The Vision Of Viktor Orbán
Late last week, the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban gave a long, off-the-cuff discourse to a large group of Hungarians gathered in what used to be Hungarian-owned Transylvania (now part of Romania). I wasn't there, but I heard from friends who were that his remarks were very strong. (If you speak Hungarian, here is the YouTube link to his address.) This morning someone present sent me a full transcript. This is as clear a portrait of Orban's vision of where the West is today, and where his country fits into it, as I've seen. In a couple of weeks, PM Orban will be in Dallas to keynote CPAC Texas. My guess is that a lot of what's in that Transylvania talk will find its way into the Dallas one.
Let's hit some highlights. Here is Viktor Orban:
When one observes the world, what is most striking is that the data suggests that it is an increasingly better place; and yet we feel the opposite to be true. Life expectancy has reached seventy years of age, and in Europe it is eighty. In the past thirty years child mortality has fallen by a third. In 1950 the world malnutrition level stood at 50 per cent, while now it is at 15 per cent. In 1950 the proportion of the world’s population living in poverty was 70 per cent, and in 2020 it was only 15 per cent. Across the world, the literacy rate has risen to 90 per cent. In 1950 the average working week was 52 hours long, but this has fallen to 40 hours per week today, with leisure time increasing from 30 hours to 40 hours. I could continue the list at length.
And yet the general feeling is that the world is steadily deteriorating. The news, the tone of the news, is getting ever darker. And there is a kind of doomsday view of the future that is growing in strength. The question is this: Is it possible that millions of people simply misunderstand what is happening to them? My answer to this phenomenon is that this winter of our discontent is a fundamentally Western attitude to life, which stems from the fact that Western civilisation is losing its power, its performance, its authority, its capacity to act. This is an argument that the západniks – that is to say, the natural born Westernisers – tend to sneer at: they say that it is boring, that Spengler wrote that the West was in decline yet it is still here, and that whenever we can we send our children to universities in the West, not the East. “So there is no great problem here.” But the reality is that a hundred years ago, when there was talk of the decline of the West, they were referring to spiritual and demographic decline. What we are seeing today, however, is the decline of the Western world’s power and material resources. I need to say a few words about this to enable us to accurately understand the situation we are in.
It is important that we understand that other civilisations – the Chinese, the Indian, let’s say the Orthodox world, and even Islam – have also undergone a process of modernisation. And we see that rival civilisations have adopted Western technology and have mastered the Western financial system, but they have not adopted Western values – and they have absolutely no intention of adopting them. Nevertheless, the West wants to spread its own values, which is something that the rest of the world feels to be humiliating. This is something which we understand, as sometimes we also feel the same way. I recall an episode in the life of our Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, some time around 2014, under a previous US administration. A visiting US government official casually pushed a sheet of paper in front of him and simply said that the Hungarian Constitution should be amended on the points it contained, after which friendship would be restored. So we understand this resistance from the rest of the world to the West’s propagation of values, to its export of democracy. In fact I suspect that the rest of the world has realised that it needs to modernise precisely because it is the only way to resist the export of Western values that are alien to it.
Can you believe that? That the Obama administration wanted to force the Hungarians to change their constitution to suit American values, as the price of normalizing good relations? I can believe it, certainly. Anyway, Orban goes on to talk about the material losses:
The most painful thing about this loss of territory, this loss of power and material territory, is that we in the West have lost control over energy carriers. In 1900 [corrected from “1990”] the United States and Europe controlled 90 per cent of all oil, natural gas and coal supplies. By 1950 this figure had dropped to 75 per cent, and today the situation is as follows: the US and Europe together control 35 per cent, with the US controlling 25 per cent, while we control 10 per cent; the Russians control 20 per cent; and the Middle East controls 30 per cent. And the situation is the same with raw materials. In the early 1900s the US, the British and the Germans held a considerable proportion of the raw materials needed for modern industry. After the Second World War the Soviets stepped in; and today we see that these raw materials are held by Australia, Brazil and China – with 50 per cent of Africa’s total raw material exports going to China. But looking to the future, what we see does not look very good either. In 1980 the US and the Soviet Union dominated the supply of most of the rare earths that are the basic materials for industries built on modern technology. Today the Chinese are producing five times more than the US and sixty times more than the Russians. This means that the West is losing the battle for materials. If we want to understand the state of the world, if we want to understand the state of the Westerner in the world, our starting point must be that much of the world’s energy carriers and energy resources lie outside Western civilisation. These are the hard facts.
Here Orban discusses the hypocrisy of the United States, attacking Russia for using energy policy (oil and natural gas) as a foreign-policy weapon, when the US in fact has been doing exactly this:
Within this our situation – Europe’s situation – is doubly difficult. This is the reason that the United States has the strategy that it has. The year 2013 is one that has not been noted or written down anywhere by anyone. But this was the year in which the Americans launched new technologies for extracting raw materials and energy – for simplicity’s sake, let us call it the fracking method of energy extraction. They immediately announced a new US security policy doctrine. I quote from it, it runs as follows. This new technology, they said, would put them in a stronger position to pursue and achieve their international security objectives. In other words, America made no secret of the fact that it would use energy as a foreign policy weapon. The fact that others are being accused of this should not deceive us.
It follows from this that the Americans are pursuing a bolder sanctions policy, as we are seeing in the shadow of the current Russo-Ukrainian war; and they have set about strongly encouraging their allies – in other words us – to buy supplies from them. And it is working: the Americans are able to impose their will because they are not dependent on energy from others; they are able to exert hostile pressure because they control the financial networks – let’s call them switches for simplicity – for sanctions policy; and they are also able to exert friendly pressure, meaning that they can persuade their allies to buy from them. A weaker version of this policy was seen when President Trump first visited Poland, when he just talked about the need for them to buy “freedom gas”. This US strategy has only now, in 2022, been complemented with the sanctions policy. This is where we are now, and it would not surprise me if uranium, nuclear energy, were soon to be included in this sphere.
That passage reminded me of sitting in my Budapest apartment a week or two after the Ukraine war started. I watched Russian propaganda on my laptop, from RT, and knew I was being propagandized. Then I turned CNN on via cable TV, and ... knew I was being propagandized by my own side. But it ain't propaganda when we do it, right?
