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Fragile Fidesz: A Spooky Hypothetical (Techno-Managerial Class Intro)
Introduction to a three part series on the problems of institutional capture in the Information Age, and the role of the techno-managerial class within it.
Democratic legitimacy can be earned at the ballots by anyone, through popular demand, if the elections are fair and clean.
The Internet is not a democracy. It’s not even a fair place. Right and Left are measured differently, online.
One side feels like the whole place is hostile to them, by default, while the other throws a tantrum when one corner stops being explicitly subservient to their demands. Which is which? Unless you’re extremely delusional, you know the answer.
I’ll start with a spooky hypothetical to get an idea of the imbalance in online political power relations, as of the 2020s.
A way to slaughter Fidesz online (and IRL)
To see how easy it is to deliver a political punch in cyberspace to the Right, let’s take a look at how Facebook is run in Hungary!
Well, I can’t actually be bothered with researching the details. It feels like it’s done more pragmatically than it could be, that should suffice. Fidesz owned the opposition this last election (2022) on social media, by revving up activists and burning money boosting their message on Facebook and Youtube. They were provided an even playing field and finally started taking advantage of it.
Hungary is a tiny puddle; having a jannie team dedicated to moderate the Hungarian part of Facebook (if such team even exists) is a late addition.
Facebook could have hired half a dozen activists from a ruin pub to do the job, any time post-2010. They could have paid them pennies to be jannies, or nothing at all, there are enough willing volunteers to be found in Budapest. Had that ever happen (although it could always happen), Fidesz would be dead online.
Most people use Facebook over here. Twitter already showed that kicking the American president off their platform is perfectly fine. Erasing a whole political party of some far away colony from your privately owned (my broker disagrees though), walled garden must also be possible; if the incident gets any press coverage, it’s going to be overwhelmingly positive in Western media. Bad Orban was delivered a righteous blow by woke billionaire hero man/woman/POC/committee, yay.
Facebook would lose a few million bucks in ad revenue if they kicked the Hungarian Right off their platform, but by doing so, they could potentially change the election results. If not change it, significantly shift it. It’s not beyond the Deep State to burn millions of dollars on Hungarian political startups, as it was demonstrated this last election, so they could spend that money to compensate Facebook for this sacrificial meddling. It would be a better way to spend it than propping up IRL Hungarian lolcows, as the abysmal results this spring demonstrated.
Banning is not even necessary: tech giants could also screw with the Right in more covert ways, especially the Right of a small country: readily take the money from them, give them a bubble to exist, an illusion of presence, but don’t deliver their content to an outside audience. Shadowban them. Fuck with their impressions in a way that it fulfils the contract, but keeps their message contained. It’s all within the power of Facebook and Youtube, the two most popular platforms in Hungary, to do so. All they need is half a dozen Hungarian activists to oversee it.
Tweet, or, mastoode(?) the intent to hire some anarchists to play gods on the Hungarian part of your social media empire, and the line of volunteers would stretch from Selfie Square to the Budapest BLM Statue within an hour.
Facebook wants a team of Hungarian fact-checkers, to put the fear into millions of little people, so far left to run wild on their platform without policing? There’s an eager startup already, they would 100% accept the job (office, really, these kind of people see themselves as officers), with a vengeance.
Fidesz is extremely dependant this way, completely at the mercy of Silicon Valley giants. The current status quo (effectively a neutral peace) is merely due to an oversight caused by the insignificance of our market to a global entity. They are in a fortunate limbo, and if they were ever aware of how lucky they have had it, the recent successes on the social media front made them forget how exposed to the idiosyncrasies of uncontrollable entities they actually are.
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In 2019 I thought Fidesz’s days on these platforms were numbered, that by the next elections (in 2022), the ideological kill switches will be pulled in favor of their West-worshipping, colonial opposition. I was wrong, Orban is still allowed to play on their field, but every day is just one more day of a finite grace period that will eventually have to come to an end. The Glacier flows only one way, and that way is the uncompromising erasure of any opponent to Hegemonic Liberalism. This oversight will have to be corrected, and will be corrected, sooner than later. Orban is waving his hands non-stop to get the attention of the tech giants’ snipers: make Hungary more prominent in Western politics, and you make it bubble up to a higher position among the bug tickets to be solved.
Tackling the issue
What could Fidesz do in retaliation, should they be banned from these platforms? Ban the platforms themselves from operating in Hungary? We’re not North Korea.
Launch Orban’s version of Truth Social? As if Trump’s version is a success. Build your own is out of the question.
Maybe buy your own platform? Sure, see how well it’s going for Elon Musk. To be fair, it’s still going on for him, so we don’t yet know how the Twitter takeover will come to a rest, but it doesn’t seem like a cakewalk. (Will be covered in Part 1.)
Takeover, generally, is an issue; dealing with global tech giants is a near impossibility, so I kept this gloomy but necessary part in this separate, introductory post, just to emphasize the tech field’s overall importance on IRL politics. The rest of the series will focus on realistic targets, achievable goals.
Tech is a major Fidesz fragility, and this shortcoming is not treated by them with the respect it deserves. (Part 2.) They’re completely unaware, severely lacking the understanding needed to develop the proper humility it takes to tackle this existential problem. A crisis looms in their near future, and no one talks about it. (Part 1, 2 and 3.)
So this series is born, in which I will cover the attitude of Fidesz and the broader Western world’s political struggle relating to institutional capture in the Information Age and the role of the underappreciated (both as an ally and as an enemy) techno-managerial class within this conflict. These patterns are universally applicable to all sides considered, Right and Left, owners and techies, in Hungary and abroad, as you will see.
These will be the first posts behind a paywall, but don’t worry, only the political/technical advice parts will be cut off from free subscribers, most of the story will be presented to the public as coherently as possible.
This will be the disclaimer before the cut off point:
Years ago I promised myself that I will never give political advice for free. Now Substack allows me to make good on this promise. There’s way too much money, even in Hungarian politics, and I gave away way too many memes for free. I love it when they show up here and there, in both social and traditional media, but enough is enough.
Giving away stuff somehow earns you less respect than charging for it: people happily take free stuff, but instead of gratitude, their subconscious tells them that you’re a sucker, so they won’t even credit you afterwards. This ends, here.
It’s an exercise in mutual respect, and a cheap one at that.
There will be Musk, technocrats, Spice Girls, hacking, personal anecdotes and most importantly, in the end, proposed solutions.
As always, please
Part 1 is out: Fragile Fidesz: Spice Girl Control (Techno-Managerial Class 1/3)