But whatever you wish to keep, you better grab it fast,
Yonder stands your orphan with his gun,
Crying like a fire in the sun
Look out, the saints are comin’ through
And it’s all over now, Baby Blue.
Man is a tool making animal that often
becomes a prisoner of his tools. We invented tools to enable us to observe reality, but by now, many of us are as blind to reality as the proverbial bat. To overcome our blindness, to overcome the disaster inflicted upon our vision by the Enlightenment, many of us have become night creatures, fly by night operators, relying on our other senses, to get around. For those who may not have heard of the damage caused to our vision by “the Age of Reason”, please read Theodore Adorno’s and Max Horkheimer’s 1944 classic, The Dialectics of the Enlightenment
. (For English speaking audiences, I recommend Edmund Jephcott’s translation. Stanford: Stanford UP, 2002) For those who have no time to read or to reflect upon how far we have gotten since the publication of that epic, I will offer a brief overview. The overview is a prerequisite to understanding how RCA Viktor’s medium becomes the message.
Theodore Adorno, Max Horkheimer, and their colleague, Herbert Marcuse, were the first thinkers to enlighten me to the contradictory effects of the Enlightenment: the movement that emerged roughly 350 years ago in order to put an end to humanity’s subservience to magic and mysticism. They argued that the instrument of our liberation – rational thought – is genetically defective. They looked at its effort to outsmart nature, and concluded that it suffers from a sleeping disorder. It works around the clock, puts in a full 7/24 shift and never takes a pause to refresh itself. As the day shift is splitting the atom, getting the pieces of pure science together, the night shift is already working on the logical deductions, the applications that would enable us to blow up “the good ship lollipop” a hundred times over.
The Frankfurt School of critical theorists argued, that Hitler was not a historical accident but a product of the Enlightenment, a product of the night-shift that went to work after David Hume and Immanuel Kant had fallen into bed out of exhaustion. Hitler was a systems man and not simply a housepainter who went mad. He didn’t rise to prominence in the industrial heartland of the modern world by accident, but by necessity. He showed the world how to implement Keynesian economics before Lord Keynes invented his General Theory. (For a summary of Keynes’s history making paradigm shift, read Paul A. Samuelson, “Lord Keynes and the General Theory”Econometrica
Vol. 14, No. 3 July, 1946, pp. 187-200). Hitler and his architects were pioneers of urban planning. His spin-doctors laid the foundations of Madison Avenue. Hitler was the father of space travel, Mussolini made the trains run on time in Italy. Communism epitomizes Rationalism – it not only had a vision, but a manifesto, a road-map to progress, where repression, exploitation, war and scarcity would be a thing of the past, where the State will not oppress but embrace humanity, before it retires from the scene altogether. The founders of Communism, the “day shift”, came on the scene for the purpose of putting an end to the illusion of happiness. Like Descartes, or Coca Cola, they wanted to give us the real thing.
The followers of Communism, Lenin and Stalin, took Russia out of the Tsarist fog that was built on religious servility, serfdom, kinship and got everybody to focus on the nitty-gritty: electrification and industrialization. The Bolsheviks put an end to the unruly and unseen hand of the market and established the world’s first planned economy. They eliminated inflation and unemployment and created affordable health care a hundred years before it occurred to US President Barack Obama. They took away religion, the opiate of the masses, and took out a new tool that sought to harness the energy of matter as it moves through time and space. And look what happened. After Marx went to bed, the night shift took over, and the trip became a nightmare. As Arthur Koestler showed, Marx’s followers brought us darkness at noon and shipped more innocent people to the Gulag to die than all the Tsars put together. To this day, convinced Bolsheviks are resolute: they blame capitalist encirclement, NATO, the false consciousness of the proletariat – which mass advertising produces – for forcing poor Stalin into using terror and repression against his better judgement. To those who are still willing to listen they have this to say: had they been greeted with an open arm by the West, instead of scorn and hostility, had their critics given them the benefit of the doubt, had Gorbachov been a bit more patient, the world would be a much better place than it is now. This rationalization is strikingly similar to the one utilized by the defenders of Vladimir Putin: if the EU and NATO had not poured into his backyard, he’d never have taken the Crimea, he’d still be a great friend inside the G7, someone any US President would gladly take along for some fly fishing in the Adirondacks. If our hawks hadn’t threatened Russia, we’d have international unity, less tension in the world, more common sense to harness against ISIS.