Now we come to what to me is the most important part of the talk: Orban's cultural vision. I saw on Twitter some left-wing agita over Orban saying that he didn't want Hungary to be a "mixed-race society." A concerned friend asked me what he meant by that. I told the friend that I do not trust Western reports, that I would need to see the transcript myself. Well, here is the remark, and its context:
Following this, allow me to say something about us Hungarians. What questions must Hungary and the Hungarian nation answer today, how and in what order must we answer them? These questions are like the layers of a dobostorta [Hungarian layered sponge cake], stacked on top of each other: the most important at the bottom, the lighter and tastier morsels on top. This is the order that I will follow now.
The first and most important challenge, Dear Friends, continues to be population, or demography. The fact is that there are still far more funerals than baptisms. Whether we like it or not, the peoples of the world can be divided into two groups: those that are capable of biologically maintaining their numbers; and those that are not, which is the group that we belong to. Our situation has improved, but there has not been a turnaround. This is the alpha and omega of everything: if there is no turnaround, sooner or later we will be displaced from Hungary, and we will be displaced from the Carpathian Basin.
This is something that the liberal West cannot bear to imagine: that its people might cease to exist in their homeland. No people anywhere have ever welcomed that -- except liberal Westerners, who are so full of self-hatred they are talking themselves into their surrender and annihilation.
The second challenge is migration, which you could call population replacement or inundation. There is an outstanding 1973 book on this issue which was written in French, and recently published in Hungary. It is called “The Camp of the Saints” [Le Camp des Saints], and I recommend it to anyone who wants to understand the spiritual developments underlying the West’s inability to defend itself.
Migration has split Europe in two – or I could say that it has split the West in two. One half is a world where European and non-European peoples live together. These countries are no longer nations: they are nothing more than a conglomeration of peoples. I could also say that it is no longer the Western world, but the post-Western world. And around 2050, the laws of mathematics will lead to the final demographic shift: cities in this part of the continent – or that part – will see the proportion of residents of non-European origin rising to over 50 per cent of the total. And here we are in Central Europe – in the other half of Europe, or of the West. If it were not somewhat confusing, I could say that the West – let’s say the West in its spiritual sense – has moved to Central Europe: the West is here, and what is left over there is merely the post-West.
A battle is in progress between the two halves of Europe. We made an offer to the post-Westerners which was based on tolerance or leaving one another in peace, allowing each to decide for themselves whom they want to live alongside; but they reject this and are continuing to fight against Central Europe, with the goal of making us like them. I shall leave to one side the moral commentary they attach to this – after all, this is such a lovely morning. There is now less talk about migration, but, believe me, nothing has changed: Brussels, reinforced with Soros-affiliated troops, simply wants to force migrants on us.
They have also taken us to court over the Hungarian border defence system, and they have delivered a verdict against us. For a number of reasons not much can be said about this now, but we have been pronounced guilty. If it were not for the Ukrainian refugee crisis they would have started to enforce this judgment on us, and how that situation plays out will be accompanied by a great deal of suspense. But now war has broken out and we are receiving arrivals from Ukraine, and so this issue has been put aside – they have not taken it off the agenda, but just put it to one side.
It is important that we understand them. It is important that we understand that these good people over there in the West, in the post-West, cannot bear to wake up every morning and find that their days – and indeed their whole lives – are poisoned by the thought that all is lost. So we do not want to confront them with this day and night. All we ask is that they do not try to impose on us a fate which we do not see as simply a fate for a nation, but as its nemesis. This is all we ask, and no more.
Very strong words -- but truthful ones. Viktor Orban knows what the leaders of Western Europe cannot bring themselves to face: that the future of the West is in doubt now because of mass migration from the non-Western, non-Christian world, happening at the same time as the collapse of the West spiritually and morally. He says that the borders of "the West" now fall between Central Europe (Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and others in the post-Communist bloc) and the West -- precisely because the former Communist countries are not yet overrun with demographic outsiders. I gave an interview a couple of months back to a Western journalist, in which I told him that there is a good reason that Hungary doesn't have a problem with anti-Semitic violence: because Hungary does not accept large numbers of Muslim immigrants. He was shocked that I said so -- not because it's a lie, but because I bet he had never allowed himself to confront this fact.
The European Union's own survey shows that most anti-Semitic acts in the EU are committed by Muslims, followed by left-wing extremists. Right-wing extremists are in third place. Did you know that? I bet you didn't. The European governing establishment prefers to keep quiet about that, because it destroys their open-borders liberal globalism. Do you know who has spend much of his fortune trying to compel Hungary to open its borders to Islamic migrants? George Soros. This is why Hungary is both the most anti-Soros country in Europe, and the one safest for Jews.
Here Viktor Orban grabs the third rail and gives it an Indian burn:
In such a multi-ethnic context, there is an ideological feint here that is worth talking about and focusing on. The internationalist left employs a feint, an ideological ruse: the claim – their claim – that Europe by its very nature is populated by peoples of mixed race. This is a historical and semantic sleight of hand, because it conflates two different things. There is a world in which European peoples are mixed together with those arriving from outside Europe. Now that is a mixed-race world.
And there is our world, where people from within Europe mix with one another, move around, work, and relocate. So, for example, in the Carpathian Basin we are not mixed-race: we are simply a mixture of peoples living in our own European homeland. And, given a favourable alignment of stars and a following wind, these peoples merge together in a kind of Hungaro-Pannonian sauce, creating their own new European culture. This is why we have always fought: we are willing to mix with one another, but we do not want to become peoples of mixed-race. This is why we fought at Nándorfehérvár/Belgrade, this is why we stopped the Turks at Vienna, and – if I am not mistaken – this is why, in still older times – the French stopped the Arabs at Poitiers.
Today the situation is that Islamic civilisation, which is constantly moving towards Europe, has realised – precisely because of the traditions of Belgrade/Nándorfehérvár – that the route through Hungary is an unsuitable one along which to send its people up into Europe. This is why Poitiers has been replayed; now the incursion’s origins are not in the East, but in the South, from where they are occupying and flooding the West. This might not yet be a very important task for us, but it will be for our children, who will need to defend themselves not only from the South, but also from the West. The time will come when we have to somehow accept Christians coming to us from there and integrate them into our lives.
