Response to Hungarian Free Press’ Sloppy Online Attack

by PaprikaPolitik, On April 20, 2015

Several people have asked about a recent article published by the Hungarian Free Press. We didn’t take the time to respond officially. Instead, we listened in on a phone conversation between CSS President Marion Smith and CSS Budapest Director Emese Böröcz. We transcribe the relevant parts here:


EMESE (Budapest): By the way, did you see that article in the Hungarian Free Press about CSS?

MARION (Washington DC): Yes, someone sent me the link. I’ve never heard of them. They got a few facts wrong and the author certainly didn’t contact me for comment before publishing his piece. Did they contact you?

EMESE: No. But what did you think about the piece?

MARION: Well, the author is exactly right, CSS members are generally a cheerful, respectful, well-educated, and well-dressed bunch. We’re not going to apologize for that.

EMESE: What about his critique of Aron’s post on PaprikaPolitik about the removal of the Marx statue?

MARION: First, it’s pretty clear that PaprikaPolitik authors don’t speak on behalf of CSS and there’s a diversity of opinion published there. But it’s odd that most of his rant was a defense of Marx. Aron’s piece was correct, after all–Marx was the political philosopher who first made the intellectual case for genocide.

EMESE: What about his criticism of Josh’s piece?

MARION: Josh was obviously summarizing statements that were made by speakers at a CSS event, the comments were not his opinion, a fact this guy obviously disregarded.

EMESE: And what about the author’s idea that we’re an Orbanista mouthpiece?

MARION: Well, Common Sense [Society] got started before Fidesz was elected in 2010 and I’m pretty sure we’ll be around for future governments too, that’s what civil society does.  And wouldn’t it be great if common sense would guide current Hungarian politics, especially foreign policy? But on this guy’s conspiracy thesis: I’m sure somebody somewhere is engaged in a conspiracy against something, but we’re certainly not a part of it.

­—By the way, congrats on that marathon yesterday, I heard you made good time!

EMESE: Thanks! Hard work pays off in the long run.


Editor’s note:  The Common Sense Society has hosted more than 130 educational events, debates, film screenings, and summer academies in Hungary since 2009. CSS, an independent educational non-profit foundation, continues to be funded exclusively by private individuals, corporations, and foundations. CSS is (still) not affiliated with any political party or government agency in Hungary, The Netherlands, or the United States.

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This blog is provided by the Common Sense Society of Budapest as an online, English-language platform for the publication and exchange of diverse and differing perspectives about Hungarian politics, economy, and culture. The views represented here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of CSS. The Common Sense Society does not receive funding from any government entity or political party.