Hungarians

I have a billion prejudices and their number grows weekly with every new experience. Unless you are completely incapable of learning, your prejudices are growing too, with age and experience. One of the first counter-intuitive experiences you are warned against is running into the street chasing a ball. Failure to learn that results frequently in squealing tires and the appalling hurt of a full body slam into the hood of a car. Prejudices are good. They can keep you alive. Remember that the next time someone tells you that you need jail time or therapy for distrusting Gypsies.

You are taught that prejudices are wrong. On the contrary, prejudices tell you that an area of town is risky, that the date you are with is psycho, that your boss is probably inept, that this situation is not for you. Every cell in your body exercises exquisitely accurate discrimminations against foreign substances trying to get past your cell membranes. Prejudices are just the mental equivalent of semi-permeable cell-membranes at the physical level. Too open, you die of infection. Too closed, you turn into North Korea.

Of all the prejudices against which you are warned, and which bring down official state penalties, is racial prejudice, and its more narrowly targeted sister, ethnic prejudice. Thus at various times in the past I have listened with amusement  to Cree and Ojibway Indians trashing the Mohawks, and the Mohawks trashing the Cree, like Prussians talking about Poles. Yet learning from experience is how we navigate through a world of possibly deadly risks, enemies, and psychos.

Well I have another prejudice to confess. Hungarians (Magyar). I have met Catholic Hungarians, Jewish Hungarians, and even Protestant Hungarians. I have not yet met stupid Hungarians. Think of the contributions of Hungarians to physics and mathematics: John von Neumann, Edward Teller, Eugene Wigner, Leo Szilard and the rest. Their contributions have been as powerful and as important as those of the Germans, excluding perhaps Einstein. Not bad for an ethnic group that numbers about 4-6 million people. Or think of the Canadians of Hungarian origin. Robert Lantos started serious television and movie production in Canada, while George Jonas provides great wisdom in the pages of the Post. Keep your eye for Hungarians. You could learn much by observing them.

Now we learn that the founder and creator of Bitcoin, the revolutionary currency that is not controlled by state printing presses, is of Hungarian origin:Nick Szabo. He blogs here, rarely but well.

I suggest you watch Magyars in a spirit of admiration. As the Germans say of them, they are the only people who go into a revolving door behind you and come out ahead of you. Be aware of your favourable prejudices, and act on them.

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