‘It is our duty to fight for the cause of truth, even when there is no hope of success’—this is one of the much-cited aphorisms of Ferenc Deák, the Sage of Hungary, who admonished us to remember that in our daily struggles, the most fundamental task is to stand up for what we believe in. Although the battle to defend the values of creation—one of the most crucial of the twenty-first century—has begun, its end is still impossible to foresee.1 However, to win this fight, to make our mission a success, we need allies, and cross-border cooperation. The Center for Fundamental Rights has therefore decided to unite with forces both overseas and nearer to home—forces that make up the greatness of the European continent, and which want to maintain its traditions of civilization.
The Cold War Reimagined
Today, unfortunately, we are once again living in an age of ideological Cold War. But we are convinced that the societies that make up European civilization cannot be defenceless against the hybrid virus of progressivism. In other words, we are committed to defending Europe’s true values. Although we do not believe in social engineering, or that the methods of science can be applied like-for-like to social conditions, it is worth thinking about Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which may prove to be true in the regions of the world which surround us: namely that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.2 Nor are politics and public life above this law. Conservative forces in Europe and outside the continent need to work together because the values we hold dear are under global attack. These are the values that underpin the greatness and prosperity of our civilization. And the attack is counterproductive—indeed, we hope it will be as big as possible. For the hate doctors of global neo-Marxist liberalism are doing everything they can to destroy the foundations of our society.
The societies that make up European civilization cannot be defenceless against the hybrid virus of progressivism. In other words, we are committed to defending Europe’s true values
For us, Europe—the ‘Europe of yesterday’— has always been an intellectual concept, and the region of Central Europe, which has often been deplored for its ‘belated development’ is precisely that part of the continent which most fully preserves what remains. Europe is both our home and our life, neither of which can be replaced. We have not yet softened up, and can still find and save Europe, so long as we do not allow ourselves to be mesmerized by the gurus of the liberal sect. We, the Christians of Central Europe, are looking for the Europe of yesterday so that we can build a new one in place of the current one. However, we need to realize that at this moment in time the European Union is facing at least two types of crisis: an institutional one and an intellectual one. In crisis situations of this sort, the question generally arises, how can we get out of this mess? On this side, we are confident that we will be able to save the common European project through a number of key principles. The first such principle is an unshakable adherence to normality. To do this, we must defend the values that bound us together even before the idea of shared Europeanness emerged.
Believers in those ‘progressive’ left-liberal ideas that characterize themselves as mainstream are trying in a totalitarian manner to change our views of the world in all aspects of life, which have been questioned on several prior occasions. They are trying to put pressure on all those who do not share their views on certain issues using the methods of hybrid warfare. Years ago, the Center for Fundamental Rights was already drawing attention to the fact that an age of political ideologies concealed behind human rights may be ahead of us.3 This total assault is on a grand scale, but what affects us most now is the change in our immediate environment.
About Our Common Values
What are the values we need to protect? Looking back over our thousand-year history here in Central Europe and the Carpathian Basin, we can identify many of them: Christianity, state sovereignty, national identity, the ability to distinguish between good and evil, respect for traditions, and a preference for family over individualized notions of social organization, are among the attributes of our lives. The list could go on, but this is already enough to be worth fighting for.
In our view, the state—and indeed society— cannot be worldview-neutral. Firstly, to be frank, because if it is, then we are in fact talking about a liberal state, since such impartiality is itself a liberal value. Moreover, we consider it the explicit task of the state to focus on the public good, and to work for the common good.4 One manifestation of this is if the state does not stand idly by as eternal values—such as God, family, and country—decay into irrelevance, but, on the contrary, protects them, since it is precisely this vaunted ‘impartiality’ that has brought with it the decay of traditional values. One of the basic truths of the conservative worldview is that everything which ought to be saved must be saved. Protection is, of course, a multifaceted concept. It can mean physical protection and intellectual preservation, but it can also entail legal and political actions, such as in the fierce struggle for state sovereignty with physical border protections, support for the protection of Christianity, and the preservation of our holy places. In legal and political terms, meanwhile, with the adoption of the Fundamental Law (the Hungarian Constitution), we declared that Hungary’s historical traditions could not be rewritten from one moment to the next on the basis of externally controlled principles.5
Europe Stumbling in the Dark
The EU does not emphasize the importance of the family, but instead the disproportionate enforcement of sexual minority rights
The EU is forcing artificial migration and multiculturalism ad absurdum, instead of protecting and strengthening national identity. If those who formulated the idea of European unity after the Second World War could survey the general state of Europe today, I am convinced that they would be both stupefied and appalled to see that, apart from one or two bastions, today’s European community is on an entirely wrong track: its population is declining, and it is slowly losing its heritage. In addition, the EU is formulating inadequate responses to the challenges it faces. It is not responding to the problem of depopulation by encouraging higher birth rates, but by surrendering to illegal immigration. It does not emphasize the importance of the family, but instead the disproportionate enforcement of sexual minority rights, while also promoting abortion as a trendy lifestyle option—with the support of green jihadism. It is not interested in strengthening communities, but in weakening them, in shattering the ‘everyday’—in the noblest sense of the term—patterns suggested by the laws of nature. All this, however, is what Brussels is seeking— not always by democratic means—to impose on others: they are preaching mandatory immigration quotas, the crossing of borders without barriers and controls, and assistance to immigrants. They have got it back to front: they do not want to bring the aid to where the problem is, but to bring the problem here. In short, this is the essence of their policy. This is followed by witch hunts, the manufacturing of political enemies in the guise of the rule of law, and the constant pressure on Central European countries that can still hold their own. Unfortunately, all this is just one of many problems.