This has happened before; and those whom we do not want to let in will have to be stopped at our western borders – Schengen or no Schengen. But this is not the task of the moment, and not a task for our lifetime. Our task is solely to prepare our children to be able to do this. As [House Speaker] László Kövér has said in an interview, we must make sure that good times do not create weak men, and that those weak men do not bring hard times upon our people.
See, this is why I am glad I waited to read the full context of Orban's remarks before I reacted against the "mixed race" line. He is clearly not talking about genetics, but about culture. He said, "in the Carpathian Basin we are not mixed-race: we are simply a mixture of peoples living in our own European homeland." This would not have been a true statement one thousand years ago, when the Magyars arrived in the Carpathian Basin. But it is today. What Orban is saying is that Europeans want to live with and mix among other Europeans, because that is what keeps the peace. He is using the term "race" as a symbol of religion and culture (and I wish he would not have done that, because it makes it hard to explain what he means). Orban is saying that if Europe continues to allow mass migration from the Islamic world, the religion of Europe for 1,500 years will be displaced, and with it, the culture. He is not putting down non-European religions or cultures; he is only saying that if we want to keep what we have, we cannot have mass migration.
Is there any more obvious geopolitical truth than that? Is there a more obvious truth that the Left and the establishment Right cannot accept? See, the Left is so caught up in its self-hatred that it condemns people of European ancestry when they move into black neighborhoods ("gentrification!"), and when they move away from black neighborhoods ("white flight!"). The only core principle driving the left is that whatever white Europeans do must be evil. As Orban wisely understands, no civilization on earth believes what the West is selling. All these other civilizations believe in themselves. As they should! We in the modern West are totally abnormal. We think we are free from history.
Notice the bluntness of Orban's historically-informed words: Europe will have to once again defend itself from Islamic invasion, though the real fight will fall to the grandchildren of the current leadership. And notice this: he says that this time, the Islamic invasion will also come from the West -- and Hungarians should prepare themselves to receive Christian refugees from Western Europe, and integrate them into the life of the Hungarian nation.
Hungary is not "anti-immigrant". It is receiving Ukrainian refugees, and finding work for them. It is against allowing in a population that does not share the ancestral religion of the Magyars (or Judaism, which has been in Hungary for as long as there has been a Hungary). In fact, Hungary specifically rejects Islamic migration, not out of any special hatred for Muslims, but because Hungary once lived under Islamic occupation, and knows what that is like. Hungary actually has exceptionally good relations with Turkey, and would not expect that Islamic country to fling its doors wide open to non-Muslim migration. Why should they?
This is very hard for Americans to grasp, in large part because we are a nation of immigrants. Assimilation is relatively easily accomplished in the US. But this is emphatically not true for Muslims in Europe. There are several reasons for it. For one, unlike the US, where geography means that Islamic immigration is a matter of allowing in more educated Muslims, in Europe this is not the case. For another, it's hard for anybody to assimilate to European life. The ways of life are so deep here. A Frenchman can move to America, and before long he will be accepted as American; I know this because I know many such Frenchmen. But an American, no matter how well he speaks French, and how much he loves France, will never be taken as a Frenchman in France. Other countries in Europe are like this too. This is simply a fact of life, and it is what gives these countries the kind of beauty and particularity that we admire. But that comes at a price, and that price is that it is much harder to assimilate.
(On the other hand, I have read recently that Turkish and Iranian migrants to Germany assimilate far better than those Muslims arriving from other countries. I would like to know if that is true, and if so, what accounts for it. It is certainly the case that the Muslim world is not one thing, any more than the Christian world is one thing.)
Anyway, it seems clear that Viktor Orban thinks that the West is lost, and that Hungarians in a few decades' time will be fighting for the survival of what remains of the West. He sees the task of Hungarians to prepare their children to defend the West. Last year, I wrote something here calling Viktor Orban "the leader of the West," and I've been mocked by progressives for that. I stand by it. He is the only national leader who can see the world for what it is, and who has the courage to say it plainly.
Finally, here is a passage about gender ideology. You may not be aware that the EU is slamming Hungary hard for its law forbidding the presentation of LGBT propaganda to minors. Of that, Orban said:
We are asking for another offer of tolerance: we do not want to tell them how they should live; we are just asking them to accept that in our country a father is a man and a mother is a woman, and that they leave our children alone. And we ask them to see to it that George Soros’s army also accepts this. It is important for people in the West to understand that in Hungary and in this part of the world this is not an ideological question, but quite simply the most important question in life. In this corner of the world there will never be a majority in favour of the Western lunacy – my apologies to everyone – that is being played out over there. Quite simply, Hungarians – or the sons of some other peoples – cannot get their heads around this. ...
American readers should understand how much a majority of the peoples of Central Europe -- Hungarians, Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, and Romanians -- resent the hell out of the US and Western European governments shoving LGBT down their throats. It is cultural imperialism, straight up. If you, American, believe yourself to be fighting for the natural family, understand that you (we) have lots of allies in this part of the world. You need to understand that America used to be seen as a land of freedom, and of goodness -- but now it is seen as a hostile, anti-Christian, and anti-family hegemon. I'm not kidding. I've had so many conversations in this part of the world with older people who lived through the Cold War, and are visibly confused and disheartened by what has happened to America. But we cannot live in the past. It is vital that we Americans understand now what our country stands for on the world stage, and why people who believe normal things about the family, about men and women, about Christianity, about the meaning of nations -- why they now look at America as increasingly hostile.
Orban again, speaking the truth about how the most important factors determining our future are gender ideology and migration:
So I ask you not to be misled, not to be deceived: there is a war, an energy crisis, an economic crisis and wartime inflation, and all of this is drawing a screen in front of our eyes, a screen between us and the issue of gender and migration. But in fact it is on these issues that the future will be decided. This is the great historic battle that we are fighting: demography, migration and gender. And this is precisely what is at stake in the battle between the Left and the Right.
