Speeches / Speech by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the opening of the CPAC Hungary conference

Speech by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the opening of the CPAC Hungary conference

Good morning, Greetings Everybody.

I welcome conservatives from all over the world—from Washington to Georgia, from Estonia to Chile; and with special respect I salute our good old friend Matt Schlapp, without whom we could not be here today. Thank you for everything.

Welcome to everyone here in Budapest. I am happy to welcome you, although it is well known that one cannot swim a world record time in the morning. Today Hungary has gained a reputation in international politics. This is unusual: a country of ten million, with a modestly sized army, and mid-level GDP. It is not important—and not particularly interesting—when seen from Washington, Brussels, Berlin, Moscow or Beijing. So modesty and humility, Dear Hungarian friends, are in order. And yet there is something attractive about our country, something exotic. Perhaps it is the language that no one understands—and no one understands how Homo sapiens can speak in such an extraterrestrial tongue. 

Dear Guests, 

Do not try: the failure to do so will induce depression. Perhaps what excites interest is the fact that a people has been living here within the framework of its own state for 1,100 years—a people which does not yield a single inch of its independence. But what is perhaps most interesting is that while the whole of Europe has been submerged in an ocean of progressive liberalism, here—miraculously—a conservative island has survived: an “island of difference” that defies the liberal tide, the Brussels thunderstorm, and the Washington hurricane; and it not only defies all this, but survives, even thrives, even succeeds, even triumphs—and triumphs again and again. Welcome to the land that is the island of difference.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

This is a conservative conference in Europe that is not in danger of being banned. A conservative conference whose organizers are not being threatened. No one here is trying to make life impossible for your family, or tow away your car. This is a conservative conference that has not been kicked from one place to another. A conservative conference to which the police are not called. All these things happened to us last week in Brussels, where my friend Yoram Hazony and his associates organized the National Conservatism Conference. It was not easy, but they managed it. Congratulations to the organizers! Here things are different. Despite all the rumors, here there is the rule of law, and everyone can organize the kind of conference they want: they can hire the venue they want, and say what they want. And, unlike my Belgian colleague, the Belgian prime minister, I could not—even if I wanted to—tell a Hungarian court what it should do, what the right decision is. In fact, even if I could do that, I would decide against it out of spite. That is the way it is here. Hungarians do not like it when others interfere in our affairs. As our American friends would say: “Don’t tread on me!” In Brussels, the paradise of European liberals, European progressive life is now a reality. I am reminded of the old joke from the days of the dictatorship: “Tell me, have we arrived at communism yet, or will things get even worse?” But my friends, let us not brood on the fashions and tortures of Brussels, but let us rejoice that we are here.

I welcome among us Mr. Tony Abbott, former Prime Minister of Australia. When the migration wave started in 2015, he was the Western prime minister we looked up to from Budapest. We salute you! He is our hero. He said that migration had to be stopped, and he was the one who stopped it. He was the one who sent the message that if you come to the borders illegally, you will not be allowed to enter. And he showed that it could be done like that. Since then, exemplary action has become friendship. It is good to see that you are here with us today, Prime Minister. 

We welcome Mr. Janez Janša, the eternal Prime Minister of Slovenia. The great feat he is capable of is that whenever you talk to him, whether he is in government or in opposition, you feel that you are talking to the Prime Minister. We welcome him here as a great and successful fighter, even though the Left has done everything they can against him, dragging him to court, convicting him, and sending him to prison. All the while Brussels has been silent. But he has always got back on his feet, has always emerged from his battles stronger than earlier, and has always returned to become Prime Minister. We hope, Dear Janez, that one day you will share this know-how with us. 

And welcome to Mr. Irakli Kobakhidze, Prime Minister of Georgia. He is a prime minister who back home is considered to be a true political chess player. No wonder, since the millennial history of Georgia has itself been a huge geopolitical chess game: one of how to preserve a unique language, culture and national identity in the face of threatening and conquering great powers. The people of Georgia have been playing this chess game successfully for many centuries. Welcome Prime Minister, thank you very much for being here with us. We wish you every success.

And my friend Mateusz Morawiecki, the former Prime Minister of Poland, is here—or if he is not here yet, he will be arriving. He and I are old comrades in arms: we fought together in Brussels for sovereignty, to stop migration, and to protect our families and our children. We Poles and Hungarians fought together for everything that is important to us and that the progressive Left wanted to eradicate, and we fought against what it wanted to force on us. It is good that our friend Mateusz will be with us. We look forward to seeing him back in Brussels at the head of the Polish forces there. 

And many people have arrived here from the United States, Israel, Spain, Brazil, Chile, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. And I extend a special welcome to the representatives of Hungarians abroad. It is good that you are here—this is a good opportunity to meet. 

Dear Friends,

Two years ago, at the first CPAC in Budapest, I spoke to you with due modesty about the Hungarian recipe for success. A year ago I spoke about Hungary being the experimental laboratory against the progressive liberal virus—and with international patents. These are important issues, but somewhat theoretical. This year of 2024, however, is not a year of theory, but of practice. Around the world there will be elections, and we must win those elections. These elections coincide with major global political and geopolitical trend reversals. The world order is changing, and we must win our causes in the midst of those changes. Progressive liberals sense the danger. The expiry of this era means their expiry: the end of the progressive world spirit. So remember: they are determined to do everything necessary, they will stop at nothing, and they are still in power. They are dangerous opponents who have no moral scruples. They are in power, and they will not hesitate to use the tools at their disposal. If necessary, they will use the state against us. As our American friends put it: “weaponizing state institutions”. And all this is happening before our very eyes. It is happening to us Hungarians in Brussels all the time. It is happening to President Trump in America. We are cheering him on to win his justice—not only in the election, but also in the courts. Our adversaries sit in the seats of power, at the head of institutions, and—instead of serving the common good—plot how to get rid of you. This is the situation in which we must win. This may be something new to Westerners, but not to us Central Europeans. We are very familiar with this situation. We saw how political repression was developed by the communists. But I think that not everyone in the West is familiar with this, so let us devote a few minutes to it now. 