What the Bolsheviks’ and Putin’s apologists fail to realize, Adorno and Horkheimer would say is this: all predatory leaders, even Viktor Orbán of Hungary, are products of the “night shift” – they are the orphans who are holding the guns left behind by the day shift. Hungary’s ruling party FIDESZ actually defines itself as “the child of divorced parents”. (Please see György Petőcz’s excellent book that chronicles the rise to power of FIDESZ in Hungary. Csak a narancs volt: A Fidesz története Budapest
. Irodalom Kft. 2001.) What’s the game, what’s the defining attribute of these “orphans with a gun”? According to Paul Krugman, the American Nobel Laurate economist, it’s “affinity fraud”.
Here is the standard Wikipedia definition that Krugman has made famous, and which epitomizes the Orbán regime and its global sound-machine: “Affinity frauds prey upon members of identifiable groups, such as religious or ethnic communities, language minorities, the elderly, or professional groups. The fraudsters who promote affinity scams frequently are – or pretend to be – members of the group. They often enlist respected community or religious leaders from within the group to spread the word about the scheme, by convincing those people that a fraudulent investment is legitimate and worthwhile. These scams exploit the trust and friendship that exist in groups of people who have something in common. Because of the tight-knit structure of many groups, it can be difficult for regulators or law enforcement officials to detect an affinity scam. Victims often fail to notify authorities or pursue their legal remedies, and instead try to work things out within the group.”
This is particularly true where the fraudsters have used respected community or religious leaders to convince others to join the investment. (For Krugman’s usage, please read his numerous New York Times
columns on the subject). My own term for the type of fraud modern predatory regimes, like Viktor Orbán’s engage in is “love-fraud
”. It is less cerebral, less academic a term than “affinity fraud”. It is more down to earth, more easily grasped by ordinary mortals. Love fraud is what Dante was talking about in his Divine Comedy
as I had shown in the previous instalment of this series. It is the type of fraud that can be never forgotten.
Stalin used “affinity” with the proletariat to rob the entire population of Russia and then the people of Central and Eastern Europe, of their right to pursue justice, liberty and happiness. Hitler used his affinity with the Aryan race to eliminate 6 million Jews from the face of the earth and to launch a war that killed over a 100 million people around the world. Orbán decided to bank on affinity with the victims of Communism, as a way to endear himself with Hungary’s emigrés. He uses affinity with Conservatism, to endear himself to the Harper government and to disguise his hostility to the values that made Canada the envy of the world. These days, his ambassadors to the USA and Canada are using affinity with the victims of the Holocaust to deflect criticism about their boss’s close relationship with hate-mongers and his responsibility for the rise of racial intolerance in Hungary.
The results of Putin’s “affinity fraud” are well documented in Karen Dawisha’s recent bestseller. (Putin’s Kleptocracy
, op.cit.). The results of Orbán’s fraud is also known to Hungarian speaking audiences thanks to a three volume study by Bálint Magyar, or to writers such as József Debreczeni or Krisztína Ferenczy. What has not been documented until this series, was the language of affinity fraud, the medium and the messages, that facilitated the execution of this fraud within the gated community of the trans-Atlantic community, of which Canada is a respected member. The gap in our knowledge about this language is not due to an accident. It’s the product of a consciously chosen political strategy. Today, Hungary possesses the least transparent government in all of Europe.
(Please refer to Transparency International’s latest publication Lobbying in Europe. April 15, 2015). What’s noteworthy about the Transparency International report is its conclusion – Hungary’s last placing is not the product of chance but of conscious public policy choice. The absence of integrity in the sound-system is premeditated.
The Medium is the Message
Ever since the Canadian communications guru, Marshall McLuhan had coined his unforgettable phrase -– the medium is the message
– people have been scratching their heads about its meaning. (Marshall McLuhan,Understanding Media
. Op.cit) It sounded good, but what did it actually say? The answer is simple: Technology shapes how we think, the medium influences how the message is conceived: the form of the communication determines the content of the communication. According to McLuhan, “All media work us over completely. They are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical, and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered”. (ibid p. 26) The discovery of this simple truth is not actually McLuhan’s but that of his colleague, Harold Innis. Innis is the man, who in a series of pioneering studies, first unraveled the truth which Marshall McLuhan summarized in his unforgettable maxim. Innis is the man, who showed that “The effective government of large areas depends to a very important extent on the efficiency of communication.”
