One of the great running subtexts in Hungarian politics is the question of whether Viktor Orbán may actually be a bit – or more than a bit – mentally unwell, with (for example) ongoing rumors that the country’s most powerful post-communist political figure regularly travels to Vienna for counselling.
Leading leftist daily Népszabadság recently added to the speculation with a psychological analysis of Orbán that suggests Orbán is suffering from a range of clinical disorders.
Authored by one Iván Mester, who is apparently an authority on the matter, the analysis claims that Orbán exhibits symptoms of paranoia, aggression, an inferiority complex and a sociopathic disorder.
In rather florid prose Mester paints a picture of an autocratic personality obsessed with power.
“He gets intoxicated by the plain false pathos of his own speeches, as well as from the sight of the homogenized and subjected mass audience and his contempt towards them. At these moments his mouth runs dry from excitement: a rare scene, but this is the moment of Orbán’s infantile rapture of power and joy, the only sincere and carefree moment in his life. The rest is toil, a struggle in the grip of his own character.”
Needless to say, all this is far from a formal diagnosis provided by an expert with access to the individual being assessed, but it is worth noting that this awkward topic is something many Hungarians continue to debate. Likewise, it is useful to remember Nietzsche’s observation that “in individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.”