The World Congress of Families in Budapest

This morning Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has opened the Budapest Demographic Forum/Budapest Family Summit which is now being held under the auspices of the global World Congress of Families.  WCF  is an annual congress which is dedicated to families (as meant by normal, decent people or as it is defined in Hungary’s Constitution:  a life union of exactly one man and exactly one woman and their children!) and it’s an important forum for conservatives throughout the world.

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Incidentally, on this occasion, George Soros’ CEU university, which (unfortunately) the last couple of posts of mine were about, didn’t miss either to promote their sick left-liberal views:

The Central Eastern European region is quickly becoming a key player in the support of regional anti-gender movements and global right-wing politics. For example, the World Congress of Families and the International Organization for the Family, a large coalition of conservative organizations from around the globe, will host their annual conference in Budapest in late May under the theme “Building Family-Friendly Nations: Making Families Great Again.” Such developments require serious academic engagement and persistent multidisciplinary discussion.

With our invited guests we will review the gendered and hetero-normative aspects of right-wing discourses on the family, the root causes of such discourses and policies, and their consequences for LGBTQ rights and reproductive justice. The panel will provide an overview of the geopolitical stakes in focusing on particular formations of the family, as well as on the support for LGBTQ equality and reproductive justice in the post-Cold War world order. We will take a closer look at the Hungarian context and the role of discourses on the family in local and regional politics. This discussion between scholars and activists offers an intersectional perspective on gendered discourses and politics in light of the globalized right-wing movements.

Anyway, here are the major points PM Orbán made in his opening speech:

  • Europe is losing big time concerning the reproduction of her population. There are two approaches to solve this existential crisis: immigration and  supporting families … which is the Central European way.
  • Orbán said that his government is strongly committed to solving  Hungary’s demographic crisis by supporting Hungarian families instead of supporting mass immigration from the Middle East and Africa, which is still the preferred “solution” in Western and Northern Europe.
  • Hungary has succeeded in stopping the illegal mass immigration at her Southern borders.  “If that’s possible at all, Hungary will more even more resolute to defend her borders, regardless of any EU disapproval”, said Orbán.
  • Hungary lost about a million people in the last few decades and that’s more than our loss in WWII.  There were 10,8 million people living in Hungary in 1980 and now there are only 9.8 million.
  • Hungary’s fertility rate (the average number of children per woman) now stands at 1.5.  Orbán pledged that his government will increase the fertility rate to the level which is necessary to replenish the population, that is to 2.1, by 2030.
  • He announced a number of pro-family measures for 2018.  He also emphasized that Hungary’s subsequent governments must also exhibit this kind of supportive attitude for families.

The announced measures are the following:

  1. More family tax breaks, focussed on two-child families.
  2. 50% of the student loan will be paid by the government for those women who have student loans.  The student loan will be paid off entirely by the government for those women who have three or more children!
  3. Child care support will be provided for an additional year for women with degrees in higher education. Student mothers will be provided with this benefit until their child is two year old.
  4.  The Hungarian families with mortgages will be paid one million Forints (3250 EUR/2820 GBP/3660 USD) for their third child and one million Forints for each one after.
  5. The government initiates a “huge programme” to build, or to renovate, crèches (day care centres)
  6. Soon the Hungarian families living abroad may also have access to Hungary’s “baby bonds”. (This is a type of treasury bond with the objective of stimulating savings for children by their parents. Parents must make small monthly contributions and, in return, the child receives a guaranteed minimum amount tax-free upon turning 18.)
  7.   The government establishes a “family studies” think-tank which PM Orbán expects to become of international fame.

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Is Donald Trump another Hillary Clinton?

After four months into Trump’s presidency, I cannot see any kind of “new beginning in the Hungary-USA relations”.

Today the State Department of the USA has issued yet another, rather brutal, press statement in defence of George Soros’ CEU university.

The United States again urges the Government of Hungary to suspend implementation of its amended higher education law, which places discriminatory, onerous requirements on U.S.-accredited institutions in Hungary and threatens academic freedom and independence.

The Government of Hungary should engage directly with affected institutions to find a resolution that allows them to continue to function freely and provide greater educational opportunity for the citizens of Hungary and the region.

The U.S. Government has no authority or intention to enter into negotiations on the operation of Central European University or other universities in Hungary.

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Well, if the U.S. Government, unlike every other government of the affected foreign universities in Hungary,  “has no authority or intention to enter into negotiations on the operation of Central European University or other universities in Hungary” then George Soros’ university will be closed. It’s simple as that.

