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

May 4, 2023, Budapest

Good morning to everybody.

Dear American Friends and Conservatives gathering here from all around the world,

I welcome the defenders of the free world to Budapest. We thank you for the opportunity of being here together. Here I see colleagues, people I have special respect for. The President of Georgia is here with us. From him we can learn how to live in the shadow of Russia while keeping one’s country and preserving peace. Today he is in possession of the most valuable knowledge in all of Europe. We wish you much success! And here with us is my friend Mr. Babiš, whose premiership was a time of resounding Czech-Hungarian friendship. Together at European Council meetings we would fight long into the night. I have to admit that he is a bigger fighter than I am. He would still be standing his ground at 4 in the morning. And I confess that if he had not been there when we had to decide on migration, we might not have been able to prevent other leaders in the European Council from flooding Europe with migrants. He, too, is with us here. And President Klaus is here with us. He does not like to hear us say it, but the truth will out, and I have to say that he is probably the wisest leader in Europe today. If anyone is faced with a difficult decision, I can only advise them to make sure they ask his opinion. This also shows that the Czechs are well endowed with intellectual strength. I do not understand why they are not at the very forefront of Europe, but I hope that we will see that eventually. And here with us we have my colleague Prime Minister Janez Jansa, whom we simply call the highest-ranking officer. It was a long time ago, so only old people like me remember, but he played an important role in ensuring that Slovenia emerged from Yugoslavia and gained its national independence with the least possible sacrifice. He has been prime minister several times. He is the great comeback specialist, my role model, a man who never gives up and never loses his composure. I will give you a tip: the quieter he talks, the more important the things he is saying.

If you have formed a good habit, keep it; because those who have good habits will be happier and more successful in life. For us, it has become a good habit for the conservative world to flock to Budapest in the spring. In other words, when it is spring in Budapest, it is time to calibrate your compass and set your watch. A good habit can become a tradition. Budapest always welcomes you—please come again next year! As I was preparing for today’s event, I thought back to how we got here: to why CPAC comes to Budapest. There are CPACs in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Israel and Japan. And there is a CPAC in Hungary. Not bad company to be in. But how did Hungarians manage to gain entry to such a prestigious club? We are not huge, we are not intimidating, we are not rich. We do not have a big army, we do not have a huge GDP, or a particularly large population. Who is interested in us? Yet here we all are today. I think there is only one reason we are in this elite club. There is one thing that makes our country an important place: the fact that Hungary is an incubator, where experiments are being conducted for the conservative politics of the future. Hungary is the place where we not only talked about defeating progressive liberals and turning in a conservative Christian political direction, but the place where we have actually done it. 

Dear Guests,

It all started in 2010. There is a Hungarian saying: “Where need is great, help is nearby”—or “Where there is poison, there is a remedy.” My Friends, it is hard to imagine a country in a worse situation than Hungary was in 2010, when we returned to government after eight years in opposition. I remember that the question then was whether conservative policies could restore a country bankrupted by liberals who had run amok. We thought then that if it could be done here, it could be done anywhere. After New York, it was also true for Budapest: “If you can make it there, you can make it everywhere.” The experiment has succeeded, and we are the proof that only conservative policies can help in those places where the liberals, the leftists, have wrecked a country. And the Hungarian success story has continued ever since: full employment, record levels of investment, flat tax, 40 percent fewer abortions, the best public safety in Europe, migration under control and a strong national identity.

My Dear Friends,

Part of the truth, however, is that although Hungarian success shone brightly in 2010, as shown by our re-election with a two-thirds majority in 2014, it was of no interest to anyone in the world until 2015. As the Hungarians say, not even the dogs were interested. It had remained our secret. We were not famous at all. We simply lived better and happier than earlier. Perhaps you can understand me when I say that I sometimes yearn for the days when we were not in the limelight. But nothing can be done about that: Man proposes, God disposes. In fact, the Hungarian experiment owes its worldwide fame to George Soros. Indeed God moves in a mysterious way. If George Soros had not attacked Hungary, if he had not announced his program to resettle millions of illegal immigrants in Europe with the help of his mercenary NGOs, we would never have made it onto the world’s front pages. But Uncle Georgie announced his resettlement program. He mobilized his NGO army and set about implementing his grand plan. They flooded the Balkans with illegal migrants and built a people-smuggling route leading into the heart of Europe. But then they came up against Hungary. We gave the command to halt, we took up the gauntlet and we defended ourselves: we built a fence and we defended our country. After a while I realized that it is not enough to defend our borders, it is not enough to fight in physical self-defense, but we can only defend our country if we also engage in intellectual and ideological battles. We found ourselves in the middle of an intellectual-ideological battlefield, because migration is an important part of the liberal progressives’ philosophy. We had no choice but to call out the ideology of the open society, and with it the entire empire of George Soros. And so this is what happened, Dear Friends. Some people would devote half their lives to be world famous, and yet they do not succeed. We did not want to be famous, and yet we are. We defied the liberal canon and were swept to world fame. I do not know whether we or the liberals were more surprised, but perhaps that does not matter.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Guests,

