The gluttony of the holidays marks not only the end of your capacity to feast more but also the end of the year. Your stocks I am sure are full of presents, and you want to catch up with your reading list. Lest you are too efficient and devour all your books here are a couple of recommendations for the next year.

Christmas

Classical liberals might not agree that the EU, the UK, and the US are capitalist places, given the mounting number of anti-business regulations and measures. On the other hand, critics of free markets need only look at the latest polls on what people want most for Christmas to frightfully barricade themselves against the hordes of money-thirsty capitalists behind the complete works of Marx and Co.

Paul Cézanne: The Artist's Father, Reading // Public domain

Europe has been built on the liberal values of democracy, rule of law, liberty, tolerance, and free markets. Yet it seems Europeans are forgetting what these values mean. “Know thyself” is a famous ancient Greek maxim, which Europeans do not seem to take to heart. A series of aggressive actions from Russia over the past decade were not enough for the EU to properly distance itself from Russian energy, until it invaded Ukraine.

The railway line between Budapest and the West-Hungarian town of Győr is being renovated to breathe new life into the struggling public railway system. Győr, incidentally my hometown, features two university buildings connected by a skybridge shaped like a railway car. As of recently, these few meters are the only reliable means of long-distance transportation that railcars can carry passengers in the country.

In a world where the pursuit of justice and the preservation of human rights are of utmost importance, Ukraine stands as a symbol of resilience and unwavering commitment to these principles. Through the lens of poetry, we invite writers and poets to contribute their voices to the ongoing dialogue surrounding Ukraine and human rights.

Connectivity has undeniably simplified life for people worldwide. However, the remarkable mechanisms behind this connectivity often go unnoticed as we simply enjoy its fruits. When talking to friends and family most do not know how exactly the Internet works. A study conducted in the US confirms this: 80% of respondents cannot explain how we get the Internet. It comes from the Wi-Fi, doesn’t it?

In the fifth installment of the popular Harry Potter books, Dolores Umbridge, the personification of government meddling in education, forbids professors in Hogwarts from disclosing anything beyond what is strictly pertinent to their lessons. One rebellious schoolkid, however, points out in Umbridge’s class that she cannot reprimand him for misbehaving during the lesson, as it is irrelevant to the subject. He gets detention.

cities

Human-centric cities are much more pleasant than the centrally planned monstrosities during communism, but it is not only people but the flora and fauna that can also be thankful for free markets and democracy. One of my favorite books as a little child was a story of Krtek, the beloved mole from the cartoons of Czech artist Zdeněk Miler. The story, written during communism, depicts how the little mole with his critter friends find themselves in the middle of a city development project.

Ivan Shishkin: Rye Fields // Public domain

Hungarians are eager to eradicate mosquitoes, but it seems that the government is reluctant to collaborate with its citizens in doing so. Mosquitoes are a big problem everywhere. Not only do they annoy people with their hums and the itchiness of their bites, but also spread a lot of diseases. Therefore, when I visited rural Hungary, I inadvertently served as an open buffet for a cloud of these pests while conversing with someone from a small Hungarian village.