No,  Heather Nauert , who signed the press release, is not a relic from the Obama administration. She was appointed a month ago and she used to work for Trump-friendly Fox News.

 

Update:  I’ve just seen the response from Hungary’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

The Hungarian government wants an agreement on CEU and we regret that there’s no support from the US administration for that.  Our negotiator, the Prime Minister’s emissary Kristóf Altusz has been waiting for an official reply from our American partner for more than three weeks. A press release is very far from being an official diplomatic response.  This is most regretful considering the fact Hungary and the USA made three agreements in education matters in the last few decades. Hungary respects academic freedom and nobody endangers the independence of universities. The Hungarian higher education law is not discriminatory and none of the affected foreign universities, or the ambassadors of the host countries, for example that of China or Malaysia, raised objections. Three of the affected USA universities also seem to be cooperative.

Please raze Soros’ university to the ground and salt its earth

The uncanny howling about Soros’ CEU university hasn’t subsided since last Wednesday.  The “whole world” protests against “Orbán’s grave attack against Hungary’s most prominent university”. Open letters, interviews, newspaper articles, a copious amount of media reports on a few thousand strong demonstration in Budapest, a long (and growing) queue of politicians, including Christian Democrat ones!, condemn Hungary because of the attack on… whatever. You know the drill.

According to this German article, “Hungary says no to science”.   Now let’s have a quick look at that what we should actually say “no” to.  I found a list of some theses which were submitted (and accepted!) at CEU last year.  All of them are written in English and they can be read in full at the provided links.  Please decide for yourself if they are scientific works or if you agree with me that they are left-liberal political pamphlets.

1. Dispossession and futurelessness : at the confluence of marxism and queer theory 

The thesis compares the work of  Lee Edelman, the eminent figure of queer theory with the work of Hungarian Communist philosopher György Lukács.

2. Playing with identity : a study on the Budapest BDSM community

The thesis analyses the narratives of Sado-Masochists, with special regard to the role of games.

3. Blasphemy as tool for institutional critique

Through a number of cases, the thesis presents how blasphemy plays a role in post-Soviet art.

4. In the name of the mother : media discourse, nationalist ideology and the politics of reproduction in post-socialist Macedonia

This thesis reveals how media spreads nationalist ideology in Macedonia with the help of traditional sex roles and “the typification of the female body”.

5. Polish exceptionalism : hate speech laws between supra-national standards and national politics

This thesis examines why Polish  hate speech laws are substandard to international ones and why Polish criminal law does not provide protection for victims of hate speech motivated by bias on grounds of gender identity and sexual orientation.

6. Becoming and being : the experiences of young feminist men in Iceland

This thesis reviews life experiences of young Icelandic feminist males.

7. Qu(e)’erying the Qur’an : how non-heterosexual Muslims in London articulate sexual citizenship narratives

“This thesis aims to situate the phenomenon of “homonationalism” into lived experience in order to lay bare the contextual specificities of queer Muslim subjectivites in London, UK and to examine the local refigurations of power that informants enact therein. Through fieldwork at an inclusive Mosque in London, and interviews with queeridentifying Muslims, this ethnographic approach is dedicated to analyzing how those considered inauthentic in homonationalist imaginaries, and who are often elided in critical discourses of homonationalism itself, articulate narratives of sexual citizenship that challenge the regulatory codes of a universalizing script of homonormative sexuality, and how they make these pleas for belonging through a parallel reconstitution of Muslim normativities. ”

8. Migration in the Mediterranean : the smuggler as scapegoat

According to the thesis, even though illegal migration has been going on for decades,  human traffickers have been made scapegoats recently.

9. Constructing identity through the Hungarian “migration” discourse

The abstract is  gibberish  like “On the other hand, the feeling of instability aided the ontological insecuritization process, which was utilized to establish a situation where everyday routines were not working and the ontological insecuritization became possible”, but I guess the thesis argues that Orbán’s government uses the threat of the illegal migrants to Hungary to strengthen racism and xenophobia among Hungarians.

10. Anti-liberalism and antisemitism in dualist Hungary

The thesis presents anti-liberalism and anti-Semitism through the case of Kárpátalja (Transcarpathia) .

11. Hope of failure : subverting disgust, shame and the abject in feminist performances with menstrual blood

Er… check out the link if you really do want to know more details about this particular piece of progressive train of thought.

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Darth Soros

I think the list speaks volumes indeed. Metaphorically speaking, Soros’ university in Budapest should be razed to the ground and sowed with salt.  Mr. Orbán, please do so!

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