It is essential, especially for those coming from abroad, to clearly understand that we Hungarians do not attack. We do not want to tell other countries what they should think about migration, gender theory or the European superstate—and we certainly do not want to tell the Americans. Every people has the right to live according to its own will and nature. Yes, we do not attack: we defend. We defend because the globalist progressive elite want to impose their will on us, want to tell us what to think and how to live. Our fight for freedom has become important for the Western world because it has turned out that it is not only Hungary that is under attack, but all the nations of the free world. This time last year I addressed you as your host. Last summer in Texas I was the man who comes from afar and feels free to tell jokes. My role today is a different one. Today, as the leader of an incubator program, I am reporting to you that we are all under attack—in Europe as well as in America. I must also report to you that the attack is not economic in nature: we are dealing with a biological weapon. A virus attack has been launched against us. The virus was developed in progressive liberal laboratories. This virus is attacking the most vulnerable point in the Western world: the nation. It is a nation-devouring virus that will atomize and pulverize our nations.

My Friends,

The nation is the great invention of the West. It is the heart of the free world. But it is also the Achilles’ heel of the Western world. If nations evaporate, disintegrate or rust away, the possibility of free life is lost, and the West will fall. People without a homeland can never be free: they can only be wanderers, to be transplanted here or there, playthings of the global elite. The Judeo-Christian tradition teaches us that God divided the world into nations, and even appointed a guardian angel for each nation. And speaking of guardian angels, His Holiness Pope Francis was here recently. He was our guest for three days. And we were able to pray with him for peace in the world and in Hungary. It was a fantastic apostolic journey. The Hungarian people are extremely grateful to the Holy Father. A year ago, Pope Francis and CPAC were here, but separated by around six months. This year the gap was only one week. Who knows, if things continue like this, next year perhaps the Holy Father will drop in on this event! But let me return to my message. My Friends, the idea of the nation is our special Western heritage. This is why the Hungarians also recognized it, this is why they made a blood oath, this is why they organized themselves into a nation, this is why we joined the Western world, and this is why we did not disappear into the mists of history—as happened to the other Asian peoples who came to the West. As nation-based political organization spread in the West, we ascended, and in the competition between civilizations we overtook our Western counterparts. The nation proved to be the best framework. It is the best framework for unleashing the forces latent in the citizens of a country and for serving the interests of the whole community. If someone knows, accepts and embraces a common language, history, and culture, that person is a full member of the nation—and therefore free. This represented Western civilization’s enormous advantage, the reason we were centuries ahead of other continents. This is the civilisational competitive advantage, Dear Friends, that is under attack today. And I am sorry to say that the attack is proving to be successful. Our progress has slowed, and even stalled. Other civilizations have strengthened, have accelerated, and in many areas have simply outgrown us. They have caught up with us economically. Thirty years ago the Western world accounted for more than 60 percent of global output. Today the figure is somewhere around 40 percent. We have fallen behind in terms of natural resources—the US perhaps less so, but Europe is at the mercy of others, dependent on imported energy. Eighty percent of the vital raw materials needed for a modern economy are to be found outside the West. And we are also in a bad way demographically: the world’s population is growing, but the West’s population is shrinking. Resettlement and migration are masking the problem, but not remedying it. The only metric for which we are still in first place is military strength. At first sight this is good news. But a second glance makes it obvious that if we have lost all our other advantages and only our military force remains competitive, this will push events in the direction of military conflicts. This is what is happening today. So we are not doing well, the West is not doing well in the competition among civilizations. And the worst thing is that we only have ourselves to blame. None of our competitors could have wreaked such havoc. When the left unleashed its virus on the world, many well-meaning conservatives said that this anti-national virus was just an accidental laboratory leak. Surely, they said, the left does not want—or cannot—unleash its radicals on the world; they will rein them in themselves. But that did not happen. Let us not be naive! Today we can see that this virus has not simply escaped: it has been bred, it is being propagated and spread all over the world. Migration, gender, and woke: these are all just variants—variants of the same virus.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The essence of illegal migration is the destruction of the national community. It is the dismantling of the cultural foundation necessary for the functioning of the nation state, and the creation in its place of marginalized, atomized, coexisting—but mutually hostile—groups who will never form a community, and who ultimately will never form a state. The same is the goal of the woke movement and gender propaganda. Obviously you non-Hungarians do not know that we Hungarians have no separate words for sex in social [“gender”] and biological contexts. In fact, and I will tell you something even more astounding: our language uses the same personal pronoun for everyone, so in Hungary there is nothing to argue about on that score. Therefore we see—perhaps more clearly than people in other parts of the world—that the woke movement and gender ideology are exactly what communism and Marxism used to be: they artificially divide the nation into minorities, in order to foment discord between groups. This is their power base. The Hungarian conservative experiment is successful because we can detect Marxists from miles away—indeed by smell, without even needing to see them. They pressed down on us for fifty years. Gender and woke also divide the nation into classes, and proclaim that class is more important than nation, taking precedence over belonging to the nation and taking precedence over national identity.

