Hungary, Part II: Reason for Hope

by David E. Shellenberger on May 27, 2012

In “Hungary, Part I: A Troubled Country,” we reviewed the threat to liberty represented by the country’s current government. Here, we discuss why there is cause for hope. (The views expressed in both parts of the article are strictly the author’s, except as otherwise reflected.)

Atlas Economic Research Foundation

In countries around the world, there are people who share the ideals of liberty. I have had the privilege of meeting many of them through supporting Atlas Economic Research Foundation (also known as the Atlas Network) and attending its events. Atlas “is a nonprofit organization connecting a global network of more than 400 free-market organizations in over 80 countries to the ideas and resources needed to advance the cause of liberty.” I have written about Atlas’s good work here, here, and here.

One of the people I met at the Atlas Liberty Forum and Freedom Dinner in New York City last November was Zoltán Kész of Hungary. We had a good discussion about Hungary and the need to restore its liberty.

I saw Mr. Kész again in April at the Atlas Experience event in Colorado Springs. As always, the program was informative and inspirational, and it was a pleasure to see old friends and make new ones.  Mr. Kész was among the new graduates of Atlas’s Think Tank MBA program who attended the event.  This month, he was named the first graduate of the Atlas Leadership Academy.

Zoltán Kész and the author at Atlas Experience 2012

Hungarian Free Market Foundation

Mr. Kész co-founded the Hungarian Free Market Foundation. He described his aspiration for a free and peaceful country in a presentation at the Atlas Experience event.  The foundation’s website for blogging is Kapitalizmus (Capitalism) [update on Oct. 8, 2012: blog subsequently moved here], and its main website is pending. [Update on March 15, 2013: main website is here.]

In the following edited interview with Mr. Kész, conducted by email, we learn more about him and the foundation.

What is your own background?

Originally I was a teacher. I have taught at both the high school and university level. I have also taught in the U.S. In 2000/01, I was a Fulbright teacher in California, where I taught American History.

What made you decide to launch the foundation?

I was inspired by several people in the past five years, including Tom Palmer, Lawrence Reed, and Tanja Štumberger. They were the ones who helped me believe that I can also make a change. In the past two decades, Hungary has seen democracy develop and work, but then we also saw how the country has sunk back to socialism and corruption.

What is the foundation’s mission?

Our mission is to represent, defend, and advance free market values, ideas, and policies in Hungary and among speakers of the Hungarian language.

You are planning an educational program to reach all the secondary schools in Hungary. How will this program work?

Hungarian high school and university students know very little about free market economics, individual rights, and responsibilities. We have the teaching material provided by the Free to Choose Network, and also we have lots of books and CDs that we can provide to students. We will visit as many schools as possible and give presentations about these topics.  Students will be shown that there are alternatives to the present economic policies.

What are your hopes for the future of Hungary?

My hopes are that people would be more responsible on both individual and societal levels. My dream is to see politicians come up with real programs and not only unfunded promises of redistribution of wealth. My country has a lot of potential. I would like it to be used sensibly. I would like to see my country getting rid of extreme nationalism and corruption and would like to see a return to the rule of law.

Helping Hungary

Mr. Kész has prepared a letter discussing the Hungarian Free Market Foundation’s plans, and seeking contributions. Donations made via Atlas, designated for the foundation, may be made either online or by mail:

Atlas Economic Research Foundation
Attn: Erin Grant
1201 L Street NW
Washington, DC 20005

I invite you to join me in making an investment in a better future for Hungary.

Previous post:

Next post: