At the Tranzit Festival, the Prime Minister said there is a culture, the basis of which is a language that no one – other than those who were born Hungarian – understands or is able to maintain.
That which we were born into – the Hungarian language, Hungarian culture and with it the history of the Hungarian statehood of at least 1,100 years as well as the opportunity of our children becoming Hungarian for many more thousands of years – will not disappear in a single eventuality: if we sustain it, he explained.
If people are born and grow up in Hungary who believe that it is good to be Hungarian, one; it is fantastic, two; it is exceptional, three; it is something that a duty stems from that is good to perform – it is good to serve the country –, four; there will be many of us, he stated.
Mr Orbán also said liberal democratic forces – also internationally – are still way ahead of the conservative democratic forces in the attractive mediated phrasing of political topics and the development of linguistic frameworks.
We should make up for this disadvantage, except the problem is that there is a vast advantage on the other side; only in Hungary is there a stable majority on the conservative side, the Prime Minister added.
The two thirds continue to stand erect like a shaft, and you cannot even see the end of it, the Prime Minister stated.
At the beginning of the interview, the host recalled that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had last been to Tranzit in 2012 where he had said – under similar economic circumstances – that “the two thirds continue to stand erect like a shaft.”
“Not only has it stood erect like a shaft ever since. What is truly important is that you can’t even see the end of it,” Mr Orbán said answering the question of whether this was still the case.
Recalling post-Compromise 20th century Hungarian politics, the Prime Minister said following from Hungary’s geography, history and size, it is a constant historical phenomenon that in every era, sooner or later, a major national governing party comes into being. In his view, this would also have been so after World War II because if in a concerted effort the Soviet Union and the communists had not eliminated party democracy in Hungary, then the small holders would have settled in for an extended period the same way.
He also drew attention to the fact that this is a European phenomenon, and so the Hungarians have nothing to be ashamed of. There is no need to find excuses for the fact that politics is such in Hungary that from time to time major national parties come into being which receive multiple mandates in elections over an extended period.
He likened the difference between the government parties and the Left to the difference between professional and amateur football: in an amateur team, everyone runs to where the ball is, while professionals run to the spot where the ball will be. He added that between the incumbent governing party and the opposition, there is “a difference in perspective;” the opposition parties “pounce on one issue or another, pecking at it like a duck” and “wreak havoc,” while the present “large national governing party” has perspectives in the short, medium and long terms, and has a tactic and a strategy.
At the same time, he continued, one should observe not only the state the Hungarian Left is in today, but also who is behind them. He stressed that there are large financial groups with clear intentions with respect to the world, Europe and Hungary in it which keep looking for agents; they find them in the Hungarian Left. They are the “big dogs,” he said, who “don’t normally crash into each other pack style.” “Uncle George Soros doesn’t collide with Facebook, there is no such accident on that side,” he observed.
“And in this sense, if I compare the balance of forces in this international environment, they are Goliath and we are David. We have recently knocked them hard on the head four times, and we’d like to keep this custom of ours up,” he said.
Regarding the campaign financing of the previous election, he said there is no doubt that the other side had a media and financial position several times more dominant than ours. He added that if he were to also include the fact that they had developed a semantic framework around Hungary with which they tried to exert pressure, resources on the opposition’s side were “inestimably, several times more significant than on our side.”
Mr Orbán pointed out the first thing that young people must clarify is whether they believe that they have a country of their own or they just live in the wide world, in the West, in Europe, in attractive forms of civilisation, and it has no great significance that they are Hungarians. Do we look upon ourselves as having become Hungarians merely through a biological accident, or in such a way that by having been born as something, we were placed into a situation, a context, a flow?
If we are in that flow, we must understand it and answer the question of whether it is good to be in the Hungarian flow, and whether any duty or task stems from that fact. Once you have clarified this, you will have planted your feet firmly on the ground, and you can talk about gathering together those “akin to you” in order to have a good and large national army in an intellectual and political sense.
Every generation and every single individual would do well to clarify this for themselves, the Prime Minister underlined, adding that one can relate to the answer in different ways: some with pathos, adopting a posture clicking their heels, while others lightly, with a sense of humour.