(Harold Innis. Empire and Communications
. Oxford: Oxford University Press 1951. pg.26. See also his The Bias of Communication
. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1951.)
Marshall McLuhan, Harold Innis and George Grant, the three Canadian wise men of communications studies, are the ones who provided the world with its first in depth look at the impact of communications technology on culture, nationhood, and ultimately on who we are as a people. They are the ones who first revealed to the world, that if we simply focus all our attention on the content of the messages that are coming out of our loud-speakers, we shall remain forever in the dark. They are the ones who taught me the lesson: if we want to understand and explain the messages directed towards us by those who are in positions of authority we must look at their medium of communication first. Understanding the medium is the key to understanding the message. A falsely wired medium will produce false messages. It was this lesson, that compelled me to take such a thorough and to some, irritatingly detailed look at the wiring of RCA Viktor’s boom-box in the previous instalment of this series.
It is Innis and the school of Canadian political economy that unwittingly led to the emergence of Information Economics, a branch of microeconomic theory. As the recipient of a doctorate in Political Economy from the London School of Economics I count myself among the members of this school of political economy. The founders of this economic school are the people who stood neoclassical economics on its head by declaring that the unseen hand of the market does not exist. They opened our eyes to the inherent value of information. They coined the phrase information asymmetry and showed what happens when an imbalance occurs between power and knowledge. One of their first representatives the late Karl Polányi, Hungary’s greatest political economist, showed us first (and again, in 1944) what could happen, when critical thinking – “the double movement” – about the unseen hand of the market, is arrested by those who man the pump of orthodoxy. (See Karl Polányi, The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time
, 2nd ed. Foreword by Joseph E. Stiglitz, Boston: Beacon Press, 2001). Before Polányi, before the advent of models of asymmetric information, economists assumed that markets were efficient except for some limited and well defined market failures. Before Innis, McLuhan and Grant, economists were also mesmerized by the message, and elected to focus on it rather than on the medium. Joseph E. Stiglitz, George A. Akerlof and A Michael Spence were awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 2001 for their destruction of the myth of the unseen hand and for enlightening us about the inefficiencies, the moral hazards, that occur when access to information is restricted, when the communications medium is preprogrammed to be biased. In part 4 of my study I reported that the RCA Viktor’s sound-system is asymmetrical, it suffers from an absence of systemic integrity. Its messages are distorted by 7 bias-settings that cannot be altered by the listener. It’s now finally time to trace the biases to their effects, its time to recognize that the medium is the message.
The Content of RCA Viktor’s Messages
For the elderly Hungarian emigrés living in Canada, the five most popular messages or exhortations to come out of RCA Viktor’s distorted speakers are these: love your country of origin, never forget the evils done to you by Communism, cultivate your Christian faith, preserve your Hungarian heritage (Magyarságtudat) and vote for those who bring you these messages. Harmony with the manufacturer is a common theme as is the need to silence or isolate anyone who criticizes the integrity of RCA Viktor’s sound-system An extraordinary amount of diplomatic effort, taxpayers money is poured into the legitimization of RCA Viktor’s medium and messages in Canada. The Harmony Ideology that drives this mobilization is one that the respected American Anthropologist. Laura Nader has clearly deconstructed decades ago as an instrument of fraud: “harmony ideology is a concerted assault on democracy… that always lends itself to covert censorship and self censorship… the tyranny of harmony, when pushed to the extreme, leads to a life of fantasy, that shuts out reality.” (Quoted in Chris Hedges, Empire of Illusion
, Alfred A. Knopf, 2009. p. 129.)
