Katalin Novák: Political Left Wants to Destroy Family, State, Identity.
28 Gennaio 2021
Dear Stilumcuriali, it seems interesting to us to share the interview that the Portuguese portal Dies Irae made with the Hungarian minister Katalin Novák on the subject of family, Europe, demography, Christian values and freedom. Enjoy reading.
Madam Minister, we begin by thanking you for giving us this very important interview and we hope that this new year can be filled with the blessings of God and St. Stephen for Hungary, for the Hungarian Government and, of course, for you. We hope, soon, to be able to receive it in our Country. Briefly, what is your assessment of 2020, a year marked by COVID-19, at national and international level?
We have witnessed a year like no other. It is the first time in more than a century that a pandemic has brought the world to its knees. It forced decision makers, political and economic leaders, as well as citizens to reassess their priorities and think about what really matters. We can also conclude that among the negative effects of globalization we cannot only speak of climate change or illegal migration, but we must also direct our attention to public health related risks. Each international crisis has shown that nation states remain the most able and potent actors to defend the interests of their citizens. This was true after the economic crisis of 2008, also after the migration crisis in 2015 and it is also true now. No matter the potential for international organizations in helping countries coordinate and mitigate the effects of crises, they have been unable to predict, prepare and advise national governments. National governments were able to take responsible decisions and risks and took action when it came to limiting travel, bailing out sectors, limiting free movement, acquiring urgent medical and protective equipment months before the EU or others.
In fact, I must sadly note, that in the case of Hungary, international organizations and political opponents tried to hinder our protective efforts by labelling our emergency law passed this spring as authoritarian backsliding – they even lied about the Parliament saying it was not in session whereas it was.
You have been Minister for Families, in the Viktor Orbán Government, since October 2020. However, you have been familiar with Hungarian politics for many years. In addition, you are married and have three children. What led you to defend so strongly the Ninth Amendment to the Hungarian Constitution, approved, on 15 December, by a large parliamentary majority?
Just as you said, in the first place I am the wife of my husband and mother of our three children. Prior to my appointment, I have been responsible for the Hungarian family policy for years. With the amendment of our Fundamental Law we have recorded things that are obvious for Hungarian people. There is an alarming trend where basic truths that humankind held obvious and unquestionable are now being disputed. Political ideology seems to trump science and reason. This trend is not yet present in Hungary, people still believe that men are men and women are women and one may not change their DNA or pretend that it is possible. We have passed legislation to close legal loopholes and to determine who the state recognizes as a man or a woman, based on biology and science and not social and political ideology. In December we added to the Constitution that a father is a man, a mother is a woman. Even if this is obvious for us, it is nowadays disputed. We want to defend our children and let them be children without using them for any ideological base. Central part of the Hungarian government’s thinking, is that the best interests of the child and well-being are paramount.
Around the world, particularly in Europe, we see a rejection of Christian Culture as a guarantor of the unity and cohesion of States. Instead, Hungary, through its Government, chooses to emphasize and reinforce this importance of Christianity as an essential value for the preservation of Hungarian identity. What moves the Government?
Hungarian statehood is deeply intertwined with Christianity. Hungarian tribes arrived to Europe in the 8th century and Hungarian leaders were accepted by the leaders in Europe when we converted to Christianity and the Pope sent a crown to our first king. Over the centuries, King St. Stephen I of Hungary as well as other Hungarian kings were canonized. Hungary has fought many wars to defend Hungarian and European Christianity. We are at the border of Eastern Christianity and Western Christianity, we had been at the border between the Christian and the Muslim worlds for centuries and we were at the border of the Cold War, unfortunately at the Eastern side where the Soviet empire tried to eradicate Christianity. Our history is a history of survival for Hungarians but also a history of survival of Christianity. Even Hungarians who do not believe in God understand and recognize the deep connection between Christian identity, Hungarian identity and Hungarian statehood.
Still following the previous question, but addressing the issue of the natural Family, that is, consisting of a man, a woman and any children, what seems to you to be the centrality that the Family must have in a society? It’s because?
Families are the basic units of any society, the smallest and closest community of all communities. They are the fabric of our society, if we undo this fabric, our societies as a whole will come apart. It is where children experience and learn love, solidarity, but also responsibility and the value of community. Not all children are lucky enough to grow up in a happy family but it is the interest of society and therefore the duty of the state to help and defend families. A society where people do not want to have children, do not believe it is worthwhile to reproduce, is condemned to death. The fact that the fertility rate in all European countries does not meet the replacement fertility says a lot about our values and our socio-economic model. For some reason, European leaders do not want to acknowledge this situation. We care about climate change and the future of our planet, but do not care about the fact that there needs to be new generations to give our planet to. This is why we want to give opportunity to Hungarians to have as many children as they want.
In 2017, a Portuguese far-left party, which currently supports the Government, argued that minors, from the age of 16, should be able to sue their parents if they do not grant them permission to change sex. The Government, against a technical and ethical opinion, approved the possibility of sex change from the age of 16, even with the authorization of the legal representatives of minors. Thus, we are witnessing a deconstruction of the identity with which each one is born and a complete rejection and trivialization of the power of influence that the Family, rightly, can and should exercise over its children, especially when they are minors. What comments do you deserve for measures like these? Are there anyone who proposes them also in Hungary?
