For as long as I can remember, I’ve heard of these people called “European socialists”. Until the last few years, I had always thought the claims were overblown. Then, I traveled to the UK, where they have political parties that unashamedly have “Socialist” and “Communist” in their party’s name and platform! I met far more people who were vocally anti-capitalist than I did who were in favor of free markets. Combine this atmosphere with the seemingly pro-market vote of Brexit in 2016, and it’s tough to say where the fate of freedom will lead in the UK.

By contrast, the fate of freedom in Hungary is clear: they’ve actually lived through Communism and they’re not fans of it, at all.

I didn’t attend, but I saw flyers for an anti-Putin, pro-freedom rally. Vladimir Putin, the leader of Russia, has been trying to increase Russian influence in Hungary. Clearly, these people value their freedoms of speech and markets.

I believe the following are some indications that freedom is on the rise in Hungary. Most of the rest of Europe should take note, learn from Hungary’s past, and turn away from socialism as quickly as possible.

(Red Ruin pic 1 of 10) Very close to my accommodation in Budapest was a cool bar called Red Ruin. It has anti-Communist artwork all over the bar. Sometimes the artwork was poking fun of Communist leaders, sometimes the artwork was more serious and thought-provoking.

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(Red Ruin pic 3 of 10) If ever there was a diagram that simplifies life under Communism, this is it.

(Red Ruin pic 4 of 10) On the left, you can see Ferenc Puskás, one of the greatest soccer players in Hungarian history. Notice that Stalin is giving him a red card (in soccer, that means you’re ejected from the game). Puskás openly voiced support for the 1956 Hungarian anti-Soviet revolution and defected to Spain. Unfortunately, the revolution was unsuccessful. After about two weeks, the Soviets had rolled in with tanks, slaughtered 2,500 Hungarians, and the uprising was squashed for another few decades.

(Red Ruin pic 5 of 10)

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(Red Ruin pic 7 of 10) “Chairman Meow”. This sign pokes fun at Chairman Mao, a man who’s responsible for up to 70 million deaths through starvation, prison labour, and executions in Communist China.

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(Red Ruin pic 9 of 10) In my opinion, this artwork is the most powerful in the bar. Click on this picture to expand it and read the things that are coming out of his briefcase that says “Communism” on it.

(Red Ruin pic 10 of 10) A parody of the famous painting “The Last Supper”. Karl Marx, the founder of Communism, is in the middle.

While in the market, I saw many vendors selling these Russian dolls. Many of them were political. Inside of Barrack Obama was George W. Bush, which makes sense because Obama continued and expanded most of Bush’s politics.

Inside of Saddam Hussein was Osama bin Laden. Inside of Muammar Gaddafi was… a smaller Muammar Gaddafi (OK, I guess they don’t all make sense).

A bust of Ronald Reagan in a park.

A bus of Winston Churchill in a park.

This monument was put there by the Soviets. There was a big fight over whether they should keep it in remembrance of the lives lost to Communism, or get rid of it because it reminds people of Communism. They chose to keep it, but… (continued with the next pic)

…(continued from the last pic) they decided to put a life-sized statue of Ronald Reagan behind the Soviet monument. The symbolism is that Reagan is watching the Soviets from behind – if they make a threatening move towards Hungary again, it’s hoped that the US will come to their defense.

Lastly, I made a couple of encouraging, political contributions to Hungary by writing some graffiti at Szimpla Bar – the largest, craziest, best bar in Budapest (don’t worry, they allow graffiti in the bar). My words are on the right: “Do your best to help create a more peaceful world.”

… and one more time. I climbed up on a table, reached as high as I could, and wrote: “Do your best to help create a more peaceful world.”