I will not mention the name of a friendly country, but just refer to it. There is a country where the Left has won, and where one of its first measures has been to dismantle its border fence; and the second measure has been to recognise every “gender rule” – not only same-sex marriage, but also such couples’ right to adopt children. Let us not be fooled by current conflicts: these are the issues which will decide our future.
He's talking about Germany. Germany has decided for itself the way it wants to go: towards national decline and fall. Hungary has chosen an alternative path, and it is being made to suffer for it. Orban then pivots to talking about the importance of having allies. There's a lot more he said about the Ukraine war, but I'll save that for a separate post. Let me simply say here that I deeply hope that Viktor Orban talks about these things at CPAC, and that whoever runs for US president in 2024 on the GOP ticket will recognize that we need to be very close to Hungary and to Poland, and to any European nation that recognizes, as Orban does, that we are fighting for the future of the West -- whether we want to be or not.
As I see it, Viktor Orban is a Margaret Thatcher to some emerging Ronald Reagan. That is, he is an iconoclastic visionary politician of the Right who understands the current times, and what it takes for his nation -- and for our civilization -- not only to survive in them, but to thrive.
UPDATE: One more thing to understand about the "mixed-race" controversy. Hungary is a small nation of nine million, with a unique language and unique culture. They feel the precariousness of their own nation more than the French, Germans, or British do, because there are so few of them, and because nobody else speaks their language. You don't have to agree with the Hungarian viewpoint to understand why they feel so strongly about these things.
Also, I know that many of you will have some reaction to this post, but will not have bought a subscription to TAC, so will be unable to comment. If you wish to comment, send your remarks to me at rod -- at -- amconmag -- dot -- com, with the word "COMMENT" in the subject line. I can't promise to publish everything, but the longer and more substantive your comment, the greater the likelihood that I will post it as an update here.
UPDATE.2: I received a good letter from a friend who strongly opposes my quoting Orban favorably on migration and "mixed race". Let me be crystal-clear here: I, personally, see nothing at all wrong with "mixed race" people, and if Viktor Orban meant that he is against people dating or marrying across racial boundaries, then I strongly and emphatically disagree with him.
My sense -- and I could be wrong here -- is that he made a mistake like he did in 2014 using the term "illiberal democracy": he was talking about something within the realm of the reasonable (as he later explained, he meant the difference between secular democracy and Christian democracy), but used clumsy language to describe it, and thus spent many years having to clarify.
What I took him to mean -- as do the handful of Hungarian friends to whom I've spoken about this -- is that he is against open borders. In Germany, there is a big problem with migrant males from Islamic countries starting fights at public swimming pools and making life miserable there for ordinary people who just want to go swim. The German newspaper Bild reported on it the other day that it has become a crisis. I can't find an English-language version of that story, except on right-wing websites like this one:
The sheer number of violent acts at German outdoor swimming pools have alarmed the Federal Association of German Swimming Champions (BDS) to such an extent that its president, Peter Harzheim, has stated that he can no longer recommend that families visit the pools on the weekends.
Harzheim stated that he would be “acting irresponsibly” if he attended an outdoor pool with his own three grandchildren.
This warning comes after a mass brawl at a Berlin swimming pool involving nearly 100 migrants, in which a number of children were punched and kicked. A 10-year-old was injured in the incident, suffering a blow to his head during the melee.
The incident was caught on video and was widely reported on in the German media. Watch below:
The only English-language report about these recent incidents I could find was in the Times of London, which gingerly left out the kind of information that could lead you to identify who was causing the problem.
When I was in England last month, I overheard a little white girl, looking to be aged 10 or so, run up to her mother with her friend and say, "Mummy, an Asian man said hello to us on the street outside the Tesco!" I was shocked by that, and thought it was racist. A British friend said no, not necessarily: white girls are afraid of Asian men now (read: Pakistanis) because of the recurring problem of girls being lured or forced into rape gangs. This is not a new thing in the UK, nor is its being downplayed or ignored by the UK establishment and media (Douglas Murray was writing about this back in 2018).
This is insane. It is insane that there are no-go areas all over Paris, because of Islamic migrant violence. It is insane that on Saturday morning here in Vienna, I walked past a Jewish-owned shop, which was being guarded by an Austrian soldier -- and not only because of neo-Nazis. When I tell you that these things just don't happen in Orban's Hungary, the main reason is because of Hungary's migration policies. I wish Viktor Orban would use more careful language in talking about these things, but I would rather have an Orban crudely expressing himself than polite European leaders in other countries not doing a thing about it. David Frum, nobody's idea of a far-rightist, once wrote that if liberals won't face up to the problems with immigration and act accordingly, then they cede the landscape to right-wing politicians who will.
Orban approvingly cited the 1973 French dystopian thriller The Camp of the Saints. Back in 2015, on this site, I wrote that it is a racist book, a bad book, but a very important book to read. What prompted me to read it was the mass migration wave of that year -- one that Viktor Orban refused to allow Hungary to participate in. Back then, I quoted a report:
In the meantime, Orban, Hungary’s prime minister, has suggested a solution: Have the E.U. give $3.4 billion to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan to help improve services for refugees who are placed in camps in those areas. In an interview released Saturday in Germany’s Bild newspaper, Orban said, “These people do not come to Europe because they are looking for security, but they want a better life than in the camps.
“If Europe allows a competition of cultures, then the Christians will lose,” Orban continued. “These are the facts. The only way out for those who want to preserve Europe as a Christian culture is not always more Muslims let in!”
He was right then, and is right now: if you want a Christian Europe, you had better not let in all these migrants. Orban offered to help those displaced by war, but not allow them into Europe.
More from my 2015 post:
Accepting Third World migrants as an act of redemption. That is one of the main themes of Jean Raspail’s 1973 novel The Camp of the Saints, which I finished reading this weekend. It was a relief to reach the end of it. There is only one other book I can recall having finished, and having hated, but still being glad I read it, because I learned something from it: Sayyid Qutb’s condensed Islamist manifesto, Milestones.
