university ranking …

I am wondering why ranking of universities is used though it may well put them in highly negative light:

Those counting Oxford as their alma mater are arguably better known. They include … Hungary’s premier Viktor Orbán …

Is it a warning: never go to Oxford if you want to maintain mental health and democratic responsibility?

Migration: overestimation and underestimation …

I personally think that the German “good will” is occasionally much overestimated, for instance also in a blog post by Yanis Varoufakis. There is also in that country a huge pressure and one can hear Maximum Capacity to Take in Refugees Reached, Germany Says. In general one can easily get the impression that governments are much harsher than a greatly appreciative population, though it has to be acknowledged that for instance the president of the Italian Parliament, rebuked harshly and not only morally any hostility – she mentions this as question of rights and a matter of taken them seriously.

Even more so it is dangerous to underestimate to which extent we see a Hungarian dictatorship emerging under Orban, neglecting even basic principles of law. A EURACTIV report today is simply shocking:

EXCLUSIVE/ A Hungarian journalist has revealed government plans to create an airtight system designed to prevent asylum seekers from entering the country. The measures will be introduced on Tuesday (15 September).

Writing for Index, Kata Janecskó, disclosed shocking details of the Hungarian plan. Refugee Crisis in Hungary offers a crowdsourced translation. …


It is a disgrace and  one can only hope that the EU-institutions and other member states are seriously stopping this destruction of anything that may left from the idea of Europe as social and even progressive and peace oriented force.

Though I frequently made clear that one should not expect too much from the claimed European Social Model (see also the book, going back to the antimilitarist conference last year in Berlin), Orban is simply a immediate and great danger for any kind of peace and democracy.

It is not too late yet …

It was in the dreary month of November,

The gloomy days grew shorter,

The wind tore the foliage off the trees,


No, not the time I visited Germany, as Heinrich Heine did, writing A Winter’s Tale about Germany


We ended a European conference: social services, the meaning of care with its various facets, not least the pressure from marketisation and the neglect of a system of which it had been said in 2013 that this capitalism kills.


I said good bye to a colleague from Hungary – I did not know her, mentioned en passent my position at the Corvinus University and ….

… Could I only recite that then

She sang of love and its woes,

Of sacrifice and meeting again,

High above, in a better world,

Void of suffering, void of pain.

I heard another story instead

Orban finally took him away

– so on the occasion of my next visit I will not see the Marx statue that stood in the central hall of the university. Of course, it had been only a monument, a symbol – but yes: it had been a symbol: a manifestation of a writer, scientist and activist. And it had been a symbol for a writer who had been recognised as important contributor to the development of world culture – part of the heritage of Western culture which means in the understanding of the UNESCO a recognition not only of the importance but also in terms of the positive contribution.

With the news about Orban’s recent coupe I leave the venue – a stale feeling, weakness and disgust …

Indeed, Orban and his myrmidons learned what their recent victim said:

The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.

Of course, it is important, necessary to accuse this infringement of respect of Western culture, this arrogance of a snooty-nosed little upstart who is known for his pathological outages, his populist megalomania. Still, there is a wider perspective.

Some may recall the sentences by Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.[1]

And indeed, it is cum grano salis also relevant here:

  • First they came for the social commitment of property and established the radical freedom of the market – but we enjoyed it: choice and being able to decide
  • Then they came for the regulation, and dismantled the systems of regulating at least some standards – but we always objected bureaucratic rule and did not bother, assuming that reason will win anyway
  • Then they took the last public services away, establishing the market rule across the board – didn’t we complain for a long time of the lack of quality of public services …
  • Finally, there had indeed not been such thing as society, only individualists, pretending sociality by the commodities they buy, the brands by which they exhibit themselves … and even the memory of alternatives had been wiped out – then it will be too late …

Not yet – if we are serious now in interpreting the development correctly and, indeed, change it fundamentally.

[1]            There are different versions and there is along discussion on the statement – see here… And here.