During the past 5 years, I have chronicled many of the fraudulent manifestations of RCA Viktor. (See for example the very detailed “Indictment” document that is available at this website: www.hungariancharter.com
). Numerous colleagues have documented the viciousness of the attacks against dissenters. Many have shown, that the merchandisers of affinity fraud, are often admired, religious leaders, with impeccable community credentials. The fraud is so far highly successful – 97% of those who have elected to participate in Hungary’s last national election in Canada, have voted for FIDESZ. These voters are utterly blind to the relationship between the medium and the message. They do not see the rule of law violations built into the medium, they do not recognize that the medium’s feedback mechanism is purposefully jammed, they do not understand the workings of the framing settings that shut out reality, they do not recognize the premeditated anti-objectivity of the device, its hostility to the rules of fair competition, or the moral hazards emitted by it. The listeners are mesmerized by the message, by the sound of the speakers. They choose their appliances by looks and sound, by the trustworthiness of the salesman and not by reference to the technical data, that shows, in a verifiable way, that the equipment is purposefully deceptive. A quotation by a well known Hungarian economist, who teaches at Oxford may be helpful: Adam Smith argued that the optimal allocation of resources can only come about through discourse and debate between citizens who are free, independent of the state, and committed to their societies’ well being….It is not the market, not capital, not self interest, but discourse and debate that drives the system, and leads to the creation of the aforementioned mechanisms. Self interest can only give rise to free markets and capital, if it is equally possible for all to pursue it …. Politics in Hungary today, is not about discourse between free and equal citizens – the goal of politics is not the establishment of equality, in the legal or economic sense of the term – but, as so often in the past, the establishment of preferential treatment for select groups under new slogans and symbols (Peter Róna, “In Dependency”, Népszabadság, November 20, 2010.)
As I have stated earlier, there is a newer version of this affinity fraud, that’s targeted specifically at the ruling Conservative Party of Canada. The Hungarian government is desperate to win the public approval of Harper’s government in order to remain a member in good standing within the TAC, and in order to benefit from the massive community subsidies that are the key to the Hungarian oligarchy’s ability to enrich itself. (I discussed RCA Viktor’s affinity towards Bay Street and to Conservatism in some detail in the third part of this series) Canada is an important bridgehead for RCA Viktor to Conservative markets. (In Asia and parts East of the EU, the publicly professed role models are Russia. Kazakstan, or China) RCA Viktor had lost considerable market position in the West, after such prominent Conservatives as John McCain, Nicolas Sarkozy, and even some members of his own EU caucus have spoken up against its false claim to fame. One of the leading foreign policy objectives of Viktor Orban is to secure something from Canada, that it has not been able to secure from any of his TAC colleagues. He wants to be invited to this country, to speak in our House of Commons and to be embraced as a respected family member.
This is the ultimate mission – the goal that His Master’s Voice, Ambassador Bálint Ódor must do everything in his power to attain. If he pulls off this mission impossible, RCA Viktor will cast him in bronze. If Canada’s Conservatives fall for such a ploy, they deserve the political condemnation that will justifiably fall out of such a travesty of justice.
Canadians and Americans didn’t give their lives in order to have their killers glorified on Toronto’s Dundas Street in 2015 by one of the highest ranking members of the Hungarian Prime Minister’s Office, Mr Sándor Szakály. It is appalling, that Canada’s current Defense Minister Jason Kenney is publicly celebrating a regime, that disguises its destruction of the fundamental values of this land, by pious messages that are premeditatedly false.
It is appalling, that a monument is being erected next to Canada’s House of Commons that’s financed in part by those, who are dedicated anti-Semites and fought on the side of those who are responsible for the murder of tens of millions in WWII. (For details please turn to my forthcoming article, “Heroes Day”). I have demonstrated in this series the incongruence between the values built into RCA Viktor’s sound system and those that hundreds of thousands of Canadians have died for in two World Wars. I challenge anyone to disprove or refute the factual evidence that was presented in this series.