The Camp of the Saints is a bad book, both aesthetically and morally. I was ambivalent about its moral status in the early parts of the book. I thought Raspail expressed himself more crudely than I would have done, but his cultural diagnosis struck me as having more merit than I anticipated, given the book’s notorious reputation. In the novel, a million-man armada of the wretched of the earth decide to sail to Europe from India, more or less daring the West to stop their migration. Most of the narrative focuses on how France prepares itself for the invasion.
Raspail, a traditionalist Catholic and far-rightist, draws in broad strokes a portrait of a France that has given up. All the country’s institutions and leaders across the board decide that it is the moral duty of all Frenchmen to welcome the armada with open arms. Raspail is at his satirical best mocking the sentimental liberal humanitarianism of the political, media, and clerical classes, all of whom look to the armada as a form of salvation, of redemption for the West’s sins.
Even a bad book may have something valuable to say to us. This is true of The Camp of the Saints. One aspect of the novel that I can’t shake off, though, is Raspail’s portrait of the migrants as not giving a damn about European civilization. It’s nothing personal; rather, they don’t believe they are coming to Europe as beggars who ought to be grateful for charity, but move as a mass that believes it is entitled to what the Europeans have. Europeans, by contrast, are, in the book, the ones who agonize over their civilization, whether it is worth defending, and what it means to be truly Western. The leaders in Camp of the Saints are not consciously surrendering, but rather they mask their cultural surrender with humanitarianism. They think that by flinging their doors open to the Third World masses, they are being good Westerners.
This is why the real villains in Raspail’s novel aren’t the migrants, but the European elites. He believes, it appears, that the Europeans ought to do whatever it takes to defend their civilization from the barbarian invasion. Raspail denounces contemporary France, though, as an exhausted civilization that is eager to be relieved of its burdens. To borrow a line from Cavafy, “those people, the barbarians, were a kind of solution.”
I wish Viktor Orban hadn't cited The Camp of the Saints either, but the brute facts on the ground would like a word with our morality. Steve Sailer calls this "the most important graph in the world":
Many of those Africans are not going to stay in Africa. Laszlo Veszpremy, a Hungarian academic, wrote in TAC earlier this summer that the day is coming when Viktor Orban will be seen as a liberal. Excerpts:
Of course, migration and immigration have always been present to some extent in the Western world and always will be. The question is not whether there will be immigration, but where migrants come from, whether they are young men only, and what cultural beliefs they will bring with them.
Even mere discussion of the social changes brought about by migration triggers the liberal media in both the U.S. and Europe. They see its mention as potential incitement to hatred, leading to horrific events such as the 2019 Christchurch massacre. Though all decent observers should be careful not to incite hatred, we would be fools to ignore the facts, which exist independently of how we feel about them.
The inconvenient facts of Europe’s migration crisis are these: First, the population of the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region will see drastic growth in the coming decades. Second, the MENA region is set to lose much of its drinking water and food sources. Third, advances in electric vehicles and renewable energy sources could soon rob the region of much of its GDP. All of this will prompt millions of people from this region to leave for Europe.
The confluence of these factors will dramatically affect Europe’s cultural and political milieu, and will do so in a way that legitimizes hardline European politicians of the right. Put another way, if you don’t like Viktor Orbán’s style of right-wing politics, wait till you see who comes after him.
Contrary to Merkel’s slogan, the E.U. has not even solved the integration of one million people. Today we can safely say that Merkel’s immigration policy has been a complete failure. While in 2022 “only” 12.6 percent of foreigners in Germany were unemployed (that’s more than a million people), 65 percent of Syrians were unable to make a living in Germany and were therefore weighing down the social system. Crime statistics do not show any better data either. In 2019, non-German citizens committed 35 percent of crimes in Germany. It is worth highlighting again the role of the Syrians: In the same year, Syrians were responsible for 12.2 percent of violent crimes. And although refugees make up only 1 to 2 percent of the German population, in 2018, for example, 12 percent of all sexual crimes were committed by refugees.
Negative social changes like this do not go unnoticed by the European masses. Immigration is fundamentally viewed negatively by people around the world, and especially in Europe. In countries where the negative effects of migration can be openly discussed, such as Hungary, Poland, or the Czech Republic, a significant proportion of the population rejects migration. A recent survey looked at the question of whether, according to the population of different E.U. member states, 70 million migrants could be successfully integrated into Europe in the coming years. The responses were staggering: It was not only Eastern European countries who found this scenario completely unrealistic, but even the more liberal German, French, Dutch, Swedish, and Flemish societies. Yet the number of 70 million is still a relatively low estimate. Incidentally, according to Eurobarometer, in 2018-2019, the European population was concerned about migration above all else.
Veszpremy writes that if European leaders don't figure out how to stop mass migration, the continent will be looking at an actual shooting war on the waves of migrants coming its way (given that Russia and China will do the same if those migrants head there). He concludes:
T.S. Eliot rightly pointed out that the main problem with liberalism is that it contributes to the dismantling of the very liberties that had helped bring it about in the first place. Brussels is making the same mistake today: It is persecuting the Hungarian right and its migration policy by referring to it as “far right,” and not seeing the reality that if Europe does not catch up with Hungary’s position soon by 2050 the continent will face a real far right. The day will come when we will think of Viktor Orbán as a moderate, liberal politician, and perhaps even in Brussels they will feel nostalgic for the good old days when all they had to do was write angry communiqués against Hungary.
So, let me repeat my position: if Orban condemned "mixed race" society in terms of ethnicity, then I say he's morally wrong to have done so (especially given that Hungarians today are a pretty mixed race). But if he meant -- as I think he did -- that Europe cannot remain itself while at the same time importing large numbers of Muslim immigrants, then he's plainly right. (If Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey could not remain Islamic if it took in large numbers of Christian migrants, would anybody bat an eye?) Of course there are plenty of non-Muslim Europeans who would rather Europe not remain Christian at all. They would like Europe to be secular and liberal. That is not likely to happen. Read your Houllebecq.
UPDATE.3: Here are some reader comments.
About six weeks ago, I was making a point about civilizations and immigration to a group of folks on email. I think it could be helpful here. I also think that the definitions of "western civilization" and "westerner" are quotes from you. The letter follows (I have edited a little so that readers can follow it without the rest of the email conversation):
Civility and rule of law, and even Western culture, are not genetically or racially determined. It is merely historic fact that Western civilization and its culture have arisen in the West or Europe, and have developed in places where European-extracted people have settled and built nations.
