Corruption is a feature, not a bug

Make Corruption Noble Again

Orbán’s sidelined top minister gave an unusual interview and made an honest attempt to make corruption sound dignified and patrician. Just look at Germany!

János Lázár has been Orbán’s deputy and most influential minister at his peak. But he may have grown too strong so he was sidelined after a 2018 election defeat in his district – and then he was made to do things that eroded his image. A few months later there was one more, odd piece of communication from him, posting a video where he said goodbye to his ministerial office, sending cryptic messages to seemingly no one in particular. He quoted Kossuth’s letter to Deák – hinting that it might be Orbán’s closeness to Russia that might blow up Fidesz in the end. And when it happens, Lázár might be back from the grave.

And then silence.

In October 2020 he did the unimaginable – talked to actual media. Not to proud propagandists who write the “newspapers” that Orbán took over – but actual journalists, who were forced to flee after Orbán shut down their previous paper.

So the former minister, Lázár invited actual journalists into his home for an interview (again, an unheard-of thing in 2020) and he made an attempt to create an image, as if he were preparing for something.

  • humble, reasonable and patrician – as opposed to the newer Orbánists who are younger, hungrier and arrogantly ignorant.
  • not a threat to Orbán – which is another way of saying, please don’t hurt me, Orbán.
  • and not corrupt – because everyone always did the same. Just look at history. And Germany.

You can Gtranslate the interview for yourself, and please look at the breathtaking portrait photos. Seriously. They tell you visually what is in the text.

My favourite part is where Lázár brags about his high connections to German tycoons and how they threw him a lifeline after his resignation. He described that as normal, what else would one use his connections he had built up while in politics?

Then he explains how German business dynasties are also a product of corrupt collusion of state and the economy. A few generations ago German tycoons were just as nouveau riche as he is now. German dynasties still have an iron grip on the country, but today they are regarded as awwww… the benefactors of the people. So…

And that is apparently what Lázár is aspiring for. Or the entire Fidesz crony class, for that matter, currently busy hoarding EU funds and public money. They carry themselves like aristocrats (or what they think an aristocrat is) and justify their actions by pointing at Germany (a major source of Orbán’s power). And to history.

Lázár also brings up a bunch of obscure 19th century Hungarian money men who were also public money magnets. They also got laws written to benefit them like they do today, and they were also unstoppable public tender-winners. They also hunted together with the politicians and the revolving door between business and politics was just as fast as it is today. So…

He probably implies that it is okay. I think. Otherwise why would he have dug up those obscure historic examples in the first place?

Oh, and I almost forgot. Lázár gave this interview apropos of translating a book on Churchill. Well, he had a ghost translator but nowadays we have to appreciate any politician who is not aggressively anti-intelligent.

Actually, on a second thought, this should mark him out as a target in Fidesz, acting as if he could read.

I haven’t read the book yet, and I will probably never read his translation, but it is about Churchill’s finances so let me guess: Churchill also sold his political influence for money and Churchill is an icon, so…

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