In this year’s state of the nation address, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had a poignantly uplifting message for the people of Hungary. As the popular revolt against political correctness now spreads over the West, Hungary has stood at the forefront of that uprising. Beginning in 2010, the country led the way, dismissing the supposed wisdom of an arrogant elite to restore democracy to the people, and today Hungary stands as an example.
“Tomorrow doesn’t cast a shadow on today,” he said, in what was the nineteenth installment of the annual speech. “We have no reason to be nervous about tomorrow.”
He reflected on how the year 2016 had brought a wave of popular rebellion in the West. Ignoring all predictions, the course of history “took a sharp turn,” and the people, “whose voices had not been heard” because they had been “silenced by political correctness,” they said they had had enough.
Brexit, the change of the Italian government, the results of the US presidential election and Hungary’s migrant quota referendum all signaled a profound change of course, one where the people reject a “democracy based on correctness” to restore a democracy based on reason, one that serves the interests of the people.
That uprising, denounced in some quarters as populist, is now gradually sweeping over Europe, but Hungary was “perhaps the first to revolt, in 2010,” the prime minister said. Following that revolution in the voting booth in April 2010, Hungary rejected austerity and sent the International Monetary Fund packing, introduced special taxes on multinational corporations, cut household utility fees, slashed income taxes, brought people back into the work force and introduced pro-family policies.
When the previous US administration, Brussels and even Berlin were saying that the waves of migrants should be allowed to enter Europe unchecked, Hungary built a fence and defended the border, not just the border of Hungary but the external border of Europe’s Schengen Area.
In those days, were the black sheep, the ‘unorthodox,’ but today, the prime minister said, Hungary has become a success story. The major credit rating agencies have all restored Hungary to investment grade, household debt is falling, unemployment has hit a record low, wages are rising, and the economy is enjoying sustainable growth that has put Hungary among the leading economies in Europe.
That’s a far cry from the plight the country faced seven years ago. Today, those who are willing to work hard and play by the rules have the chance to move ahead and enjoy a better life, he said. Hungary is stronger today.
That struggle to build a democracy based on reason, to forge a nation and an economy that serves the people’s interest will continue. In the coming year, Hungary will face “attacks” on that project. The prime minister listed five.
First, the European Commission will attempt to prohibit government-mandated utility price cuts and allow multinational corporations to set prices.
The second attack will focus on migration. The unfortunate reality is that migrants are still able to travel freely across Europe, so Hungary will pursue a remedy to limit the free movement of illegal migrants until their individual cases are decided, and that will meet heavy opposition.
Thirdly, Hungary will have to defend itself against certain international organizations that attempt to exert influence in the country. Despite the fact that Hungary overwhelmingly rejected migrant quotas in a popular referendum last year, organizations supported by Hungarian-born, American financier George Soros “are working to bring in hundreds of thousands of migrants to Europe”, the prime minister said.
The fourth and fifth “attacks” on Hungary would attempt to defeat Hungary’s right to keep tax policy and support for job creation as a matter of national policy. That’s all part of a determined Brussels effort to usurp the powers of the member states.
Defending Hungary against this offensive will require a new form of politics centered on the nation. And today, economically more fit and politically more stable, Hungary is in good shape to take up the fight.
Hungary has finally overcome the “culture of self-pity” that had hung as a curse over the country, the prime minister said, and has adopted a “culture of action”. Hungarians had the courage to stand up for freedom in 1956, and we led the way again in 2010 by rejecting the utopian ideologies of the globalists and forging a new politics and new economy to serve our people.
A sign of good government, he said, was that when the public’s goals are accomplished, the people think they did not even need their leaders. The year 2017 will bring plenty of its own excitement, but in today’s stronger Hungary, tomorrow doesn’t cast a shadow.