Sunday, June 3, 2012

Censor This

- Not many people this time. It's useless.
- No, it's not. Protests, like human relations in general, go in cycles of encouragement and discouragement. Meet a girl, she's beautiful and you think you'll fall in love, then some doubts, arguments, then it's done. In time you start over, meet another girl. Same with protests, with every social relation, when that is all they are, social relations.
- What else should they be?
- Personal. Happy. When you love the girl because loving her you can live in the way you always wanted to live, protest because you know you can't live in the way you have to live. I had this conversation many times in Budapest.
- About protests there?
- No, that knowing how social life works is useless if you don't know what makes people happy.
- I don't know what you mean. Did you come to Israel from Budapest?
- Yes. Yesterday. Happy people can make use of good politics. Better politics don't make people happy. Giving people democracy, who only know acting like gangsters, ends badly. That's what is happening in Budapest. Writing anything that makes the state look undignified is illegal there, has been from the beginning of this year. So I plan to do it from here. I am looking forward to it.
- Writing bad things about Hungary?
- As bad as possible. Sure. It will be my protest. I want to enjoy myself, like all these people in the street.
- What will you write?
- First, about my last day in Budapest. My last, paranoid day.
- Paranoid about what?
- That the Hungarian government would try to stop me from leaving.
- Why should it?
- Lot's of reasons.
- What did you do?
- I talked, wrote stories. Undignified stories, about my runaway Hungarian wife, her family, about the Central European University. I stopped by to say good-by to the guard at the University, who'd always been friendly. She warned me against telling anyone else I was going to Israel. I asked her why.
- We two, that heard you now, we're alright. Not the others.
- Then you tell me: who gave the order forbidding me to enter the University last week? I want to write about it. Was it the President of the University?
- No, he's like the Queen. A figurehead.
- Then who? The security chief?
- No, he doesn't know you.
- Then who? Who else do you take orders from? Was it the American Embassy, because the Ambassador was there, and they wanted to block me from talking with her?
- Why would they do that?
- I'd committed the unforgivable crime of telling the Vice-Consul he was mistaken in what he told me. He forbade me entrance to the Embassy. I told him he couldn't do that. Another unforgivable crime. Anyway, I remembered that the University guards, like the majority of Hungarians, were resentful of the more or less more successful Jewish population they lived among. That explained the warning. But she still wouldn't tell me who ordered my exclusion from the University. It could have been Soros himself, the billionaire founder of the University. The week before I'd told him at a public lecture he gave just what I told you: his University, his foundations, couldn't do any good because all they looked at was economic efficiency, trying to make people wealthier so they could have better lives. I told him it didn't work because people have to know how to treat each other better in their more efficient social and economic relations, otherwise they won't have any good effect.
- Again, I don't understand.
- Soros didn't either. Look. Hungary since 1989 has been a democracy, but social and economic life has been getting progressively worse, despite better forms of government and economic organization. The reason is corruption. People don't work together, they don't like working with each other. It's gotten to the point where people openly say everyone hates each other. They work against each other, each in his clan, gang, group. Effort and attention is diverted, dedicated to a destructive fight for power. Better laws, better economic organizations don't stop the worsening of life for the majority.
- What's the solution?
- I told Soros his University has to give up its useless study of economics and politics, look instead at new ways people can organize with each other to live together.
- How?
- Help people form their own businesses and organizations to escape the predatory effects of big business, monopoly, gangsters.
- What did Soros say?
- Nothing. Unless his answer was my exclusion from the Central European University the next week.

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