian household on behalf of ‘the government of Hungary’. This is the annotated translation of the ninth (or so) such campaign.

Here are the questions

with some context.

Continued…

4. 

During the pandemic there has been a shortage of healthcare and protective equipment throughout the world. Hungary has successfully secured these equipment from abroad and started domestic manufacturing. 

Do you agree that the government must make efforts to produce the protective gear in Hungary, to reduce our exposure? 

So it’s not just Hungary – that was the message. The rest is so obviously not relevant.

The funny thing is, there was this pronounced China-dependence throughout the pandemic. Flight after flight came from China, carrying things, some times even Orbán stood for a photo with the cargo.

Then one such photo was ridiculed because the box was clearly marked ‘not for medical purposes’ in Chinese. Then doctors complained (very carefully with lots of goodboy reasoning) that those ventilators are fine – for sleep apnea patients.

Then the nasty investigative journalists came and pointed out that somehow the government ordered stuff from freshly founded and crony.owned companies – often with weird profile.

It is usual to see governments to buy whatever Putin sends them and pay whatever he asks for – but this is the first time China did the same. (If a county can sell stuff. This is all so unpleasantly collectivist and smacks of pre-1989 thinking when countries did this and that, countries were told to do this and that, when countries manufactured things. I thought we were over that, especially with something as complex as cloth masks.)

5.

Due to the pandemic digital curriculum had to be introduced form one day to the next. This measure served the purpose of keeping the students safe without interrupting the school year. It required great efforts from teachers and students and parents alike. Everyone deserves thank you for the successful transition. 

Do you agree that internet should be free for families raising school-age children and teachers during the pandemic? 

I can almost feel the outrage of parents who were suddenly left with their children and had to supervise their education for weeks. This explanation is for them.

As of the success of the transition – in a country of desperate poverty those, who were left out of schooling during covid-19 are still unheard. This questionnaire is not for them. And there will be never any measure to make them catch up with the 21st century.

Or there have been many such measures, I’m sure. The European Union must have spent a tear-inducing sum on exactly this. But they did that in the stupid way (anything but actually buying kids devices) and through the bottleneck of national politicians who all took their cut, some took 100%. Village modernization is such an irresistible catch phrase, the EU never fails to throw money on that excuse.

As of the free internet question – I can almost hear the spin doctors wondering how they are supposed to put this pacifying message into a question. There must be questions in this letter, after all, they couldn’t just write “This measure served the purpose of keeping the students safe without interrupting the school year” and be done with it.

And which mindless, micromanaging monster comes up with thoughtless proposals such as finding out which internet user belongs to which professions and what family structure? Are internet providers really supposed to know about that? I know that submissive minds allow anything as long as it is wrapped in free stuff, but even the infrastructure required to carry out such an obnoxious, micromanaging rule would be massive. Not to mention it wouldn’t save the students who live without electricity, laptops, or even a family that tolerates learning from home.

6.

Brussels epidemiological defense organisation (ECDC) has not noticed the approaching danger when the pandemic broke out. The Union’s bureau called the risk of infection “moderate” even on the day of the first death in Europe. The Hungarian authorities, on the other hand, have started to prepare for defense on time. The Operative Body started its work on January 31, 2020 – when Europe didn’t even observe infections. 

According to you, do we need a permanent epidemiological monitoring institution in Hungary in order to prepare for pandemics, realize them in time, and to reduce our exposure? 

Just like Trump, Orbán has also shut down this very institution in the last couple of years. It is the essence of politicians centrally doing things: they don’t fund what they don’t understand. Sometimes not even what they do. Why would anyone want to have them planning the economy for us is beyond me. They know exactly the same amount about the economy as they know about corona. And their data about the economy is just as heavily politically manipulated as their covid-data is.

Accusing “Brussels” of failing is quite harsh here. Claiming that the infamous daily press conference show called the Operative Body has always existed but certainly before anyone else’s was set up – we have to take their words for it.

But Orbán wasn’t terribly eager to do this covid thing in the first place. It is his political talent that he jumped on it when it was inevitable and became the epidemiological leader – among other things.

Again, the so-called question is so redundant, it hurts me to think how many trees will be culled to print it.

7.

To protect the health and safety of Hungarian men and women is more important than anything. This is why the government decided that the defense must not have financial obstacles, and everyone must contribute its part to the burdens. 

According to you, should banks and multinational companies contribute to the cost of defense during self-defense against pandemics? 

Do you want me to tax some more?

Stoking hatred against corporations is like shooting at fish in a barrel. Orbán has been extra-taxing any sector or company he wanted to punish, take over or just smelled they have money to take. Banks, utility companies, media companies, the list is endless.

The retail companies are a long-time sore in Orbán’s eyes as his national champions just can’t get themselves in shape to compete with them, regardless of the subsidies and legal privileges they get. During the pandemic, they single-handedly maintained supply of goods. (Not just here, everywhere. If your government would take that job into its ham-fingered hands, toothpaste would have been rendered inessential and not to be found until everything is over, and people would have received such alien items as sugar, flour, and coking oil, wondering where those things go.) Retail chains even hired tens of thousands to meet demand for delivery and stocked shelves.

They obviously had to be punishment-taxed. And the extra tax remains on the books because nothing is as permanent as a temporary tax – to paraphrase Milton Friedman.

Five more questions to go…

 

 

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