Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, May 17, 2018
On Wednesday, May 9, Hungary’s ambassador to the United States, László Szabó, spoke to an overflow crowd at the Westminster Institute in McLean, Virginia, on “Immigration and the Preservation of European Culture.” He began his speech with a joke. He told his audience about a man who got in his car and then turned on the radio as he went to work. “Watch out, watch out, there’s a crazy man going against the traffic!” declared the radio announcer. “One crazy man?” asked the driver. “It’s all of them!”
Such is the position of Hungary on immigration. For enforcing the law and preventing mass illegal migration, it is regularly denounced in the West as “authoritarian,” “undemocratic,” or even “fascist.” Yet, as Ambassador Szabó made clear, the Hungarian government sees itself as simply enforcing the laws European nations took for granted until only a few years ago. As he noted, Hungary was actually required by the treaties that bound it to the European Union to control its borders.
However, Ambassador Szabó also pointed out that Hungary is different from the rest of Europe, because its Christian identity is recognized by its constitution, which begins with the words, “God bless the Hungarians.” It goes on to declare, “We are proud that our king Saint Stephen built the Hungarian State on solid ground and made our country a part of Christian Europe 1,000 years ago.”
“If you look at the whole world globally, white Caucasians and Christians are a minority,” Ambassador Szabó said. Thus, Europe’s culture and traditions could be overwhelmed by mass immigration. Indeed, as he pointed out, the world has in the last few years already witnessed a genocide of Middle Eastern Christians. However, the ambassador also took care to point out that his defense of Hungarian identity was not an attack on anyone else; he framed his country’s response to the European refugee crisis as nothing more than common sense.
The ambassador suggested that what is really confronting Europe is not a “refugee” crisis at all, but a migrant crisis. As he noted, under international law, a “refugee” can apply for asylum only in the first safe place he reaches. “If you go for the best place possible because you want subsidies,” he added, “you become an economic migrant.”
As the ambassador noted, “In 2015, 400,000 people marched through Hungary,” and 70,000 of them came from Afghanistan. Despite the size of the influx and the absence of genuine refugees, Western Europe and the United States lectured Hungarians on their obligations.
Ambassador Szabó recalled that he was on a conference with Angela Merkel during which the German Chancellor said Hungary must of course defend the borders of Europe and enforce immigration laws. As a country on the border of the Schengen Zone, Hungary had a legal duty to process asylum applications and check for phony claims. Yet only a few days later, Mrs. Merkel went before the media and declared all migrants would be welcome.
“Obviously, this was due to German domestic politics and she couldn’t go back from that,” said the ambassador. The result, as he described it, was chaos, as migrants swamped the Hungarian border with fake papers. Amazingly, joked the ambassador, every migrant had documentation saying he was born on January 1, 1970 and came from Mosul.
Ambassador Szabó accused Western media of covering up the truth about what was happening. “Journalists in Germany—we were told this by journalists—were told not to use the word ‘migrant’ and to use the word ‘refugee.’ ” He also said photographers were told to focus on the few women and children in the columns. Ambassador Szabó claimed Western newspapers such as the Washington Post refused to allow the Hungarian government to respond to biased coverage.
Ambassador Szabó defended his country’s security fence as absolutely necessary, and claimed it had dramatically reduced the number of illegal entries and enabled authorities to capture those who did enter.
Ambassador Szabó suggested many in Western Europe are envious of Hungary, and told of a businessman in Stockholm who asked how to apply for asylum in Hungary because “life is unbearable here.” He rejected claims that Hungary is anti-Semitic, noting that he had had lunch with members of a Hungarian Jewish organization that day. He contrasted the safety of Hungarian Jews with the violence Jews face in such places as Paris.
While the Western media continue to slam Hungary, Ambassador Szabó said the peaceful state of the country speaks for itself: “Since 1956, there have been no terrorist attacks, no women have been harassed by migrants, and there has been no pressure on our social system.” He also stated that Hungary’s critics in Western Europe were not serious about helping refugees, since studies show it is far more cost effective to help them overseas rather than relocate them to the West. Blasting Hungary may make critics feel virtuous, but providing for refugees in neighboring countries does more good.