We can be Hungarians in many different ways; the question is whether we know about each other that we are the ones who know that being Hungarian is not a mere accident, but a task and a mission, probably the world’s most beautiful mission, he pointed out.
There is a culture, the basis of which is a language which no one, other than those who were born Hungarian, understands and is able to sustain; “for all they care, it can disappear.” That which we were born into – the Hungarian language, Hungarian culture and with it the history of the Hungarian statehood of at least 1,100 years as well as the opportunity of our children becoming Hungarian for many more thousands of years – will not disappear in a single eventuality: if we sustain it, he explained.
He highlighted that there is a territory, the Carpathian Basin which, similar to a heart, sometimes contracts, sometimes relaxes – at this time, we are in the contracting phase – which we cultivate, which we settled in 1,100 years ago. One has a duty to one’s own piece of land, to one’s garden, he laid down.
If people are born and grow up in Hungary who believe that it is good to be Hungarian, it is fantastic, it is exceptional and a duty stems from it which is good to perform – it is good to serve one’s country – there will be many of us, and “the shaft will stand erect not only for 11 years” but for much longer, he said.
In answer to a question likening the earlier communists to the present western mainstream, Mr Orbán also said at first sight the worlds of the liberals and the communists are very far apart. At the same time, after the collapse of a communist regime, many of the communists become liberals, despite the fact that this was previously seen as inconceivable.
The Prime Minister designated the dividing line in understanding man; what is the essence of man, what makes a human being a human being? On these issues, there are similarities, he pointed out, adding that in today’s world the liberals and the Left siding with them firmly claim that in life there is a single important thing which is nothing other than “you yourself.” Your freedom, your welfare, your time, your way of life, that’s the only thing that counts, and this has a large political camp in the western world, he explained.
There is another concept of man – that is the other camp, the right-wing, conservative camp – which holds that we are in this world in order to be happy, but there are some things in life which are more important than ourselves. Among these he mentioned family, country, God and the relationship with God.
If these are more important than ‘myself,’ then one must find an answer to the question of how one wants to serve them, he said, underlining that an entirely different line of politics follows from this.
This dividing line is of an anthropological nature, not ideological, not political, Mr Orbán said.
The Prime Minister said on the conservative side there are two schools of political forces. One of them assembles thoughts about the things that are more important than the individual on the basis of rational answers. The other school – the Christian democratic – holds that there are sacred things which life or our enemies want to turn into the profane, and this must be prevented at any cost.
On both sides of the map, one finds extremely diverse worlds, but the answers given to the questions of human existence and to political questions converge on both the right and the left, he said in summary, adding that it is still topical to talk about opposition between left and right, progressive-liberal and conservative forces.
He recalled that after 1990 the liberals had “occupied all institutions” very swiftly, and had developed the linguistic framework for describing what was happening in their favour. It was then that they invented the notion that democracy is necessarily liberal, he observed, adding that earlier other types of democracies were also allowed to exist; today, this is forbidden, there is only liberal democracy.
They reached a hegemonic position in the use of public discourse, language and the means necessary for shaping thoughts. The conservatives “were just happy that communism was over and one could finally live in freedom.” Before they realised, the other side had long since organised itself both internationally and at home, and ever since there has been a disadvantage of a good ten years which they are unable to make up for, he said.
Liberal democratic forces – also internationally – are still way ahead of the conservative democratic forces in the “attractive mediated phrasing” of political topics and the development of linguistic frameworks.
We should make up for this disadvantage, except the problem is that there is a vast advantage on the other side; only in Hungary is there a stable majority on the conservative side, the Prime Minister added, underlining that they are at a disadvantage internationally both in terms of size and quality. This is not necessarily true of Hungary, he continued; in Hungary “the Hungarian Left runs to where the ball is, something which doesn’t require much brain capacity.”
He also said in Europe we are observing a battle between the concept of nation states and the imperial concept, and we Hungarians have a chance for a good life in a Europe comprised of sovereign states.
The Prime Minister said as the Roman Empire was toppled not by another empire, but by various tribes, Europe necessarily consists of nations, but it has always had the memory of the Roman Empire, the desire for cooperation.
