Last month, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán gave a speech in Tusnádfürdő. These remarks, delivered annually in Transylvania, lay out how he sees the world and Hungary’s role in it. Orbán’s speeches in Transylvania often generate significant media attention, as happened in 2014 with his infamous speech on “illiberal democracy.” His views this year made even bigger waves and showed that the corporate media uses every opportunity to discredit him by dropping quotes out of context to punish him for pointing out the hard truth: in both Europe and the United States, we face existential challenges that can have a devastating impact on future generations if we fail to act wisely.
In his speech, Mr. Orbán identified four main threats to Western civilization that conservatives should take seriously: population decline, migration, the increasingly militant gender ideology, and the ongoing war in Ukraine. These are issues that are equally relevant on both sides of the pond.
Unless we put an effort into reversing worrying demographic trends, we will not be able to preserve our cultural identity and traditions for future generations. Prime Minister Orbán, a pious Christian himself, often stresses that all human beings are created in the image of God, and are therefore equal. At the same time, different people have different ways to live their lives and organize their societies, making us equal, but not the same—a key nuance that most media outlets failed to acknowledge in their slipshod reporting of the prime minister’s speech.
If we cherish Western civilization, including our culture, traditions, and identity, we necessarily first have to sustain ourselves and ensure that, as a society, we live with people who share largely similar views on the fundamental questions of coexistence.
The solution therefore is not mass migration, but something the Orbán government has been doing since 2010: shaping demographic trends by strengthening the traditional family model, protecting the institution of the family, and encouraging people to have more children through financial incentives and property subsidies. The results speak for themselves: in the past 12 years, birth rates increased significantly, the number of marriages almost doubled, fewer marriages end in divorce, and the number of abortions even decreased by nearly 50% without changing any abortion-specific laws or regulations.
We believe that the traditional family model is essential for the stability of our society; therefore, the family has to be protected by the state, too. The ever-increasing assertiveness of gender ideology, which is now rather salient in the United States, tries to undermine this. Gender ideology propagates beliefs that can easily confuse children and lead them astray. In line with Hungary’s constitution, we believe that the father is a man, the mother is a woman, and marriage is a voluntary union between a man and a woman. Children’s sexual education belongs primarily to their parents; NGOs and other opaque, unaccountable lobby groups should not interfere without parents’ express consent.
The fourth major challenge identified by Prime Minister Orbán was the war in our neighboring country, Ukraine, which has a rather gloomy outlook. By now, more and more experts, thought leaders, and politicians agree with Hungary’s initial position that the longer this war lasts, the worse it is for us—and also for Ukraine. No one has disputed that Russia’s aggression toward a sovereign state is unacceptable, but it has also become clear that the West miscalculated in its coordinated response—it lacked a strategic vision, pragmatism, and leadership. The pro-war declarations and policies of Western politicians, as well as the EU’s misguided sanctions regime, have contributed to the prolonging of the war and the difficult economic situation we now find ourselves in. We should stop with the pipe dreams, call for a ceasefire, begin direct negotiations, encourage the U.S. to engage in discussions with Russia, and stop risking the lives of innocent people by further escalating the conflict.
The importance of leadership, wisdom, and responsible decisions cannot be overstated in such difficult times. We are facing consequential threats that can have a long-term impact not only on our individual lives, but on the future of the West as a whole. It is therefore more important than ever for American and European conservatives to join forces, raise our voices, ignore the liberal media’s name-calling, stand up for the values we share, and put the interest and the the future of our nations first. If this is what a 21st-century rebellion looks like, then we should proudly accept the label.
Balázs Orbán is a member of the Hungarian Parliament and political director for Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (to whom he is unrelated).
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.