There is also the danger of economic insignificance, which is becoming an increasingly salient issue in the history of the Union. If we examine the numbers, we can see that in 2008 the EU accounted for 25 per cent of world GDP, while in 2019 it made up only 18 per cent. Fourteen of the world’s fifty largest companies were European at the turn of the millennium, while today only seven feature on the same list. There is no EU city among the ten largest financial centres in the world. Three decades ago, the EU filed seven times as many patent applications as China, while today China files fourteen times more than the EU. In the last twenty-five years, twenty companies worth more than $100 billion have been formed. Of these, nine are American, eight are Chinese, and none at all originated in the EU. Over the past thirty years, the United States has increased its military spending by 30 per cent and China by 900 per cent. Of the ten countries with the highest military spending, only two are members of the EU.6
Let us have no illusions: people can sense this absence of slow, gradual, but perceptible progress. Nothing proves this more than the fact that just a quarter of EU citizens now think that future generations will live better than they do now. Twenty-five people out of a hundred. Faith in a glorious future, then, is not a characteristic of those living on the continent. Although we are just scratching the surface, we know what lies beneath it all: the abandonment of traditional European values in the spirit of progress. Why should the European Parliament adopt a resolution in the summer of 2021 that guarantees men the right to give birth? Why should space be allowed for LGBTQIA lobbyists whose goal is to plant the seeds of abnormality in the minds of children? Why choose the path of self-abnegation, which is presented as easy, though it involves huge sacrifices? Finally, why do they always try to make it impossible for those who speak out against them? Many questions can be answered with a single assertion. Because Europe has lost its faith. Both in the Creator and in itself.
Action Is Followed by Reaction
This is the danger, the primary problem, which calls for action. That is why we launched the Alliance for the Common Good (ACG)network.7 Another consequence of this is that in the spring of 2022 we will bring to Hungary the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), America’s largest gathering of conservatives. The trinity of ‘God, country, family’ is a triune unity for us, the protection of which is a particular priority and unites us worldwide. The globalist-federalist and sovereigntist-localist forces are at odds with each other, and while we defeated Marxism here in Central Europe, a new version of it has prevailed in the West. This has led to the identity politics of the left, but also to the fact that Western, nominally still Christian Democratic forces first gave up all their principles for power, then lost power too. This, in turn, also means that what is left of the real Europe, of ‘our Europe’, is here in Central Europe. We could also say that we are the conscience of the EU. To preserve this, we, the Central European Conservatives, will stand and be counted. In addition to the founding Polish and Hungarian participants, we can say with pride that Italian, Czech, and Slovak partners have joined the association.
The original idea of the ACG, created in the spirit of a right-wing intellectual awakening, was inspired by years of successful cooperation between the Center for Fundamental Rights and the Polish Ordo Iuris. We have engaged in a number of joint European-level campaigns and conferences with our partners in Warsaw. And now we are joined by three excellent conservative organizations: the Italian Nazione Futura, the Czech Association for the Family, and the Slovak Institute for Human Rights and Family Policy. We will fight together for our true, common European values, and over time we hope that the Alliance will continue to grow. After all, we know very well that ‘together we stand, divided we fall’.
‘Together we stand, divided we fall’
We invite all organizations and citizens who can and wish to join us under the banner of ‘God, country, family’ as we struggle to make the nations of Europe great again, taking them back to their roots and moral foundations. Our goals include the networking of conservative organizations, the protection of families, children’s rights, and the institution of marriage, as well as the representation of the sanctity of life and inalienable rights rooted in natural law on the national and international stage. This conservative renaissance, this counter-revolution whose main engine is Hungary, and which we have all experienced in recent years in Europe—and in North America as well—is in fact an immune response from the Central and Eastern European ‘bloc’ which, in the name of our civilization, is resisting this attack of left-wing, postmodern neo-Marxism. This foe wants to undermine the order by which we organize and give meaning to our everyday lives by attacking on both the institutional and ideological fronts. In Central Europe, throughout history, but especially in the twentieth century, we have gained considerable resilience: we can recognize dangerous totalitarian ideas, and we can resist them.
