The communists had “imperialist sabotage” to blame for their failures. Anti-communists have their own people.
Or cyber criminals, as they call them.
One of the stalest clichés of pre-1989 autocracy was always crying sabotage. In other words: blaming others for socialism’s own, dumb failures. And the failures were inevitable. They stemmed from the hubris of central planning and the top-down command economy.
When the comrades started to build a metro line, for instance, they quickly ran into the brick wall of reality: namely that commands from Moscow didn’t miraculously make themselves feasible. As a result, the metro line has been a failure – and not just any failure that can be hidden by simply lying about it, but such an obvious one that it needed to be explained. And the go-to explanation was “imperialist sabotage” or “capitalist sabotage”.
They could not complete the bloody metro line in 20 years, but they could make propaganda movies about how it was the capitalists’ fault. So that’s what they did, substituting real-life governance with deafening propaganda and spending more taxpayer money to compound the original waste of taxpayer money that was the building of an overambitious metro line. They could not make it a success, no matter how exclusive their access to the public was in communication and no matter how many lies they were allowed to tell – so they used menacing state power to silence dissenting views.
This method is well and alive again in the post-2010 autocracy.
I was not the only one who thought of the sabotage excuse when I heard the post-2010 version of the same thing: DDOS attacks. And although the government keeps blaming mysterious hostile forces for them, it looks more that these attacks coincide with the desperate attempts of ordinary citizens to gain access to scarcely rationed resources.
We have done so six times just since the pandemic began.
The last time it was when Orbán desperately wanted to reach his arbitrary goal of 4 million first-dose vaccinations by Friday evening so he threw 100 thousand Pfizer vaccines at the people on Friday morning to fight for it. And the appointment booking site got on fire.
To understand why it triggered such interest, you should perhaps know that the petulant children (i.e. Hungarian citizens) are not so keen on autocracies’ prestige jabs and unimpressed with the aggressive silence about their effectiveness, side effects and delivered quality – not to mention that they won’t be accepted everywhere when outright travel bans will eventually give way to other travel restrictions, like the European vaccine passports. So the uptake of the Chinese jabs is sluggish in Hungary, even though it is the most lucrative one for Orbánist cronies who ordered the jabs through a shady intermediary company at spectacular prices and refuse to tell who was allowed to skim the deal and for how much.
So the Chinese jabs are being pushed at us through expensive ad campaigns and by the force of blackmail, depriving us from access to immunity certificates and thus the artificial freedom they provide until we accept the Chinese jabs. But people patiently wait for the Pfizer shots to be released. But Orbán is impatient. Last week, for instance, he wanted to reach 4 million first jabs because he tied the reopening of stadiums to that number and there was a football match on Saturday. So on Friday morning he announced the one-day-only Pfizer shower and the appointment booking website predictably crashed under the increased interest.
The authorities’ explanation:
cyber sabotage DDOS attack.
Apparently, we are all cyber criminals now, trying to get our hands on state services that we can’t buy on the free market (even though we would).
And that was the sixth such suspicious case of cyber sabotage by hostile, alien forces, apparently. Another time the website where you can check if your registration on the first website was successful had crashed. The original vaccine registration website was so breathtakingly incompetent, it did not offer any confirmation as to the success of your registration attempt, so people found themselves ignored when the vaccinations started. So when the second website that checked if the first website was announced, it also crashed. According to the officials, it was also a hostile DDOS attack.
Not that there was a single official investigation into who that mysterious saboteur might have been that keeps attacking our precious digital infrastructure every time people want to use it as well. Strange.
Arguably, Orbánism brought back pretty much everything from the pre-1989 autocracy, minus the nationalizations. (They now cronify things into their own pockets instead of dumb state ownership. It is even worse, if possible.) It is thus not surprising that the old sabotage-excuse has also been repurposed. Except they don’t (always) blame the West (“Brussels”) now. Sometimes it is us, pesky citizens who commit the sabotage. Even if it happens by desperately trying to get our hands on state services.
I would be more than happy to pay for my own vaccine and get it done at a civilized private hospital – not at the already overburdened public hospitals – but states everywhere are posturing as saviors and that slows things down. For now, they are jealously guarding access to vaccines and painfully micromanage who gets what and where and when. It is also an extra added burden on the healthcare system that has been on the brink of collapse long before the pandemic.
But politicians’ central planning lizard brains are acting up and their command economy upbringing is starting to show as they age and they insist on this farcical micromanagement and the misallocation of scarce resources. The priority is grandstanding and posturing as a savior – not human lives.