Máté Hajba is the director of the Free Market Foundation in Hungary, which recently co-hosted Europe Liberty Forum 2017 with Atlas Network in Budapest.
Hungary’s history is marred by oppression and terrors of regimes which had no respect for human life, human nature, and liberty. But because of their ignorance of human nature with liberty deeply ingrained in it, these collectivist dictatorships could never attain their true goals and could never and will never manage to take total control over individuals.
After Russia, Hungary was the first state to adopt communism. The Hungarian Soviet Republic lasted from March 21, 1919, to August 1 of that same year. Albeit short lived, it caused much suffering, and there were revolutions even during those couple of months to get rid of the so-called red terror. During such an uprising the commander of a battalion in a town disarmed his people, who voluntarily gave up their weapons to support the anti-communists efforts. The revolution failed, and the commander – who was already in the bad books of the communists because of his moderate wealth – was arrested and constantly beaten to unconsciousness. He recounts his story near the end of the communist regime:
“It seemed the terror group had also foreseen the future, as they did not dare execute the death sentence. This is also supported by their putting us onto a train towards a higher authority in Zalaegerszeg. On the middle of the tracks near Ukk the train stopped and about 160 of us were round up. Dandi (a communist leader) spoke to us, saying that he will set everyone free if they kill me and my friend. It was a deeply shocking situation. It would have taken only one man – fearing his own life – to come at us, most probably inciting the others to do so as well. But everyone stood there resolutely, thus the humanity in the people put an end to the plan of Dandi to mask his terror as the anger of the people. He was given a lesson that not everyone will collaborate…”
I am extremely grateful to these brave people who stood up to the communists despite them being workers and peasants and the man they were supposed to kill being part of the bourgeoisie. The communists never realize that it is not classes, but the will of the individual that matters. And I am glad, because but for these brave individuals, I would have never been born: the man they spared was my great-grandfather.
We must never forget, however, that there are those few, vocal people – who disregard the wills of individuals – and we must be eternally vigilant to stop them by promoting freedom and liberty. I am deeply thankful for everyone’s efforts, who relentlessly work for an even better world. Whether you are a donor, an organizer, a scholar, an activist and influencer or you just take an active interest, because of you there will always be those who dare stand up to authoritarianism and save lives. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for making the effort and taking your time to help people exercise their free will!