Thursday, June 28, 2007

What's the matter with Hungary?

Hungary in the 1930s:
The words people, popular, populist, which had been monopolies or near-monopolies of the Left for one hundred and fifty years at least (in Hungary "people" had been a Leftist and "nation" a Rightist term), now became adopted by the a new radical "Right." This development had begun in Germany a few decades earlier (assisted by the peculiarly tribal and mystical German word Volk). It was taken up by Mussolini in 1914 when he called his radical nationalist new newspaper Il Popolo d'Italia. Twenty-five years later, when the Second World War began in Europe, folkish and populaire became the favorable designations of Fascist and Nazi sympathizers throughout the Continent. These, as indeed the newfangled nationalist populists in Hungary, began to attack those men in the establishment and government who were "old-fashioned" (that word, in Hungary as well as in the United States, had a definitively pejorative connotation at that time), "reactionaries," that is, ossified representatives of an antiquated order.
John Lukacs, Confessions Of An Original Sinner 21-22 (Ticknor & Fields, 1990).

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