CPAC Hungary begins with Orbán sharing his recipe for success

May 19. 2022. – 01:39 PM


CPAC Hungary begins with Orbán sharing his recipe for success
Viktor Orbán speaking at CPAC Hungary on 19 May 2022 in Budapest – Photo: Zoltán Fisher / The Prime Minister's Press Office /MTI


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On Thursday morning, the conservative gathering called CPAC Hungary began in Budapest. The Hungarian mini-version of the American right’s annual superconference started with a speech by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

“I know that you deserve a better speech than the one you are about to hear” – Orbán began. He remarked that it’s always good when one can speak among friends, and mentioned that a few days ago he introduced his fifth government. Then he went on to talk about communists, postcommunists, liberals, the LMBTQ propaganda, and the secret of his success.

„We’ve come a long way. In the 1980’s we read about what’s going on in America in illegally distributed pamphlets”, and today the Americans are here with us, Hungarians. In Orbán’s opinion back then the Hungarians were jealous of the American’s right to free speech, of President Reagan, because “all we had then were the communist functionaries in gray suits”. He said that Americans who have seen the TV series Chernobyl know exactly what he is talking about.

He commented that he can add to today’s event by telling the story of how they won – at first against the communists, and then at the recent parliamentary elections. In other words: “how a few enthusiastic university students brought down a dictatorship and broke the liberals’ hold on opinion”, as well as “how Hungary became the bastion of conservative Christian values in Europe”.

“We grew up in a woke-world, but in our case, critical race theory was called scientific socialism”, and it was even taught at university” – Orbán said. Then he brought up a joke about a Soviet-era joke competition where the person who placed third won a three-year trip to Siberia, the second-placed won the same trip, but only for a year, while the winner got to stay there for the rest of their lives.

Hungarians, however, rebelled against this, which resulted in the Russians leaving and the communists losing power. He said that in spite of this, the liberals sided with the postcommunists at the first chance they got, and they joined forces against the right. According to Orbán, nowadays it is the left who determines what is right and what isn’t, they are in possession of the dominant positions in media, and they are the ones producing high culture and mass culture.

Orbán’s recipe

When talking about their most recent election victory and the country’s current condition he said: “we have finished our experiment of the principle of progressive dominance, the recipe is complete, and this April 3rd, we received the fourth dosage. The patient is completely healed”.

He went on to share the recipe of his success with the audience. He summarized the secret in twelve points:

  1. Play by your own rules, and do not accept the way imposed by others, do not be discouraged no matter what names they are calling you.
  2. The second important point according to Orbán is the principle of national conservatism in politics, including support for families and churches. The Prime Minister said that one should listen to families, listen to the people. When they said, "Viktor, build that fence", three months later, the border fence was up” – he said, referring to the fence along Hungary’s border with Serbia built at the time of the 2015 migration crisis.
  3. The third point is "the national interest in foreign policy". Orbán said this is not always easy, because foreign policy is a difficult world. Even now, for example, there is a war raging in Hungary's neighbourhood. Orbán condemns the Russian aggressor and is helping Ukraine, "even though we know that Hungary would not be defended by Ukraine (what silliness) if it came to that. Hungary will be defended by NATO," he said.
  4. The fourth point is: "Have your own media. It's the only way to point out the insanity of the progressive left," Orbán said, adding that those who taught these reporters at universities are progressive leftists themselves. The prime minister also said that party politics and the media should not mix.
  5. Point five is: "Expose your opponents' intentions". Orbán says you have to be a taboo-buster – like Donald Trump, for example – and here in Hungary, Orbán and his party have been exposing the left before it could even act. This is what they have done, for example, with "LGBTQ propaganda, which is still new in our country, but we have already destroyed it". Orbán said that the left attacked the Fidesz government's plans (like the “child protection” referendum) against their propaganda, but in the end the left was exposed and they were forced to defend themselves.
  6. Point six is “economic rationality” – creating a work-based society, because people want to work.
  7. “Don’t be pushed to the sidelines” – is point seven. In Orbán’s opinion there is absolutely no difference between the extreme right-wing's denial of science and the LGBTQ groups' denial of biology. If someone listens to them, they might end up sidelined and thus lose votes.
  8. Point eight is: “Read every day, because a book a day keeps defeat away” – Orbán said.
  9. “Have faith. Because the absence of faith is dangerous” – this is Orbán’s ninth point. In his opinion, the person who does not believe that there will be a final reckoning before God will think that they can do anything they want. “ I heeded the words of the prophet Isaiah” – he said.
  10. "Look for friends" is point ten. "If we want to succeed in politics, we should never look at what we disagree on with each other, but we should look for common ground instead," Orbán said. He brought up the Vatican as an example, which he said is one of Hungary's strongest allies: they agree for example, on the fact that the father is a man and the mother a woman, but disagree on illegal migration, yet they can work together.
  11. Point eleven is: “Build communities”. There is no conservative success without a functioning community and “the more communities we build, the more votes we will receive” – Orbán said.
  12. “Build institutions” – these are indispensable for successful politics, because politicians come and go, but the institutions stay with us for generations – Orbán said in point twelve.
Photo: Zoltán Fischer / The Prime Minister's Press Office / MTI
Photo: Zoltán Fischer / The Prime Minister's Press Office / MTI