While the existence of nation states is important for the Hungarian people, the Left wants an imperial order. Both lines of thought form part of the European tradition, and as long as they are in balance, the European machinery works quite well.
According to Mr Orbán, while Britain was part of the European Union, they together with the Central European nation states represented the nation state concept with more or less the same weight as the French-German axis represented the imperial one. As soon as the British left, there appeared “things cleverly wrapped the Anglo-Saxon way, made out to be positive,” presented in the disguise of European unity, but in actual fact continually undermining important elements of the sovereignty of nation states.
We must fight against this, and “if we’re unable to protect ourselves within the European institutions, we will be in trouble.” What is at stake in next year’s European Parliament elections is “taking over the scene of the battle in Brussels,” Mr Orbán said.
Mr Orbán took the view that the largest European right-wing alliance is not fulfilling its mission of fighting against the building of an empire and standing up for the nation states and national independence. “It ducks the job,” and instead of building and offering the European people another alternative to the building of an empire, it continually cooperates, forms a coalition with, adopts and accepts topics, descriptions, language and linguistic frameworks created and identified by the Left, he said.
He added that this is why we must try to induce the moderate Right to finally stand up for its own values, rather than seeking cooperation with the Left. The Right is not flawless, “over here, too, there are things to find fault with, and naturally, not everyone makes the grade of presentability,” yet, we must cooperate, he said.
The question of next year’s elections is whether that right-wing unity is forged, and if so, whether it obtains a majority against the Left.
In Mr Orbán’s opinion, there is no internationally competitive, properly organised conservative force because the opponent cleverly exploits the advantage it had previously obtained, and regrettably, we internationally organised conservatives are not talented and persevering enough, we are not putting enough effort into working that disadvantage off.
In his view, the Hungarian Right was lucky. He said for victory you need two things: you have to be good and you need an opponent who is not. “We have completed an inordinate amount of work,” but for a stable, long-term and strong majority we also need the Left. “We were very lucky with our rivals, the Lord has repaid us for the forty years that were taken away from us,” the Prime Minister added.
In answer to a question about the war in Ukraine, he said hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives, and so stopping the war is the ultimate priority. However, this cannot be achieved the way suggested by the liberal community, meaning that you cannot begin with the formulation of a peace plan, he said in continuation. We need a ceasefire first, he pointed out. After that there will be time for the formulation of a peace plan.
The Prime Minister said the globalisation of the war was a mistake, pointing out that it should have been localised. However, Hungary was the only country that stood for this position.
He also said the West’s strategy is not working; meaning that the Ukrainians are fighting and are sacrificing their lives, “while we are providing money, information and arms.” He said Russia cannot be defeated with this strategy, but there is no new strategy.
We, too, are paying an enormous price for the strategic planning mistake, he pointed out. Europe is supporting Ukraine with enormous sums of money, despite the fact that we would need every penny to preserve the EU’s competitiveness, he said.
There is a plan for Hungary becoming rich, strong and respectable, the Prime Minister said.
He added that the plan had existed already in 2010, and the country was heading in the direction laid out in that plan. The plan continues to work, but will take another ten years to complete, he said. The majority of the country is taking part in the implementation of the plan; we have become stronger because while in 2010 only 3.6 million people had jobs, today as many as 4.8 million do.
He also said the plan must be continuously updated; for instance, we must not allow ourselves to be detached from the eastern economies, from Russian energy sources and from the eastern markets. We must fight for maintaining these relations every single day, but we are doing so as part of a bigger plan, he stressed.
The Prime Minister also said the Hungarian people have strengths that can be converted into success. These include, among others, our unique culture, identity and language. He described the Hungarian people as creative and quick-witted.
He said for the Hungarian people with a statehood of a thousand years, ‘nation’ has a different meaning than it has for the Germans who were not united until the 19th century, and this is in his view an enormous competitive advantage for us.
He also said for him politics is the capacity for collective action. If this is combined with the abilities of the nation, “then we have the best of both worlds, we will set right everything that was messed up before us.”