There is a saying in Hungary for somebody who is completely lost: Does not even know if he is a boy or she is a girl. This also results that for a child, one of the main points of security is his/her sex. There are no such proposals in Hungary as in Portugal but this tendency exactly why we passed certain pieces of legislation in Hungary. The mental and physical development of children is a very fragile thing. Teenagers are especially vulnerable to influence – all parents may be witness to this. We have laws making parents responsible for the actions and development of children for a reason. Children have limited responsibility for their own actions for a reason. They may not drink alcohol, drive a car or vote in elections below a certain age for a reason. The state and society have an obligation to defend them and also protect their best interest. Take mandatory schooling regulations for example. I did not follow this debate in Portugal, but the Portuguese society probably went through the same debates and arguments. If this is what the majority supported, we must respect that. If the opinion of the majority changes, it will be possible to change this regulation. I believe this is a good fight and a fight worth fighting but every society must take their responsibility for their future and the future of their children.
In view of the current European political framework, can Hungary’s constant attacks, somewhat alongside Poland, be seen as a confirmation that they are on the right path?
If we are attacked by the left it must mean that we are not pursuing leftist ideologies but conservative values. This is what we were elected to do. A few years ago a Portuguese communist led this effort in the European Parliament against Hungary. We have been re-elected twice since then. These are issues every people must decide for themselves. Hungary has witnessed four decades of imposed communist and socialist model. People who had lived in a socialist country never understand why socialism can still be a romantic dream for many in Western Europe. In Hungary socialist governments have wrecked the country with long lasting consequences in 1919, 1989 and 2009. We feel the effect and suffer the consequences of all three until this day.
In Portugal, we have followed with great interest all the action of the Orbán Government, especially in matters that concern religious freedom, the Family and immigration. Is the Muslim invasion of Europe, with its thousands of illegal migrants, one of the factors that, in your view, lead to the adoption of absolutely anti-natural Family and anti-Marriage policies? What response did Hungary give in the face of such a scenario? And, in particular, your Ministry?
The left does not believe in the role of nation and nation states or identity. They wish to replace traditional values and identity with a new identity, stripped of heritage. We have seen several attempts at this in history.
Rejecting family values and promoting immigration go hand in hand. If family, childbearing and common heritage have no value, then illegal immigrants do not pose any risk and mass immigration is just a matter of numbers required on the labour market. Healthy families are no longer necessary because reproduction is of no importance and immigration can solve demographics. It is a very materialistic view and we do not share this view. If families and reproduction are no longer connected, then family, marriage and sexuality can be whatever you want it to be and are merely a matter of fashion and ideology. In Hungary, we believe our culture and heritage are worth protecting and transmitting to future generations so we focus on building a society where marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman, where families are defined by marriage or parent-child relation, and society values children and rewards childbearing. That is why we have been building a family-friendly country since 2010. The goal is to enable young couples to realize their family goals on one hand, and on the other, to strengthen families already raising children. We have built up the most extensive family benefit system in the Western world. Central budget allocated to support families is two and a half times higher than it was in 2010 and it amounts to 5% of the total GDP. We have a family-friendly tax system that means that the more children you have, the less personal income tax you have to pay. Mothers with at least four children are exempt from paying personal income tax for the rest of their lives. We are building new crèches to facilitate work-life balance, help families through housing subsidies, and ensure the freedom of choice for women. In Hungary, mothers or fathers may choose to stay at home and receive a benefit until the child reaches 3 years of age. They will also receive the benefit if they return to the labour market. Thanks to a new law, women will soon earn more than their net income after giving birth. Good news is that the results are encouraging: fertility rate has increased by more than 20%, number of marriages is at a 40-year high, the number of divorces is at a 6-decades low.
We commonly hear, from European leaders that Hungary, by adopting measures such as those already mentioned, does not comply with the “rule of law”. What answer does a Europe deserve that, little by little, has become hostage to the lobbies that defend the most abject conceptions of the State, Law, Family and Freedom?
Europe is slowly waking up to the idea that their view on demographics, families and immigration is flawed. In 2019, for the first time a European Commissioner for Demography was appointed. The 2015 immigration crisis highlighted the social tensions and the social cost of immigration. Terrorist attacks and young people leaving to Syria to fight for ISIS proved the failures of integration. Policies at European level will change if voters demand change at national level. In the meantime, we will stand up to our values and our interests. We have been chosen by Hungarians to do so for a third consecutive term in government.
Finally, we would like to ask you to leave a message to the Portuguese, especially those who, through different means, fight for the defense of the natural Family, for the inviolability of Life from conception to natural death, for the conservation of national identity and for the deepening healthy relations between the different States, without this interfering in the internal life of each Country, something that the current European Union, unfortunately, does not know, in fact, does not want to do
My message is that you must defend the truth and this is a fight worth fighting. No one else will do it for you. We’ve been fighting this fight for 10 years. It has been very hard but also rewarding. We are ready to share our experiences of what works and what doesn’t work. But at the end of the day every person and every country is the master of its own destiny. Our children will shape the future. The question is whose children will be there.
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