Affinity with the victims of the Holocaust is the latest version of the “affinity fraud”, that the Orbán regime engages in via its sound-system in Canada. Once again, the fraud depends on the use of speakers who have built up a deep reservoir of trust and credibility, this time, within the Canadian Jewish community. These new speakers should reflect not upon my words of criticism but on the words of those who most people consider to be the truest, noblest defenders of those who lost their lives because of the fraud-artists who put “Arbeit Macht Frei”
above the gates of Hell in Auschwitz. Specifically, I would like to refer to Professor Randolph L. Braham of Columbia University, who is the undisputed global authority on Hungary’s role in the Holocaust and to the Hungarian Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laurate, Elie Wiesel. Both are gentlemen of impeccable reputation. Both refused the offer to be fooled. In 2014, a little over a year ago, Braham returned all the honours and decorations the Orbán regime bestowed upon him as a way of keeping him silent and supportive of the Orbán government’s duplicitous conduct. Canadians should listen to Braham, rather than to the Klezmer bands that Ambassador Bálint Ódor is trotting out in various parts of the country to demonstrate his sympathies and solidarity with the victims of the Holocaust. They should take their example from the British Actor’s and Writers’ Guilds, which categorically refused to be duped by Hungary’s Ambassador to Britain a few years earlier, via the same approach Bálint Ódor uses in Canada. Here is the message that comes from a medium, that is wired to tell the Truth: “I cannot remain silent, (about the Orbán regime’s) brazen drive to falsify history, especially since it was my destiny to work on the preservation of the historical record of the Holocaust. The history-cleansing campaign of the past few years calculated to whitewash the historical record of the Horthy era, including the changes in the constitution that “legalized” the sinister measures that were subsequently taken to absolve Hungary from the active role it had played in the destruction of close to 600,000 of its citizens of the Jewish faith, have left me, and I assume many others, stunned”.
According to Braham, the Orbán regime’s “cowardly attempt to detract attention from the Horthy regime’s involvement in the destruction of the Jews and to homogenize the Holocaust with the “suffering” of the Hungarians – a German occupation, as the record clearly shows, that was not only unopposed but generally applauded – leaves me no choice.”
(For the full text of Braham’s statement, see Hungarian Spectrum, January 26, 2014
Two years earlier, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel did the same thing as Braham: He too returned all of the awards the Hungarian State bestowed upon him earlier. He too was unwilling to be triggered to acquiesce and play along with the historical fraud currently under way in Ottawa, Montreal, and other Canadian cities. In an open letter addressed to Orbán’s right hand man, the Speaker of Hungary’s Parliament, László Kövér, Wiesel used the following words: “…it has become increasingly clear that Hungarian authorities are encouraging the whitewashing of tragic and criminal episodes in Hungary’s past, namely the wartime Hungarian government’s involvement in the deportation and murder of hundreds of thousands of its Jewish citizens….I do not wish to be associated in any way with such activities and hereby repudiate the Grand Cross Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary granted to me”
(Letter to the Speaker of the National Assembly, June 7, 2012
Prime Minister Harper, who is a trusted friend of the Canadian Jewish community, and of the State of Israel, and all Canadians, regardless of their political party affiliations should listen to Braham’s and Wiesel’s voices rather than to the falsely wired loudpeakers of RCA Viktor in Canada. They should listen to what McLuhan, Grant and Innis taught this country about the power of the medium, and to the decisive role it plays in messaging. Of all people, our elected representatives should choose their friend not on the basis of looks or sound but on the basis of their integrity. The challenge facing members of the trans-Atlantic community and Canadians is this: are we going to fall for the fraudulent language of love and harmony, espoused in public by the Orbán government?
Are we going to allow ourselves to be charmed by a voice that is purposefully modulated to rob us of our identity? Ultimately my aim with this article was to remind my Canadian friends of the importance of St Augustine’s teaching which appeared at the top of the first installment in this five part series of reflections on the language of political deception. We should not walk past ourselves, we should never forget who we are, and what made us the wonder of the world.
Ever since the publication of the Dialectic of the Enlightenment, Western social scientists, artists and commentators have been trying to pick up the pieces, trying to clear the dust from their eyes, trying to overcome the pessimism that Adorno, Horkheimer and Marcuse had created in the minds of those who believed that rationally driven collective action is the key to human progress. I happen to think, that three social scientists – Michel Foucault, John Rawls and Jürgen Habermas have found the handle of the pump that was discarded by Adorno and his friends. I have spent considerable time over the years extolling the virtues of these three innovators and the virtues of those who are engaged in the same pursuit in the world of Economics, or in the Arts.
