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George Soros' 20th Century History Lessons For Viktor Orban

The European Court of Justice has squashed the law that forced George Soros and his Central European University (CEU) to leave Budapest. It brought up ghosts from near and distant pasts.

Academic freedom protest in Budapest in 2018
Academic freedom protest in Budapest in 2018
Mattia Feltri

I won't give you all the details on the law — it's a hodgepodge — but, the Court says, it's a hodgepodge that violates the fundamental rights of academic freedom.


For Orbán, Europe continues to protect assorted alleged speculations of Soros, whom he paints as an enemy of the people and a super-villain financing opponents aiming to undermine standing governments.


There might be some truth in this. You might remember how Soros funded the studies of a young anti-Communist bound for Oxford University. He was indeed backing the opposition then — opposition to Hungary's forced loyalty to the Soviet Union. It was 1989, the year of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the bloody utopia, and the student he financed was Viktor Orbán himself.


You know how it works: When you're part of the opposition it's one thing, but when you're the one others are opposing, everything changes.


The story of Soros being an enemy of the people deserves a chuckle, above all, because he is used to it. He was a Jewish kid at a time when Budapest was occupied by the Nazis — for whom the declared enemies of the people were Jews and international finance.


Soros escaped, but in 1948 he found out it was not much better with the Communists, so he fled to London. And when he began to subsidize Solidarność, Carta77 and even little guys like Orbán, Moscow had a flash of genius: Soros was a scoundrel of international finance, an enemy of the people!


And so on, up to Orbán and his populist friends across the world, who have forgotten the history of the 20th century — and what it means to use similar tactics and the same old vocabulary.

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