Central European University, under relentless pressure by Hungary’s popular prime minister to get the hell out, is about to do so. It will probably move to Vienna. Lots of people are upset about it. Hungary’s only world-class university has been chased away by paranoid hyper-nationalist know-nothings.

UD proposes that this might be for the best. The ultimate provincial backwater and proud of it; known, if known at all, for its suicide rate, Hungary, like our own Mississippi, elects chauvinistic dolts and ejects the non-doltish. Mississippi and Hungary are hemorrhaging population, whereas Vienna – precisely the sort of place (despite its own rightish political leadership) to which intelligent Hungarians flee – is growing.

If it is the will of people that the places they call home dissolve into nothingnesses ruled by Ubus, if they want to be places outsiders visit to track the spread of wisteria over Faulkner’s manse, or get soused with the ghost of Gyula KrĂșdy in his favorite watering hole, eh. It’s their right; precisely because of their “shabby littleness,” these places threaten no one.

Hungarians are the west’s Sentinelese. Really best not to intervene. Sad but true.

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