The ambassador also spoke about his country’s State Secretariat dedicated to helping persecuted Christians, and claimed that foreign aid is most effective when it is given to overseas churches. He said he hoped the American government would show more interest in defending Christians overseas, and praised Vice President Mike Pence’s recent speech blasting Christian persecution.
Perhaps most remarkably from an American or Western European perspective, Ambassador Szabó unapologetically described his government’s investments in its own people. He noted with pride that under Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, the divorce rate has fallen and the birth rate has risen. Part of this, the ambassador suggested, comes from the government’s pro-natalist policies. “If you have three kids, you basically pay no taxes,” he said, noting that the government has a variety of programs to encourage larger families.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the ambassador gave what could be called an identitarian defense of Hungary’s government. “The fact that we have been a Christian country for over 1,000 years matters,” he said. “This is our identity, this is our history. We don’t live in the past, but if you don’t have a past, you have nothing to build on. That is why we believe our identity, our culture, our religion are very important.”
During the question period, Ambassador Szabó mentioned George Soros as one of the top external threats to Hungary. He claimed that “we have proof” Mr. Soros is pushing mass immigration into Europe. The ambassador also said that a proposal to redefine migration as a human right was “absolutely stupid.”
Ambassador Szabó expressed cautious optimism. He said that when Hungary first built its security fence, Austria’s chancellor denounced it as something akin to the “darkest chapter of our continent’s history.” Yet in the most recent election, Austria’s nationalists scored a decisive victory. The ambassador suggested that the European mainstream is now moving closer to Hungary, and that this trend will continue as more people are forced to live with the disastrous consequences of immigration.
However, the ambassador did not downplay the dangers still facing Hungary from the European Union. He noted President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker’s recent tribute to Karl Marx, adding, “One hundred million people died because of Karl Marx!” Ambassador Szabó also cited a disturbing incident when he and several aides visited the Library of Congress. Its director attacked his government, saying, “Immigration made America great.” Ambassador Szabó joked that the director must not be familiar with what actually happened at Ellis Island: Immigrants who were judged sick or unable to contribute to the country were kept out.
Ambassador Szabó conceded that Hungary has a humanitarian obligation to help genuine asylum seekers, but argued that people who come to Europe looking for welfare do not qualify. “We are not mandated to accept a wave of political or economic problems,” he said.
The Hungarian ambassador noted regretfully that religious attendance is declining among the young and that Hungary can call itself only the fourth or fifth most Catholic country in Europe. The Church, he suggested, must “rejuvenate itself and become more relevant.” By this, he appeared to be suggesting the Church become more favorable to expressions of nationalism and patriotism.
Finally, Ambassador Szabó touched on his government’s relationship with the United States. Though Prime Minister Orbán was, in the ambassador’s phrase, “the only leader who supported Donald Trump” during the 2016 campaign, the two leaders have yet to have a private meeting. The ambassador suggested such a meeting would be coming soon. He also expressed hope that new secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, would take a friendlier stand towards Hungary, especially by reversing the American government’s subsidies to opposition media. He slammed allegations that Hungary is somehow hostile to freedom of the press, claiming that the Hungarian press is usually biased in favor of the opposition.
Ambassador Szabó’s speech was startlingly radical to American ears. His forthright defense of Hungary’s culture and identity and the duty of the government to safeguard them is very different from American conservative mush about “limited government” and “individualism.” His emphasis on Christianity as an aid to nationhood would probably offend American conservatives who think religion is simply a choice for atomized individuals. Hungary’s pro-natalist policies sound attractive, but in multiracial America, they could be destructive.
In short, Ambassador Szabó spoke for a country that puts its own people first. This should be what any government does; for most of human history, it would have been taken for granted. It is only in this age that common-sense policies are regarded as radical. A speech from an official of a real national government of a real country sounds shocking only because younger Americans have never heard such a thing.
The primary purpose of any government is to secure the nation. The nation is a people, not a piece of paper or a line on a map, and racial identity helps define that people. Ambassador Szabó’s speech was a rebuke to an entire system based on delusion. That is why you are unlikely to read about it anywhere but in American Renaissance.
The full video of the speech is below. A transcript is available here.