To achieve this, what we need in Europe is a dynamically growing political environment based on common sense, as well as national and individual freedom, under the leadership of sovereign states, within a well-functioning legal and political framework, and rooted in the soil of that Christian culture and heritage which created European civilization. We cannot tolerate the postmodern left dismantling Europe, forcing on people its social engineering ideas which are completely alien to the historical traditions of European nations. If we did that, we would end up with the same fate as some Western European states: instead of flourishing Christianity, we would be embarking on a path of total dechristianization. Following the example of the northern ‘welfare’ states, we would be removing crosses and crucifixes from public spaces, saying that they are symbols that violate other people’s freedoms.
Unfortunately, there are parts of Europe where the use of certain religious symbols can already be a life-threatening act, due to the spread of no-go zones.8 This is because in many places in Northern and Western Europe today, the left, which claims to be progressive and anti-conservative, has already achieved some of its goals. Meanwhile, self-styled ‘Christian Democrat’ political forces are one after another surrendering to the liberal mainstream and beginning to sing from the same pro-migration, LGBTQIA-friendly hymn sheet, renouncing their former worldview. Recent events, such as the German elections, have shown that this is not the right direction, with voters ‘punishing’ drift to the left. This is well illustrated by the fact that there are no conservative heads of government west of Vienna. For the Western right to succeed again, they must return to real conservatism, which combines pragmatism with a real commitment to a worldview.
The European party system is undergoing a major transformation. Across Europe, traditional party structures are breaking down. If we look beyond the Carpathian Basin, we can observe the spread of radical green movements, while right-wing conservative forces lose ground. ‘Today, what is to the right of the European left is called the Right. We definitely need renewal. And this renewal can only take place if we make alliances with one another’, said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán after his talks with Marine Le Pen, the head of the National Rally.9 Renewal is therefore the key, but it must not lead to the discarding of tradition.
Protecting Christianity Is a Moral Duty
Indeed, the abandonment and denial of Christian values does not simply have negative effects from a political, cultural, and social point of view, and nor is it merely a widespread topic of political debate. It has a very direct impact on the survival of our civilization. We know very well that real human rights are rooted in the order of nature, not in the literature of postmodern leftist ideologues. Moreover, it is perhaps less well-known that, in essence, the human freedoms and human rights stem from Christianity, which is the foundation of Europe. Today, we find that certain individuals and organizations, operating in bad faith, have put human rights at the service of a policy that seeks to subjugate sovereign European states in the spirit of a new pseudo-religion. However, the Alliance for the Common Good will make Europe once again a continent of Christian freedom. This Christian freedom is threatened on the outside by migration and on the inside by liberals who seek to eradicate Europe’s Christian roots.
Real human rights are rooted in the order of nature, not in the literature of postmodern leftist ideologues
Perhaps because of these processes, Brussels has been moving steadily away from the people of Europe. This increasing distance is no accident: one of the main fault lines on the continent today clearly concerns the future. This may most easily be expressed in a question: which direction is the EU headed? The Hungarian answer is clear: let us return to the values professed by those who founded this Union, to intergovernmental cooperation, and respect for national sovereignty.10 Let us acknowledge that Christian democracy exists and that its liberal branch is not the only possible form and model in the twenty-first century. Let us understand that there will be as many legal systems and traditions as there are nations, as well as countless other differences. We do not scold Finland for not having a constitutional court, and the EU should not scold Hungary for not accepting illegal immigrants. We are also not in the habit of pointing out that the EU elite has not had a vision for many years, is behind in planning for a common future, and has no answers to the tasks that lie ahead. That is why, whatever the problem, they always give the same answer: the United States of Europe. This, in their eyes, is the key to everything. They believe that Brexit happened not because the intersection of EU competences was excessive, but because it was insufficient. That the economic crisis of 2008 pushed a significant part of the southern states into an inescapable debt spiral not because they were much more exposed to negative, harmful externalities through the single currency, but because the EU did not have enough economic ammunition. All this has culminated in a plethora of internal tensions caused by the migration crisis and the coronavirus pandemic.
Over the last thirty years, neo-Marxism has entered the mainstream in the West, and they want to force it upon us. The ideological pressure has never been so great, and the promotion of migration and an open society has reached unprecedented proportions.11 Let us not forget, however, that this is no novelty for nations that know the former communist world first-hand. We have been through this before. What was once the Brezhnev Doctrine has now been transformed into neo-Marxism. We also remember that if a state within the Soviet sphere of influence deviated from the centrally determined ideology, the other members of the communist camp felt entitled to interfere in the internal affairs of the renegade, as we saw not only in Hungary in 1956, but also in Czechoslovakia in 1968. At a distance of a little over half a century, we can say that attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of states are still taking place today.
