Good news for a change: the Budapest Demographic Summit
The world is awash with disturbing news: war in Ukraine, war in Israel, Europe going down the tubes, RFK Jr running as an independent (how dare he?). While World War III could well be upon us, the most grievously underreported story — an event that essentially never was in US media — occurred in the little country that could. That occasion was the Budapest Demographic Summit, a gathering of global significance. What could be more important than the continuation of the species?
This was the fifth biennial Budapest Demographic Summit, held from September 14-16. While Hungary’s fertility crisis is like that of many countries, their avidly pro-family government understands that it will take more than a few family-friendly fellow countrymen to stave off extinction. So they’ve taken the initiative and reached out to pro-natalists worldwide.
Like previous Summits, the confab at the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts was teeming with kindred spirits. Among them were Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant church leaders, as well as Muslims and Jews. The star-studded lineup included Canada’s Dr Jordan Peterson, Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, Serbian president Aleksandar Vučić, Tanzanian Vice President Philip Isdor Mpango, and Dr Sahiba Gafarova, Chair of the Azeri National Assembly.
There were also government representatives from Turkey, Kazakhstan and Qatar. America’s Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics, James J. Heckman, made the trip. The Summit was a thoroughly multicultural gathering, pro-family to the core. Multicultural and pro-family? Sure – though possibly confusing to a gender studies professor.
Dr Peterson, as usual, captivated the crowd with plain-spoken common sense, saying that a “long-term, monogamous, child-centric relationship should be the ideal goal for everyone in society…”
Another rock star was Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni. Introducing Ms Meloni, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán commented:
We thought Italy would never have a patriotic, family-loving, Christian government again.
It is important for children to have a father and a mother.
Freedom without authority descends into chaos, and authority without freedom becomes authoritarianism.
No wonder the PC types want him cancelled.
While PM Orbán’s introduction was a hard act to follow, PM Meloni was more than up to the task. She spoke with her usual passion, exhorting that children and families should be “top priority” for governments. She also noted that the now half-century-plus birth dearth is unprecedented, something not previously triggered even by war and economic depression. Ms. Meloni said that all of Europe needs to wake up to the crisis.
How did Hungary become the global epicentre of pro-family activism?
Hungary’s ‘big guy’
He’s the strong man; autocrat; dictator; xenophobe. Such is the deluge of disparagement rained down upon the planet’s most pro-family leader, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. He is the legitimate ‘big guy’ in Hungary – unlike the ‘big guy’ in Biden-speak.
Mr Orbán understands that demography is destiny. He wants to secure the destiny of his people, that European tribe commonly known as Hungarians.
For more than a millennium, the Magyars have lived in Europe’s Carpathian Basin. They don’t want to move elsewhere, and they don’t want those from elsewhere to displace them.
So rather than take the coward’s way out, nullify the nation and inundate their country with cheap labour through hari-kari open-border immigration, they’ve decided to give it a go and try to replace themselves. As yours truly once said, “Orbán wants Hungarians to run the country, do the work, and sire the next generation.”
That’s Hungary for Hungarians. Sounds reasonable to me. It is also why Mr. Orbán is both so popular at home and so detested abroad by small-minded minions of modernity.
Given national fertility statistics from the past few years, pro-family folks have reason to take encouragement from Hungary. However, the path to replacement-level fertility is not a steady linear progression. Some years are better than others. So many factors are involved.
But the PM is a man on a mission and has emerged as the planet’s most high-profile family-friendly world leader. Yes, this is frowned upon by globalist types. The attacks are constant. Mr Orbán’s reaction? “[T]hat only makes us tougher. There will be no change. If anyone thinks that they can achieve change by pressing for it and exerting pressure, they do not know Hungarians.” I like this guy.
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Mr Orbán is not one to rest on his laurels. Forging ahead, at the Summit he announced another phase of pro-family reforms, a “family policy 2.0” policy. The English-language Budapest Times deemed it sufficiently significant to lead with the headline: “Government to draft ‘family policy 2.0 programme.”