I have seen Western civilization defined as: the countries and peoples formed by the meeting of Greek philosophy, Roman law, and Hebrew religion. There’s a great deal of diversity within the West, but religion, ideas, art, literature, and geography set it apart from other civilizations.
I have seen a Westerner defined as including: Every descendant of Africa and Asia who lives in the West and broadly affirms the values that shaped Western civilization is a Westerner. It is also a historic fact that liberalism (the result of the Enlightenment) is a secularization of Christianity. So religion plays a historic role in shaping the values that the West holds... and that the West has inflicted on the rest of the world with imperialism and its technology and power (starting with sailing ships, the compass, and what the West did with gunpowder).
Dr. Thomas Sowell waxes eloquent on the historical fact that the West, for largely religious-- Christian-- reasons used imperial power to destroy slavery. No one has accused Dr. Sowell of being a white nationalist/supremacist/etc because he is one of the aforementioned descendants of Africa. This clip (I believe it is a reading from a chapter from Dr. Sowell's book) is lengthy, but well worth the time it takes to listen to it. It need not be done in a single sitting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bqrf47RjRRY (start listening about 13:00... I am letting him play while typing. At 40:00, he is still saying nice things about the West ending slavery).
See Andrew Klavan's tongue-in-cheek video thanking Christian white men:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSuF-ygmUEs
"Replacement" (non-Western immigrants replacing Americans) is concerning for two reasons: The first: it is not yet clear that peoples from another culture can move, in large numbers, to a recipient culture, and can (or will) assimilate seamlessly. I was talking several years ago to a Korean immigrant (a PhD and someone I'd consider a good American) who immigrated as a small child 40 years ago. She mentioned at one time that "we" did not agree to assimilate. I listened quietly, but I was thinking, "Yes, you did because that was the terms of our offer-- come to America and join the team!" It is interesting that she immigrated about the same time that the "Great American Melting Pot" Schoolhouse Rock was published. It can still be seen on YouTube. That was the American vision of immigration, hence the terms of our offer. Americans did not agree to having large numbers of unassimilable people moving into and balkanizing our nation.
Consider also that Americans largely replaced the Sioux, Creek, and Seminole. I have employed, as a rhetorical device, the saying, "That is a Squanto-feeding-Pilgrims level of stupidity." Mexico opened Texas to Anglo settlement. Within a generation, Texas was American. Someone pointed out that the Asian Indians had to run off the British earlier today (even though the British, in imperialistic fashion (it's a good story- I googled this up: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=4451), put an end to the immolation of widows on their husbands' funeral pyres). Is my analysis wrong?
The second is: White people are not allowed to have ethnic interests in America. They form factions. Immigrant citizens consistently break the white vs white/black deadlock (about 70-30% in voting) in the favor of the party that ignores immigration law despite their oaths to enforce the law. Official inaction or obstruction is what gives "replacement theory" its legs.
Black Americans vote overwhelmingly for the party that permits large scale immigration, even though black Americans suffer more under immigration: https://anncoulter.com/2022/05/25/theyre-replacing-you-black-america/ Look up Barbara Jordan and see her commission's findings on immigration. Ms. Jordan is African-American and was considered by Mr. Clinton as a potential Supreme Court nominee in the 1990s. She begged off due to ill-health.
Immigrants still have slaves. I have seen other examples, but this is the best. A Filipino immigrant family brought their slave when they immigrated: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/06/lolas-story/524490/ I have seen reports of upper-caste Indians, African, and Muslim slaveholders in modern America.
Is my analysis wrong? Listen to Dr. Sowell's book.
>>>> A couple of weeks earlier, I was discussing the same topics with the same group via email. That note read:
I am less concerned about what my neighbors look like than what they believe to be true. It seems like many immigrant activists, at least the louder ones, enjoy denigrating white people and Western Civilization or the American version of it.
The former is annoying because people calling you names is annoying, particularly when they travel to your country voluntarily because your country is better than theirs. For them to demand change is particularly galling because we like what we have, and did not agree to give it away to accommodate someone from elsewhere.
The latter is annoying for two reasons: 1. The progressive values that these activists and fellow travelers like to spout are outgrowths (perverse outgrowths) of liberalism which developed in the West. 2. The West curtailed slavery and ethnic prejudice, so it is galling that these folks seem to enjoy accusing the West of violating some sort of standards that the West promulgated.
Finally, I do not know what the supposed existence of some cabal flooding America with non-white immigrants plays in "replacement theory." I don't see evidence of this occurring, But I cannot come to any conclusion other than there are significant portions of our elites which encourage and permit this to go on. Consider the administration preventing border enforcement now.
There is also significant gloating and cheering at the prospect of the children of the creators of our great nation becoming minority members of it, and losing its ideals in the process. The black and native people who have shared America with white folks are being dispossessed, too. How many of them realize this?
The immigrants we let in need to join the team, not attack their teammates.
Re the current post on Orbán, all I can say is this: You say he’s using “race” as “a symbol of religion and culture”. Look—Orbán, whatever else one might say about him, is neither an idiot nor a fool; and he is perfectly capable of saying exactly what he means. Had he wished to say the Magyar equivalent of “religion and culture” (vallás és kultúra, according to Google Translate), he could quite easily have written his speech accordingly. Of course, given that most Islamic immigrants are from Africa, and thus ethically different from Europeans, it’s not hard to see Orbán’s statement as a dogwhistle—if something that not only dogs can here can be so described. It’s interesting that in the official English translation (available in full here: https://miniszterelnok.hu/speech-by-prime-minister-viktor-orban-at-the-31st-balvanyos-summer-free-university-and-student-camp/) the word “Islam” appears twice, and “Muslim” not at all; but “race” appears four times. To anyone with eyes to see, it’s crystal clear that Orbán is taking aim not as immigrants as such or Muslim immigrants, but Immigrants as the racially different Other. Kind of like the pagan Magyars were when they welcomed into Europe—oh, wait….