My Friends,

I lived twenty-six years under Marxist oppression. In those days there was a popular joke that defined the absolute class struggle as the cat from the Party headquarters chasing off the church mouse. If you do not understand this joke, that is no problem—in fact it is a good sign! You are lucky and I hope it stays that way! Wherever class struggle rears its head, countries based on peaceful cooperation become the scene of unrest. Mutual respect and acceptance cease to exist, leaving only implacable hostility.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The third viral variant threatening Western nations today is progressive foreign policy. Progressive foreign policy always leads us into war. It brings upheaval to countries in the name of exporting democracy, and then either leaves or gets sucked in, trapped in the disorder it has itself created. I have seen many such “color revolutions.” They start with the slogan of freedom, continue with liberal-progressive re-education and human betterment, and end in chaos, disorder and the disgrace of countries abandoned to their fate. I am sure that if President Trump were President, then today Ukraine and Europe would not be stricken by any kind of war. Come back, Mr. President! Make America great again, and bring us peace!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In recent years progressives have again divided the world into the good, the bad, Nazis, non-Nazis, democracies and autocracies. Progressives always pursue imperialist policy. What they are doing is textbook imperialism. First of all they put diplomatic pressure on nations, expecting them to commit themselves, to declare whether or not they support migration, gender propaganda, the relativization of families, and the sexualization of children. Those who refuse to do so are the enemy, and a liberal fatwa is pronounced on them. If you say that gender and the LGBTQ movements are about the sexualization of children, you will be accused of betraying Western values. If you say that universities should not be about woke ideological education but about seeking the truth, you are attacking academic freedom. If you say that war is not in the interest of the Western world, you are branded as one of Putin’s enablers. Here in Budapest we are getting a little tired of all this, but we cannot simply brush it off. The latest imperial foreign policy goal of the progressives is to deprive the Member States of the European Union of the right to conduct their own foreign policy. They must be stopped. This will be the biggest battle in Brussels in the months ahead.

Dear Friends,

So in conclusion, this virus is numbing the brains of nations, demoralizing their hearts and paralyzing their limbs. It is turning living nations into lifeless communities. What we are celebrating here is the fact that there are incubators like Hungary, the purpose of which is defense. But let us not forget that there are also progressive research labs where the virus attacking the West is being developed to an ever-greater degree. Here in Europe one such laboratory is Brussels, and the progressive elite that run it. I imagine that there are also such laboratories in the United States. Some of them are in private hands, in the NGOs of wealthy billionaires, while others are in the world of progressive party foundations and think tanks. The good news, Dear American Friends, is that here in Europe the “Reconquista” has begun. There are encouraging results. In Italy our conservative friends have won, Ms. Meloni has won. But we must acknowledge that the work does not end with electoral victory. I could talk a lot about the fact that it is just beginning. The real work always begins with victory. We are rooting for Ms. Meloni to produce inspiring results with the Brothers of Italy as soon as possible. And in Jerusalem the conservative forces have also won. I see that the progressive left does not accept facts there either. But I have good news for Prime Minister Netanyahu: the louder the liberals are, the faster they lose popularity. I say this from experience. Then we have the promising upcoming Spanish general election, and the stars are also well aligned for our Polish friends. And there will be the European Parliament elections, when we can finally topple the progressive elite and drain the Brussels swamp.

My Friends,

The good news for everyone is that we need look no further for a serum for the progressive virus: it is here, in Hungary. It is available to everyone. You can take it freely, it just needs a little local adaptation, and it will work anywhere: in hot or cold climates, in the North or in the South. It protects against all variants of the progressive forces and has no side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist. All that is needed, before the election, is to write in huge, prominent letters on your flag: “No migration! No gender! No war!”

My Friends,

We have stopped migration at our borders, we have banned gender propaganda and the sexualization of children in schools, and we are also working uncompromisingly for peace. It is working. We have won four times in a row. People feel that their future is at stake. They will support the political force that protects the whole nation and represents its interests. Yes, the main weakness of the progressive forces is the popular will: democracy itself. This is how they can be beaten.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There are two ways to occupy a city. This is something that was already known in ancient Rome. Either you take the city’s walls, or you take the city’s sanctuaries. I suggest we start with the sanctuaries, and then take the walls. In recent years we have taken some great European sanctuaries: Budapest, Warsaw, Rome and Jerusalem—and the situation in Vienna is not hopeless either. But the truth is that the two main sanctuaries of modern democracy—Washington and Brussels—are still in the hands of the liberals. Let us make sure they do not stay that way!

For this I wish all of you God’s support and perseverance in your work. And since it has turned out that we are here on May the fourth, may the force be with you!