In an ode to mass immigration, Financial Times’ Gideon Rachman cherry-picked some arguments he believed would support the idea of promoting immigration. The world he describes might be what he prefers, but it is definitely not what the majority of Hungarians want to live in.
Rachman found two “major flaws” with the idea that mass immigration must be stopped. According to him, even without mass immigration, there would be no “social peace”; and the lack of immigration would come with immense social and economic costs.
Ironically, I also found two “major flaws,” and they’re buried deep in his sentences.
First, Mr. Rachman, nobody has ever said that without immigration our societies would live in perfect harmony and peace. However, it’s important to distinguish between the types of social conflicts that we Europeans, hailing overwhelmingly from Jewish and Christian traditions, have grown used to managing in the last millennium and the current challenges posed by mass immigration.
Yes, some of those historical conflicts ended up in horrific civil wars, but ultimately, they remained within our Judeo-Christian tradition, and we could therefore manage them with a toolbox that we had developed throughout the centuries. Of course, for the United Kingdom, given its long history as a colonial superpower, the present reality might seem different, but in the central, northern and eastern parts of Europe, we don’t have such a playbook in our pockets for managing the social and security challenges resulting from mass immigration.
And we are not alone in this opinion. In recent years, we’ve been witnessing the rise of conservative, Christian, right-wing parties all across Europe as citizens of the countries hit most severely by immigration are seeking alternative policies and solutions. We can see this process materialize in the Netherlands, in Italy, and also now in Germany. We can see the failure of integration in the gang wars on the streets of Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. I could go on.
Secondly, remedying the economic drawbacks of refusing mass immigration is not all black and white. Letting everyone in and keeping everyone out are not the only two options; there’s a lot of gray area in between. Take Hungary’s new guest worker regulation, for example: We are able to fill in workforce gaps without sacrificing the foundations of our society and culture along the way.
Instead of immigration, Hungary’s economic model relies on harnessing the potential of our domestic labor force. In Hungary, more than 4.75 million people have jobs. Since 2010, the number of people employed has increased by 1 million, while the number of registered job seekers has fallen to an all-time low. While Hungary’s 10.8 percent unemployment rate was the 11th worst in the EU back in 2010, this rate stood at 4 percent in the third quarter of 2023, the 7th best internationally.
What’s more, while Mr. Rachman denounces the Hungarian government’s pro-family policies as having “a very poor record of success,” these policies are already bearing fruit. In just 13 years, we managed to boost the fertility rate from 1.3 in 2010 to almost 1.6 last year. That’s a staggering 23% increase in an area where any significant result typically takes generations, if not multiple generations, to achieve. We believe that having children should not put any family at a financial disadvantage. Such initiatives might have a “very poor record of success” elsewhere, but this is not the case in Hungary, and we’re not giving up anytime soon.
Dear editor, the liberal idea of welcoming masses of immigrants from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds, who will then seamlessly integrate into our societies, remains a fairy tale. You may not see it from the other side of the Channel, but it’s simply not working.