I never had you pegged as the type to drink the Kool-Aid; but if you’re going to defend Orbán on this by essentially arguing that like Humpty Dumpty, he can make words mean whatever he wants, as long as he pays them extra—then you obviously have chugged the whole pitcher. Sorry to see that, but that’s your call.
A former US foreign service officer writes:
You commented at length about a recent Orban speech in spooky Transylvania, which I believe is somewhere near Pittsburgh with an awesome Sheetz truck stop. You reported Orban saying the following:
Nevertheless, the West wants to spread its own values, which is something that the rest of the world feels to be humiliating. This is something which we understand, as sometimes we also feel the same way. I recall an episode in the life of our Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, some time around 2014, under a previous US administration. A visiting US government official casually pushed a sheet of paper in front of him and simply said that the Hungarian Constitution should be amended on the points it contained, after which friendship would be restored. So we understand this resistance from the rest of the world to the West’s propagation of values, to its export of democracy.
This raises the question: Is the U.S. Department of State's practice of diplomacy really that heavy-handed, tone-deaf, insulting and just all around bad?
Yes. Yes, it is.
Let me explain how this could be so. But, before that, let me explain as way of background what was going on there. When the Dept wants to send an official message to another government, speaking sovereign to sovereign, it issues what is known as a Demarche Cable. This is a cable from Main State to the action offices--in this case Embassy Budapest--that contains the message, usually though not always spelled out with no variation allowed, instructions as to who it is to be delivered to and how the host government's response is to be conveyed back to Main State and to who, including any other interested parties, like the National Security Council and/or the intelligence agencies.
The first thing a political officer does in the morning is check the mail to see if any action cables have arrived. In this instance, the political officer in question would print out the demarche cable and then format the message into what is known in the diplomatic world as a "non-paper." The non-paper is the message in text, without any letterhead or other sign of who it is from. The purpose of a non-paper is to ensure no verbal miscommunication while at the same time not providing the host government with a document it can hold up in public as being from the sender.
Now, this demarche was meant to be conveyed at a very high level, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, which makes it of high importance. What this means is that unlike some low-level demarche to be conveyed to one's junior diplomat counterpart at MFA ("to be delivered to an officer on the America's desk at MFA") the poloff who first acted on it won't go do the demarche but inform his superior, the Political Counselor. Who likely has already seen it on his cable queue in the middle of the night. (One thing all FSOs have in common is checking the cable traffic when you wake up at 3.15am, just in case). Who would in turn update the DCM, who may or may not have updated the Ambo depending on the Ambo.
In this case, therefore, we have at an absolute minimum 3 poloffs, polcouns and DCM all putting this demarche together. They then tasked someone of sufficient rank to deliver it. At the Minister of Foreign Affairs rank that likely would have been the Ambo or DCM, though not always. They may have sent the polcouns as the Govt of Hungary was not "worthy" of an Ambo visit.
So, at least two members of the Senior Foreign Service and three members of the Foreign Service all cleared this thing for delivery as is. They sat there in the conference room and agreed that "yup, we're going to de-march right in there and de-mand that they de-change their fucking de-constitution if they want to be BFFs with Uncle Sam."
So, how can this be? Four main reasons: 1) as an ideological state, USG sees variance from its ideology as pathology and deviance worthy of contempt only; 2) as a bureaucratic elite, the Foreign Service has been dumbed-down by yes-men and affirmative action yes-men who lack the ability to think for themselves and stand up for themselves; 3) as a super power, USG suffers from a horrific combination of arrogant ineptitude, which infects everything it does; and 4) not enough foreigners have told Uncle Sam to fuck off yet for there to be any chance of that message getting through to USG that it needs to change its ways lest it lose influence, largely due to the U.S.'s continued absolute dominance economically and financially.
I feel sorry for that Hungarian Foreign Minister. How he didn't toss the American diplomat out a window is beyond me.
Anyway, I'm sure by now you're seeing why I wasn't exactly a good fit....sigh.
UPDATE.4: This map, based on Pew Research findings from 2018, helps you understand better why Orban says what he does, and why Western Europe hates it so much:
UPDATE.5: A reader writes to say that in Europe, unlike in America, concepts like "race" and "ethnicity" are often synonyms for "nation," and not a synonym for melanin.
I think it is also important to point out, as an American who has lived in Europe for most of the last year, that America is a very different place when it comes to this sort of thing. I mentioned above how much easier it is for America to assimilate foreigners of all kinds. I oppose mass migration too, because it is inherently destabilizing, but it's also true that it's much easier for Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and others to meld into American life among Christians and Jews than it is for the same to happen in Europe. That's a great thing about America -- though at the same time, it is much more difficult to hold on to your values. And, as I said above, it's much easier for a French or a German person to assimilate to American life than for an American to assimilate in either of those countries. It's not because America is a better place than France or Germany; it's that we are different nations, with different traditions. Hungarians look to France, Germany, Belgium, and other European nations, see how much trouble they have assimilating non-European migrants, and wonder why on earth they should invite those problems onto themselves.
UPDATE.6: A Hungarian reader writes to say that Orban was not talking about Germany with is oblique "neighboring country" remark, but Slovenia. The reader also adds:
His comment on mixing races was the only one I objected to as an evangelical Christian, but it is true that he was referring to cultural mixing, as you write, with wording that is unfortunate and easily misunderstandable. But I definitely don't think he referred to dating or interracial marriage (as one of your friends thought).
On the other hand, an American reader writes:
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"(Orban) is using the term "race" as a symbol of religion and culture (and I wish he would not have done that, because it makes it hard to explain what he means). "
I can certainly appreciate the difficulty of explaining that Orban actually means "religion and culture" when he says "race". Applying Occam's razor, a much simpler (if unflattering) explanation is that Orban is a racist and just means what he says.
Another reader writes:
This is going to be long, but Orban gives much to think about and I wanted to share my thoughts this time.
The influence of Spengler, who is as much prophet as historian, on Orban is very clear in the speech and is part of why Orban is compelling - for his grasp of the bigger picture.