Dear Friends,

In the past the communists employed a five-step procedure to subjugate us by stealth. Now the progressives are emulating them. With these five steps they are turning the organs of the state into tools of oppression.

First, they reformulate norms. George Orwell saw this, and described it thus: “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” The first step in the progressive liberals’ program of oppression is to take a norm and give it the precisely opposite meaning. “War is peace” is something that progressives also say today. “Peace facility”: this is the name of the Brussels financial fund from which they send the most destructive weapons to the front. “Migration is a resource”, they say—while crime rises, the threat of terrorism increases, and trust is drained from our societies.

The second step is to use the instruments of the state to start spreading this inverted normality. Anyone who thinks otherwise is problematic: there is something wrong with them. Anyone who thinks otherwise is either ignorant or insane. The perception must be created that listening to them would lead to some fatal catastrophe.

Then comes the third step, when they spread the word that because you hold dangerous views, you are also a security risk. They set some sort of fact-checker or democracy watchdog on you, and it is established that you do not share the views of normality that they preach, and that therefore you are a radical whose freedom of speech they need not hesitate to restrict. 

Then, in the fourth step, they incite the liberal press to attack you. Activists are mobilized, and then you are silenced through litigation. This leads to the sphere of fake depictions of you on the internet, denunciation on social media, and a horde of civil society entities bombarding the courts and state bodies with accusations against you.

And if you survive all that, the fifth step is for state bodies to spring into action. They have received so many complaints and accusations that they are obliged to investigate you. This is how public bodies become the private institutions of the progressives. They find that the accusations in the media and the concerns of the watchdogs are well founded, they indict you, and in the end state bodies are used to silence you. This is what they do to Hungary in Brussels, and this is what they do to conservatives in progressive liberal European capitals. The same thing is happening in the United States, where court proceedings are being used to try to remove President Donald Trump from the ballot. This is what happened in the European Union when they tried to use administrative procedures to impose a travel ban on Tucker Carlson. It is happening in Germany, where political parties are being monitored by the intelligence services. And it happened in Finland, when they wanted to prosecute a politician and a bishop for quoting Scripture.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is where we are. But the good news is that now we can put an end to this. This year, God willing, we can bring to an end an inglorious period in Western civilization. We can end a world order based on progressive liberal hegemony.

My Friends,

The progressive liberal world spirit has failed utterly. It has brought wars, chaos and unrest, economic collapse and disorder to the world. Disorder in international politics, the impoverishment of families, deteriorating public safety in the streets and public spaces. This has been a strange period and a strange spirit. Its adherents proclaimed that their task was not to represent the people, but to implement their own ideals. And if the facts did not verify their ideals, so much the worse for the facts. They divided the world into democracies and autocracies, and claimed that their role was a crusade against autocracies. They went forth, they made war, they exported democracy; and eventually people got fed up with them wherever they appeared. Let us be honest: this world order has produced leaders who are unfit to lead, who are not up to the task, who make mistake after mistake, and who are ultimately racing towards their own doom. They say that there must be a hegemon, an ideological ascendancy, under whom and under which everyone must fall in line. And if this happens, they say, then peace will arrive at home and peace will arrive in the world. My Friends, when I listen to them, I get the feeling that contestants in a beauty pageant know more about world peace than these bungling leaders. 

What I am saying, Dear Friends, is that this is an unrepeatable opportunity to replace the declining progressive liberal world spirit with another world spirit: a sovereigntist world order. But what would that be like? How can we envisage it? First of all, perhaps, in a sovereigntist world order there will be no global ideology to which everyone must conform. In that world, the actions of states will be determined by their national interests, and each independent nation will act according to its own national interests. I also think that in a sovereigntist world order, the true sovereign is the people—or, as our guests would say, “popular sovereignty”. I hope that we will no longer be told what is right and what should be done by NGOs of all kinds, big business, media giants, dubious experts and academic windbags, but by elected representatives and politicians elected by the people. I envisage the sovereigntist world spirit replacing the Soros-style “open society” with a “protected society”: one in which the state protects its citizens; one in which migration is not organized, but borders are defended; one in which founding a family is highly prized, and the family is protected as an important institution of the nation. And I also envisage that in a sovereigntist world the global economy will be organized according to the principle of mutual benefit, free of ideology. Or, as they say these days: “connectivity”. Everyone will be able to trade with everyone else, and it will be up to individual states to build networks of connections that prevent them entering into unequal relationships of dependency.

Dear Friends,

On the eve of the elections, let us dare to say that liberal hegemony has made the world a worse place. It has created war where there could have been peace. It has brought chaos where there was order. It has tried to break up our countries and our families, and to wipe our nations off the face of the earth. The disciples of that old world are still sitting in Brussels; and, although it is not my job to interfere in American domestic politics, I am afraid they are sitting in Washington. This year we are committed to driving them out. Let the era of the sovereigntists come at last! Let us return to the peaceful and secure path that made the West great. Make America Great Again! Make Europe Great Again! Go Donald Trump! Go European Sovereigntists! Let us saddle up, don our armor, take to the battlefield, and let the electoral battle begin!

My friends, memorable weeks await us. Onward to victory!


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