Speaking about Hungary’s demographic policy, the prime minister listed five goals. Those include promoting the advantages of raising children, government incentives supporting home-building, giving mothers priority “as the pillars of family policy,” turning the entire country’s operation into a family-friendly direction and protecting families with laws…
“We would normally not admit it, but in Hungary, women keep the families together,” Orbán said and praised women for their achievements. He said the most important teaching of Hungarian family policy is that “if you want a future for your country, you must support mothers.”
Women keeping families together? How manifestly misogynist! Did I say I like that guy?
There’s an old saying that behind every great man is a great woman. If PM Orbán is the “great man,” Hungarian President and mother of three Katalin Novák is the “great woman.” A veritable force of nature, Ms Novák is pro-natalist on steroids, the great idea person, and has done much of the heavy lifting to make Hungary a family-friendly country. Before being elected President, she served as Hungary’s Minister of Family Affairs. Yes, there is an entire government ministry devoted to family affairs. That speaks volumes.
Ms. Novák, recalling the Twelve Points of the 1848 Hungarian revolutionaries, knocked it out of the park by presenting “the 12 points of the Hungarian families’ freedom fight.” Here they are:
- We must have the freedom to raise our children, free from harmful ideologies.
- We cannot allow our children to be deprived of their sense of safety based on their sense of self-identity. (She was clearly referring to confusing gender theories being taught to children in some Western countries.)
- We must have pro-family decision-makers in power.
- Hungary must not give its consent to anti-family decisions on international matters.
- Safety for our families: our kindergartens, schools, villages, cities, country, and borders must remain safe.
- Adequate opportunities for those with children: we must not let those who choose to have children be worse off than those who do not; we must not let someone having a child risk being dragged into poverty.
- We must not let finances get in the way of having children.
- We must have respect for the elderly.
- We must provide real freedom of choice for women; we must keep them from having to choose between having a family or a career.
- We must help the youth in finding housing for themselves.
- We must have a competitive public education, vocational education, higher education, and public health care system.
- We must pay attention to the Hungarian families living beyond our borders.
The President of Hungary means business. It would be wonderful to see ideas like this coming from top officials in Washington and elsewhere.
Hungary is a Western government that is deadly serious about prioritising the health and welfare of families. However, those who benefit from the status quo are not willing to change. So don’t expect the West’s woke political class to lift a finger for the family. PM Orbán understands this: “We have no chance of persuading the current progressive, liberal elites to see reason, so we simply have to push them aside.” I do like that guy.
Ms Novák summed up matters at the Summit by saying that what is needed most in Hungarian society is “family-centric thinking.” How true.
On a recent trip to the US, she met with tech titan Elon Musk.
[T]he meeting between Musk and Novák could be a precursor to potential future collaborations or dialogues. Their interaction signals the recognition of the gravity of demographic issues by influential figures in technology and politics. It also highlights the potential for technological solutions to contribute to addressing these challenges.
Unfortunately, Mr Musk was unable to attend the Budapest gathering. But as far as pro-natalism is concerned, Mr Musk is one of us.
The task ahead
President Novák said Hungary is “the Mecca of family-focused thinking.” If it isn’t already obvious, the latest Budapest Demographic Summit signals that the pro-family movement has truly gone global. That explains why so many church, state and academic leaders made the trek to Budapest. Ms Novák:
The pillars of our lives, the foundations of our Christian culture, are cracking and crumbling, and if we do not take care of our values, which we believe to be inviolable, we will sacrifice ourselves before we become victims of the coming ice age.
Pro-family folks understand that saving the species is a formidable task, not for the faint of heart. Hungary is leading the way. That is huge. Pro-family activists are increasingly bonding across national boundaries, religions, races, cultures and systems of government. Why? Because saving the family is not a political issue. It is pre-political, the fundamental bedrock of civilisation. Thus September’s Budapest Demographic Summit is telling us to think globally, act locally. That is how to win.
The Summit is proof positive that the family-friendly movement has global appeal. Maybe one day a comparable conference will take place in Washington, Moscow or Beijing. We’re all in this together. Preserving the family transcends all else.
That is some good news for a change.
Thank you, Hungary!
Louis T. March has a background in government, business, and philanthropy. A former talk show host, author, and public speaker, he is a dedicated student of history and genealogy. Louis lives with his family in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
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