America (the continent, and mine) and Europe (the continent) will never understand each other on race. We are where they were 1500 years ago. Europe is pretty old now. Only Russia perhaps could understand us, being also a frontier land. What suits one land does not necessarily suit another, in plants, in animals, and in human beings and their societies. I can't judge Europe too much, though I will say in some way maybe Islam ("submission") offers one solution (not the only one possible) to post-Enlightenment Europe's over-rationalistic anxieties and emptiness. As Houellebecq has it. The obsession on the European right over mixing stems from deep roots that don't want competition, that remember things from 500 years ago. I say "your tree is almost dead" but hey, I'm just an outsider from a land with little use for dead things.
Orban's part straight out of Spengler's key idea of pseudomorphosis - the happening of one culture imposing itself over another, in a 'false form' that inevitably has to be defeated for the true consciousness of that culture to emerge - is revealing in a way, that Orban views himself like "the Chinese, the Indian, let's say the Orthodox world, and even Islam" vis a vis the West. Like them, he feels that a Western pseudomorphosis is deeply humiliating to Hungary (Germany wanting Hungarian men and women and children to essentially be good Germans) and needs to be resisted at all costs. Here Orban is actually saying that Hungary is not really a part of the modern West. He later suggests that it is a likely heir down the line, a point I'd agree with, claiming himself as the "true heir of Rome" so to speak vis a vis the "post West", but this is important to understand that he really doesn't see it as his role to "lead" or "save" the current West. He's going to lead Hungary, and perhaps eastern European countries around Hungary, but he does not see it as his role to save the West from the inside, rather resist it… just like all other non-Western worlds!
An interesting trend I've observed is that modern nationalism, not in the West but against the West, is a post colonial trend that emerged far from the West, in its outposts, and has slowly been creeping closer to the West itself. This is how we have the irony now in what we view as fundamentally Western, European, white etc countries becoming nationalistic, but nationalistic specifically against the broader trend and masters of their own Western civilization, wanting to separate from them, just like the colonies did. It is emerging first on the fringes of the West - Russia, South Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America. There is a line from Gandhi straight to Orban. Trump seems like the herald of its arrival in force in the US, and its appeal potential to everyone except the most Western European-facing caste, the educated secular white progressive upper middle class, the frequent target of our derision here, is clear.
So that leads us to question where are we going.
1. Are we trying to save the West from itself?
2. Or, as Orban suggests, are we actually trying to free ourselves from it?
From this incarnation of the West, that we find repulsive - its technocracy, its anxiety, its 'brave new world' of upside-down morals, and that likewise sees us to be deplorable and foreign, unenlightened barbarism that creeps out of the dark foreboding places of the land (for many, the South may as well be Mordor) - and be the masters of our own fate. We might have started thinking 1, but I think in the long run Orban is a visionary to understand that it is 2, actually. The "right's" future in the US is, at its absolute core, to represent 'indigenous' political feeling, opposed to the modern-Western US "left".
We are not really fighting for the future of the West - at least, this incarnation. The modern West has reached the end, played out its life, and its days are numbered. We can do nothing about that. What we are fighting for is our own future.
In the US, in Latin America, in Russia, in Turkey, in Eastern Europe, nationalism is the political vehicle of rising discontent with foreign, Western European derived forms now in plain decadence, with increasingly little to offer politically, economically, demographically, or spiritually. The recipes are stale and unappealing now. The elite represent the continuation of these sickly forms in the face of popular, nationalistic pressure to separate from them and look to various indigenous traditions and thinking.
Spengler points to Tsar Peter the Great (Westernizer) as the quintessential pseudomorphism, one that disfigured and tormented Russia, from its "backwards" beards on down, until the Bolshevik suicide (albeit introducing some useful technical developments, as pseudomorphism tends to do).
A Latin equivalent is Sarmiento, the Argentine writer of Facundo: Civilization and Barbarism (original version published by the aptly termed Progress Press) and later Europeanizing President of Argentina. Which may as well be termed Why My Country Sucks and Must Be Turned Into Europe. From the wiki:
barbarism that derives from the nature of the Argentine countryside
Sarmiento's book is therefore engaged in describing the "Argentine national character, explaining the effects of Argentina's geographical conditions on personality, the 'barbaric' nature of the countryside versus the 'civilizing' influence of the city, and the great future awaiting Argentina when it opened its doors wide to European immigration"
"civilization is identified with northern Europe, North America, cities, Unitarians, Paz, and Rivadavia", while "barbarism is identified with Latin America, Spain, Asia, the Middle East, the countryside, Federalists, Facundo, and Rosas".
You can smell the Hillary Clinton in him. He goes on to describe the hardy, independent men who played the decisive role in his country's independence in no different terms than many Yankees or Californians describe the South. Dumb, useless, impediments to his utopian vision. Baskets of gaucho deplorables everywhere. Now Argentina struggles and heaves under the weight of unsuitable European ideas, bureaucracies, and structures.
Again just as with Peter, the indigenous people and culture are evil, dark, barbaric, and must be paved over - Europe is the light, and the only thing we have that is worthwhile is that which we get from Europe or is like Europe. I don't know Hungary but I imagine from Orban's description that Západniks are the Magyar equivalent. Hungary can only be good in so far as it is Western, in the view of these people. With everything that "Western" means today…. It used to mean weapons, money, and high culture, at least. Now it just means money (though little by little less so), and a whole lot of baggage.
Sarmiento's city/countryside dichotomy has clear parallels with Hamilton vs Jefferson, and the US North vs South. "Your people, sir, is a great beast" as Hamilton was claimed to have said. As in Petersburg, so too in Buenos Aires and Boston. Ports suited for importing European people, coins, tools, books, beauty (and later, psycho ideas). Sarmiento loved New England.
What becomes of pseudomorphosis? As Orban suggests, and Dostoyevsky writes of Petersburg, and we might say of Washington, it feels inauthentic and cold, albeit temporarily appealing due to the wealth of what it imitates. Eventually it has to lose. Since it is imported by elites, it is naturally anti-popular and will be defeated by movements with mass popular support in one form or another. "Barbarism" (which is best understood not as 'bad' but as 'foreign, incomprehensible, and distasteful to our current modes' - 'foreign' of course to the sensibility of our late-civilization elites, not us) must always eventually defeat decadent "civilization".
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