1. He expects for himself and pays to others the respect every person deserves, but does not ask for special deference or any titles, he pays special respect to others not because of their social status, wealth, power, influence or clothing, but based on decency and merit; he does not humiliate himself in front of anybody and he does not address or greet anybody in a subservient manner.
  2. In matters of work he considers himself a servant, in his leisure time and at home he considers himself his own master; he stands up against anyone who would consider himself a master or superior even during his work or service, and someone who would treat others as slaves or inferior.
  3. He does not tolerate the depreciation of his or others’ work, the financial or power abuse of any situation, or any kind of abuse for that matter, he stands up against any coercion, intimidation, persuasion or trickery aimed at his and others’ truth, basic right and proper claims.
  4. He acts as a guardian of the freedom of his and every other man’s existence from illicit or despotic infringements thereof.
  5. He never loses sight of the fact that human liberty and human dignity is one and the same, and any wrongdoing against anyone based on their social position, origin, gender or age endangers everyone else’s freedom and dignity: therefore he stands up either collectively, or if that is not immediately possible individually against any infringement on the human freedom, arbitrary arresting, detention, private or official harassment.
  6. He immediately speaks up and stands up individually or in concert with other decent people against arbitrariness, despotism, authoritarianism, abuse, misleading of the public, misrepresenting the public will, any kind of threat and terror, he unmasks and forces to retreat those who want to aggressively dominate others irrespectively of what or who they are appealing to, because he knows that these people can triumph only if decent people are too lazy or intimidated.
  7. He does not stay silent on or help to conceal any kind of fraud or financial swindling no matter how powerful a person he must thereby expose.
  8. He expresses his opinion in matters of public interest based on his own conscience; he is not intimidated by threats, he does not give into cajolery, he does not give away his vote or signature for money or any other kind of advantage.
  9. He takes the initiative in all matters of public interest, he contributes according to his talent and means to every initiative or movement of public interest and tries to bring them to success, he is aware of the fact that if public matters get ignored or get into the hands of the wrong people, it is only because decent people lack the initiative or audacity.
  10.  He trusts in the power of communities, the decency of the majority of people, and that with audacity and will this can come to reign public matters, therefore he leads by example and acts efficaciously individually and collectively, and by acting full of hope and trust against all negativity he strengthens the belief around himself and in the community that decency can ultimately triumph.

–István Bibó (1911-1979) was a Hungarian lawyer, political theorist, prolific essayist and a minister of state for the Hungarian national government during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.



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.