There are still many, who are sceptical about our prospects of ever finding the handle that was buried by two elderly German philosophers in 1944. In the world of Pop culture Bob Dylan, the troubadour of the sixties was emphatic: “the pump don’t work ’cause the vandals took the handles”. Please listen to his words of popular wisdom in “Subterranean Homesick Blues”
or his take on Albert Einstein in “Desolation Row
” one of the tracks on his iconic album Highway 61 Revisited. I sympathize with Dylan’s sentiments, and with all those, who ended up on Desolation Row. I often revisit the residents and share a song or two with them.
And then there are those, who decided to use a different tool to get us out of the hole that Rationalism had gotten us into. This last group of thinkers exploited the crack that the soft spoken Scotsman, David Hume created in the “Wall of Reason” hundreds of years ago. Hume was interested in the psychological basis of human nature, and concluded that it was not rational thought but emotional desires that drive human nature. (See his A Treatise on Human Nature
. Start Classics Publications 2014) Some of his followers came up with a new tool, that eliminates the bumps in the road by positive thinking, by teaching us to pretend that the road we’re travelling on is flat. If we hit a bump, we should not make a fuss. The Black Knight in the iconic Monty Python
sketch is the best known parody of this mindset: when all of his body parts are cut off in a duel, and even his torso is half its former size, he’s still cheerfully asking for more, pretending that his dismemberment is nothing but a flesh wound. By now, many of the followers of NLP, and of “positive psychology”, have crossed over from the world of self-delusion into the world of political deception. It is these deceptive fly-by-night operators who engineered RCA Viktor’s sound-machine. Their work was the focus of my attention in this series of articles.
There was a time when our scientific tools told us that our planet was flat, and the sun revolved around it. For a while we were the centre of the Universe. Those who didn’t subscribe to this view were burnt at the stake as heretics. We travelled a long distance since the time the earth was flat, and we were the centre of the Universe. What is unusual about this long journey is, that it has taken us back to where we started from. The prophets of self-delusion, the followers of NLP, Positive Psychology, the Law of Attraction have reopened our damaged eyes and this is what they want us to see: „The earth turns on its orbit for you.The sun rises and sets for you..No matter who you thought you were, now you know the Truth of who You Really Are. You are the master of the Universe. You are the heir to the Kingdom. You are the perfection of Life. Feel good now. That’s the only thing you have to do.”
. Op.cit.pg 179 and 183.) We’ve come full circle. Alpha has met Omega.
As we look in front of us slightly bewildered, rubbing our eyes and wanting to ask – how did this all happen – we’re told to refrain from asking any tough questions. If we can’t see what’s in front of us, if we can’t believe our good fortune, we should resort to make-belief. Faith, gratitude and the silencing of sceptics is the recipe for bringing us into unity with God, the creator of History, whose sovereign function is now deeply embedded into Hungary’s new constitution. Instead of the separation of Church and State, a former Secretary of Hungary’s Young Communist League, Viktor Orbán, and a former high ranking KGB Officer, Vladimir Putin, have reunited Church and State in their part of the world.
By doing so, they succeeded to pull off the biggest affinity fraud of the 21st century. This article examined the extension of this fraud into Canada.
The fraudsters had argued that if we return their love and work with them at being happy, we shall be pulled free of the state of nature that Thomas Hobbes described as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”
(Please read hisLeviathan
and then go to the movies and see the film that bears the same title and is directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev.) Leviathan
, the movie, shows how far RCA Viktor’s role model, Vladimir Putin has taken Russia from the state of nature described by Thomas Hobbes. Zvyagintsev’s film describes the life that awaits citizens at the end of the line, in an illiberal state, and after the re-marriage of Church and State. Zvyagintsev describes his film
as a story of “love and tragedy… It deals with some of the most important social issues of contemporary Russia” (Variety
, March 21, 2014.) In fact, the film is archetypal: Leviathan, the movie, is about the archetypal city of Dis, whose mayor is not Roman Madyanov but Geryon. Leviathan is the story of the post-modern illiberal state under construction within the walls of the Trans-Atlantic community. Leviathan is the sequel to the story about love and tragedy, that led the Reverend Jim Jones and his Peoples’ Temple followers to their tragic final destination, deep in the jungles of Guyana. This series of articles on RCA Viktor’s sound-system was driven by the desire to avoid such a tragedy.