Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban ties up a memorial ribbon to the former border gate during a ceremony marking the 25th anniversary of the beginning of the dismantling of the iron curtain between Hungary and Austria near the Memorial Park of Fertorakos, 208 kilometers west of Budapest, Hungary, 19 August 2014. (Szilard Koszticsak/EPA)
August 21

The Aug. 17 editorial against the Hungarian government led by Viktor Orban [“Illiberal Hungary”] was reminiscent of the “omniscient” and self-ordained critics who see the tiny speck of dust in their neighbor’s eye but fail to see the log in their own.

Fortunately, what “Hungarians know all too well” is that their government is succeeding in rebuilding their country from the disaster left by the previous eight-year reign of socialists. They also know that many love to hate them, including Americans, who don’t take marching orders from anyone. Other nations have the same right to innovate and try new policies, especially if they succeed.


Fireworks explode above River Danube with the building of the Hungarian Parliament in the background as part of celebrations of the national holiday in central Budapest, Hungary, 20 August 2014. This is one of the country's major national holidays when Hungarians commemorate the foundation of their state and its founder King St Stephen. (Zsolt Szigetvary/EPA)

Incidentally, labeling opponents as “thugs and charlatans” reflects only ignorance of the full picture. Anyone looking for “authoritarian nationalism” need not go back a century: Benjamin Netanyahu would be a perfect example for Viktor Orban to follow.


Hungarian President Janos Ader (C) gives his inaugural speech in front of the parliament building at the Kossuth square of Budapest on August 20, 2014 on Hungary's national day and the ceremony of the 1014th anniversary of the Hungarian state's establishment. (Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images)

Louis Kovacs, Ottawa