In his opinion, the world is going through huge changes and “the destructive ideologies, fascism and communism both originated in the West”. Today, the progressives are threatening the entire Western civilization – he said.

Meanwhile, Hungary has work to do with the EU, “with the faceless bureaucrats, the progressive liberals, the marxists intoxicated with the woke-dreams, and the people of George Soros. But we must take back our institutions in Brussels” – he said.

According to Orbán, 2024 is going to be a crucial year, as that’s when the next presidential elections will be held in the United States, and Hungary will have its elections for the European Parliament. There are two years left for preparing. “There is no secret weapon, we simply have to do it. Let’s go and get it done! Thanks and good luck!" – Orbán concluded his speech and was followed by thundering applause.

Who's here and who isn't

When the event Orbán spoke at this morning was first announced, several Hungarian news outlets and the organizers themselves claimed that the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, would be held in Hungary, which would have been a big deal, since it is the most important annual gathering of the American right, attended by tens of thousands of conservative activists and politicians.

But that's not at all what is expected at the conference in Budapest during the next two days. The Hungarian event will be a mini edition of the "big CPAC" on the road. CPAC Hungary is not CPAC's only satellite event abroad; conferences have been held in Australia, Brazil, Japan and South Korea before. However, Budapest will be the first mini-CPAC to be held in Europe.

The biggest difference between the original CPAC and the Budapest version is that the latter is not attended by any influential Republican politicians.

Another important difference is that while the original event is attended by tens of thousands of conservative activists, the Hungarian event is practically invitation-only – although parts of it are being streamed live.

The biggest names which were originally announced, but are in the end not attending the conference, were those of former US president Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen, presidential nominee of France’s National Rally party. According to the programme, even Fox News’ star host Tucker Carlson (the Fox News host known for his racist remarks and spreading disinformation after the latest US elections) and British politician Nigel Farage will only be addressing the attendees via a video connection.

Other online speakers include Santiago Abascal, president of the Spanish far right party Vox, Eduardo Bolsonaro, son of the Brazilian president, and Donald Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows, whose role at the time the US Capitol was overrun is still being examined.

Perhaps the biggest name among those who have actually come to Hungary is Rick Santorum – although he hasn’t been overly influential in the American Republican Party since 2012. In 2016, when he ran in the preliminaries for the second time, he suspended his candidacy following the Iowa Caucus when he did not even get one percent of the votes. After this he became a political commentator representing the Republican viewpoint on CNN, but he was fired a year ago after making racist remarks about the American Indians.

Other speakers will include former Czech president Václav Klaus, Herbert Kickl, president of the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) and Tom Van Grieken, leader of the Belgian party Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest), as well as American right-wing influencers Ben Ferguson and Candace Owens.

Some of the main topics listed in the schedule of CPAC Hungary are “Western civilization is in danger”, “The father is male, the mother is female” or “Cultural wars in media”.

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The translation of this article was made possible by our cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation.