Then, under the pretext of
negotiations (which never actually took place in the case of the CEU), the
whole matter is stalled until what's left of the opposition press loses interest
and the public gets used to the underlying arguments of the government
narrative (basic research is unnecessary, humanities are for liberals on the
leftist fringe, gender studies spread homosexuality and the government's
intervention isn't really much of a shift at all). After a few months, the
original plan is carried out under the guise of a compromise solution: Every
conciliatory step from the victim is used against her, the noise from the tired
press and the confused public grows ever quieter and the government presents
itself as being the solution to the conflict it generated in the first place. The fate of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the country's beholder of intellectual capital, appears to be sealed, because in the coming EU fiscal period support will primarily be available for innovation and research, and a directly controlled structure is necessary for Orbán to appropriate the funds.
The method was first tested in 2011 with Orbán’s media law, which practically ended freedom of the press in Hungary – not to mention the Hungarian press itself. A loud choir of independent media outlets immediately pointed out the legal subtleties, the purposefully underregulating rules, up for interpretation for loyal courts, which crippled press freedoms. The government accused the media of leftist malice and of unfounded accusations, cried for fair treatment and postured as the victim. The EU raised a long list of concerns, in response to which Hungary's leaders further hollowed out regulations and referred to a corresponding passage for each critical passage from the media laws of other EU member states. Eventually, the EU decided that it could do no more and became a silent onlooker to the perverse freakshow of the destruction of the Hungarian press, the silencing of dissent, the monopolization of public opinion and the dissemination of state-sponsored fake news.
The latest and one of the most cunning deployments of this so called "peacock dance," as Orbán likes to call it, began under the smoke screen of the CEU scandal in late 2018: the destruction of what was left of judicial independence in Hungary. Orbán is currently negotiating with the Council of Europe's Venice Commission about the wording of a law that would create a separate court for all legal cases pertaining to the government or the state. The Commission’s requirements will be met soon, just as they were in the case of the media law, resulting in a sufficiently hollow set of rules that allow for broad interpretation, combined with a few loyal appointees. The result will be the technical merger of two branches of government, essentially granting Orbán immunity for decades to come, even if not on paper. It is ironic that the European People’s Party – which has long acted as an Orbán enabler – along with its lead candidate Manfred Weber, are demanding that Central European University remain in a country that was able to destroy its legal status in just a single week in 2017 and which is now destroying judicial independence. Many want the CEU to stay, but the new legal construct is no guarantee, particularly given that Orbán has repeatedly insisted that it is the CEU itself that wants to leave. He continually stirs hatred and says the CEU should have obeyed the law retroactively. Instead of being governed by laws, Hungary is now ruled by a raw authoritative force under the guise of fake state institutions, puppet courts, a puppet parliament and legal-sounding gibberish.