Central Europe Is the Last Line of Defence
The sovereign states of the region have realized that it is in their common interest to unite
However, there is hope, and even a chance to prevent this. In Central Europe, we have begun to understand that ‘more unites us than divides us’: the sovereign states of the region have realized that it is in their common interest to unite, and to fight the most difficult battles with the greatest possible unity. One clear proof of this is the appreciation of V4 cooperation over the past eleven years.12 Although the V4 alliance was first established soon after the fall of communism, let us admit that what has made the V4 alliance a truly strong, politically and economically unignorable actor is that its leaders and citizens have always had similar beliefs in the recent conflicts of European civilization. Whether it is migration, Europeanfederalization, gender ideology, or national sovereignty, Central Europe has always been able to find common ground in the most dangerous times—at least in the last ten years.
So the recipe for success is at our disposal. Setting aside our former ‘dare to be small’ attitude, we should get to work, striving to create new alliances. We will create new centres of gravity, so that those who have similar views on these issues know where to get involved, and who to turn to. After all, the members of the alliance are determined to take decisive action to defend true European values. We are not only launching and managing conferences and scientific projects; we also need ‘political action’. We want to show that national conservatives can work together internationally—something liberals have always been sceptical of—because we are united by our love of place, an acceptance of the order of creation, and a respect for the customs and traditions of our parents and grandparents.
We have a tough fight ahead of us, into unprecedented headwinds, which is why responsible conservatives, as well as legal and political research centres, must come together. This is also necessary because the other side has been organizing and making plans for a long time. However, it is our job to protect all that is dear to our hearts. We believe that twenty-first-century European conservatives can meet the challenges of the age. Together we can protect the future of Europe, and our children will be able to live as men and women in a free continent, as citizens of free countries. If we do our job well, we will be able to say that ‘we have done our duty to our country!’, because as the Hungarian saying goes, ‘everything is difficult for one, nothing is impossible for many’.
Translated by Thomas Sneddon
1 Ferenc Deák’s follow-up report after the Parliament of 1839–1840 contains these ideas, which were formed during the most successful period in the life of the ‘Sage of Hungary’.
2 Isaac Newton, the English mathematician and physicist who in his Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, published in 1687, first stated the axiomatic laws of inertia, acceleration, and reaction.
3 The Center for Fundamental Rights warned as early as 2016 that broadening the framework for interpreting asylum could lead to serious policy disagreements. See https://alapjogokert. hu/2016/09/14/a-menedekjog-nem-egy-globalis- szocialis-ellatashoz-valo-jog/.
4 In conservatism, the state becomes an active player. For more on this, see Roger Scruton, Mi a konzervativizmus? Válogatott esszék (What Is Conservatism? Selected Essays) (Budapest: Osiris, 1995).
5 The Fundamental Law (or Constitution) of Hungary states in the National Avowal: ‘We hold that the protection of our identity rooted in our historic constitution is a fundamental obligation of the State. We do not recognise the suspension of our historic constitution due to foreign occupations.’ Source: https://www.parlament.hu/irom39/02627/02627.pdf.
6 https://novekedes.hu/elemzesek/ki-mennyit-hasit- ki-a-vilaggazdasagbol.
7 The official website of the Alliance for the Common Good is available at: https://theafcg.com/en/.
8 In Norway, the crosses began to disappear as early as 2015, in order to create a more ‘religiously neutral’ environment. See https://kereszteny.mandiner. hu/cikk/20151201_eltuntetne_a_kereszteket_a_ menekultek_szallasairol_a_norveg_bevandorlasi_ hivatal.
9 The press release issued after the meeting is available in Hungarian at https://miniszterelnok. hu/orban-viktor-nyilatkozata-marine-le-pennel-a- nemrijos-tomorules-vezetojevel-folytatott-targyalasat- kovetoen/.
10 A nationally representative poll conducted by the Center for Fundamental Rights between 5 and 7
July 2021 also confirms this statement. Two thirds of those polled argued that in all matters relating to national sovereignty, the EU should not seek to extend competences by infringing upon member states’ competences. Research data is available at https:// www.magyarhirlap.hu/kulfold/20210712-a-nemzetek- europaja-mellett-a-magyarok.
11 The European Policy Institute, which can be linked to the Open Society Network, has previously published documents containing the names of 226 MEPs who, according to the leaked information, the Open Society Foundation can count on as ‘trusted allies’. The document is still available today at https://legacy. gscdn.nl/archives/images/soroskooptbrussel.pdf.
12 More on the changes in the economic, political, social, and cultural weight of the Visegrád Four can
be found in the following study: https://kki.hu/assets/ upload/V4_konyv.pdf.