Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the new headquarters of the House of Traditions in the refurbished Buda Vigadó last Thursday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that today’s culture war, in fact, is fought not only in Hungary but across all of Europe. Hungary has survived as an independent nation, he said, despite great historical hardships over the last millennium.
The miracle, said PM Orbán, borrowing from Hungarian writer Sándor Márai, is not that Hungary is the way it is but that it still exists. Indeed, sometimes deep within miracles there is a “blindingly simple truth,” and in our case it is that “the Hungarian people are anchored to their cultural heritage with strong, deep roots.”
“We commit to promoting and safeguarding our heritage, our unique language, Hungarian culture, the languages and cultures of nationalities living in Hungary,” the prime minister said, citing the Fundamental Law, and added that this attitude explains why “we can still stand here today.”
On “the European culture war,” the cultural conflicts apparent all over Europe, Prime Minister Orbán said that we are indeed going through tough times, but in fact it’s a fight for our own European culture rather than a clash among the cultures of indigenous Europeans.
“Different cultures give rise to different societies, values, laws and political systems – some of which are incompatible with the European way of thinking,” PM Orbán said, arguing that “in our own land, we want to live by the rules and values of our own culture.” Hungarians are particularly sensitive to this issue because our nation knows what it’s like to live under foreign, incompatible cultures. Hungary has seen it several times in a thousand years of history. And we know the long-lasting consequences of enduring that.
There is, however, a way Europe can preserve its European and Christian identity. And that is, according to the prime minister, if “we calmly but unwaveringly stand up and declare who we are, and what we think about God, country and family.” If we fail to do this, “we will fall victim to a creeping pan-European cultural surrender.”