Hungary: Europe’s champion of conspiracy theories. These theories are gaining a lot of traction in enlightened, democratic societies. The phenomenon is finding many adherents in Europe, specifically Hungary, as political scientist Péter Krekó recently reported. He is an expert in this field and considered to be one of the most acknowledged political scientists in Europe. Moreover, he has been the director of the research institute Political Capital since 2011.
According to Deutsche Welle, Peter Kreko has been studying the phenomenon of conspiracy for years, but his researches’ intensity has been greater since the 2015 refugee crisis. Since then, conspiracy theories have become very influential in Hungarian politics, and politicians even established themselves as the main elements of government policy. That is clearly illustrated in the Hungarian opinion polling: 51% of residents are convinced that US investment billionaire George Soros has a plan to bring masses of refugees to Europe. His plan has been propagated in Hungary for years.
The political scientist added that this propaganda campaign in Hungary is still popular and a lot of people believe in “the Soros plan“. This theory has even found adherents among the country’s opposition parties. Another example is that Muslims have a secret plan to occupy Europe and slowly subject us to their culture.
According to the scientist, anti-semitism is also a problem in Hungary. We do not feel its impact in our everyday life, but it can appear anytime.
“There have been very few anti-Semitic attacks in the country. Still, I would like to point out one aspect of our polling: Anti-Muslim attitudes and the prevailing mood against Soros have given rise to an anti-Semitic wave in Hungary. We were indeed able to show a correlation between the two. That means that when a conspiracy theory spreads it also creates other, perhaps unintended hate narratives in its wake.” – said Péter Krekó.
The current media landscape in Hungary also makes great efforts to spread the propaganda in the country. Besides media, the political scientist believes that societal polarisation plays a significant role as well, but that is not a label for Hungary, because it is a general phenomenon on the old continent. He also emphasised the fact that societal polarisation is not a Hungarian problem in general. This means that, if we talk about conspiracy theories in Europe and Western countries outside the continent, Hungary is no exception.
“Hungary may stick out, but conspiracy theories are gaining traction all across the globe. That has a lot to do with the prevailing mood of the day, which shows how little trust people have in international institutions and how changes in our world lead people to believe the craziest theories about their causes. We are dealing with a global crisis of confidence.” – explained the scientist.
Péter Krekó also added that these conspiracy theories can be threats to minorities and can cause more confusion and conflicts in our everyday life too. Different kind of theories about vaccinations and the decreasing number of parents who do not have their children vaccinated is a good example.
The biggest problem is that Hungary made these theories part of the Hungarian government policies, and we do not have the opportunity to step back anymore, only by complex and time-consuming methods. The other problem is that it is easier to spread these theories than spreading doubts about them.
Featured image: MTI (www.facebook.com/kormanyzat)