Friday, June 27, 2008

A Few Observations

My wife and I went to Budapest's Museum Night last week. Budapexan has the report.

A few observations:

1. If you are going to organize a city-wide event, you need to make sure all of the materials you print for it have correct information. Sure, typos happen, but big mistakes in information shouldn't happen. That's why you use proof-readers.

2. Modern art is crap. Sorry if you disagree. I must not be cerebral nor cultured enough to appreciate it. But, on the other hand, I teach both chemistry and physics and know the difference between Pavarati, Paganini, and Pucini.

So, modern art is crap. That said, there were two pieces that I liked. One was a joke, very funny, and entertaining. The other one actually could have been very nice in a home. The rest of it should have never been in a museum.

3. We also visited the Terror House. If you don't know what that is, it was the headquaters of the secret police during communist rule in Hungary. Esentially, it was one of those places you never wanted to see the inside of because you would probably never see the outside again. It has now been renovated to serve as a museum depicting the horrors of living under communism. It was very well done and I would like to go back again some day. The secret, underground torture rooms and execution chambers are still in their original state and are very grim. So, what did I take away?

Well, how did Hungary fall into communism? After WWII, the people actually voted for a democratic government, but because too much power had been given to too few, the people were powerless to determine what type of government they would get. Observation: power should be distributed as much as possible and we should we very careful of letting government take power from the people.

Also, we must protect free speech. That includes the speach we don't like. Because, someday, someone may not like our free speech. Government should not be allowed to regulate political speech, ever.

Last, we must protect political dissent. When we don't like someone's ideas, we should discuss the situation, not call for their silencing. This, superficially, may seem very similar to what I already mentioned, but its not. The above talks about the expression of political ideas. Here, I am talking about the holding of ideas.

For those of you who have never visited a former communist country, let me explain. In George Orwell's 1984, merely having ideas against the state was a crime. It was called thoughtcrime. Now, in free countries, we read that and say, "how absurd that would be." But, what we don't understand is that it actually happened. Orwell didn't write entertaining fiction. He wrote informed fiction. Communist countries didn't merely aim to control the economy, but rather the very thoughts of its people.

And we, as free people, need to take this lessons to heart.

2 comments:

Michelle said...

What information wasn't correct about the Museum night? I can't remember.

Justin Unbounded said...

The buses ran until 2 AM, not midnight as listed. Also, the main busline had an extra 4 or 5 stops that we not listed on the schedule. This seemed like a big deal to me as people rely on that sort of information.