Although Hungarian is known to be one of the most difficult languages with an extensive vocabulary, we do not have a word for “woke” yet. The reason is simple. So far, we are lucky enough not to not need to come up with one to describe our everyday reality. And we like it this way.
I remember using “woke” for the first time during a campaign event, after which someone from the audience asked me to explain what I was talking about, followed by someone else telling me that she liked my speech but was unsure why I kept repeating the fashion magazine Vogue during my remarks.
There is a theory that Anglo-Saxon nations were immune to totalitarian ideologies in the twentieth century because the related rhetoric could not be incorporated into the English language. I very much hope that we, Hungarians, are the same way when it comes to wokism.
Emergence of the Woke World Order in Hungary
The first time we witnessed the rise of Woke World Order was during the European football championship in 2020. Taking a knee before matches was becoming widespread. Given that Hungary never had slavery, this was something foreign to us, but we recognized it as a cultural phenomenon, thinking it would not impact us much. Little did we know how wrong we were.
Taking the knee as an otherwise culturally and contextually specific practice – disputed at the time even in the US – has quickly come to embody an incontestable belief. My issue was not with the phenomenon of kneeling per se – people may agree to disagree with its symbolism – but with the way in which this was being imposed on us. Participating in such gesture politics has become the ultimate test of one’s morality.
It started becoming obvious that there is a fundamental contradiction between “woke values” and the values we, Hungarians, a nation proud of its millennial history, cherish. The turning point however came when we realized that the propaganda has started to target our children. Karl Popper, the intellectual mentor of George Soros and the father of the Open Society ideology, views reproductive rights as a weapon for “class struggle”. He who controls family policy and reproductive rights controls the future, which is why the left is so preoccupied with the issue of parenting and child-rearing.
Protecting Children from Woke Ideology
As they started spreading this woke nonsense in Hungary, our government decided to act. Last year, the Hungarian Parliament passed the Child Protection Act, enshrining into law that the right of sexual education of children belongs exclusively to parents, and our kids must be protected from age-inappropriate content in the media and on the internet. With the passing of this legislation, Hungary went from being the black sheep of the European Union to being the punching bag for second-tier Western European politicians, who consequently decided to halt EU financial transfers to which Hungary is legally entitled.
We decided to hold a referendum with the aim of proving what we already knew: that the majority of Hungarians agree with the government’s position on this issue, namely on the question of holding sexual orientation classes in schools without parental consent, promotion of hormone and castration treatments on minors, and unrestricted exposure of our children to sexually explicit media content. The result spoke for itself. With one of the highest turnouts in the history of Hungarian referenda, 92 percent of voters claimed that they support the legislation restricting minors’ exposure to such content in public schools.
Brussels’ Confused Priorities
One would think that unfounded attacks ceased following the strong legitimacy proved by the referendum. But in the midst of the war in Ukraine and a looming economic crisis, Poland and Hungary – recipients of the largest number of Ukrainian refugees – have been refused financial support from the EU. Hungary had to argue for months that funds originally intended to fuel recovery from the economic aftermath of the covid pandemic should not be made conditional on uniform adherence to Brussels’ stance on gender issues. It is telling of the EU’s real priorities that while Hungary welcomed over 1 million refugees fleeing the war, Brussels was busy withholding funds from the Hungarian people.
Yet we must remember that the EU and its institutional forefathers were crucial in consolidating a war-torn continent after 1945, driving economic cooperation, and eventually integrating Central and Eastern Europe free from Soviet rule. But the original purpose of the EU was to avoid the hegemony of one single idea and ensure that its equal members can work together on issues of mutual interest, while respecting each other’s differing histories and cultures.
What we see today is the polar opposite. Instead of focusing on real, strategic issues like competitiveness, energy security, and increasing defense capabilities, Brussels wastes valuable time and resources on moralizing and lecturing member states on issues entirely in the national remit. This is the standard operation of empires.
They are interested in eliminating nation-states, and when a crisis hits, ideology is the political weapon they turn to. It is evident that today the driving ideology of power centralization by the EU bureaucracy is wokism, reflected by the globalist progressive agenda at the European level. If you are on board with it, you are a good European, if not, then you quickly find yourself marginalized. This should not be the way forward and this is the position Hungary has taken in the debate on the future of Europe.
By what standard should the EU’s political agenda be set? Firstly, there is the question of intensity, meaning issues that cause challenges on the group or social levels, such as unemployment or standards of living. Next there is the question of perimeter, namely that issues should affect a significant number of people. Thirdly, urgency: issues needing immediate solutions.
In view of these dimensions, the war in our neighborhood and its economic consequences should be at the heart of current political debate. But in the EU we are far from this. All that leftists really do is discuss woke issues such as gender that affect only a small minority. The ideological dogma of the European institutions overwrite reality and threaten the survival of the European civilization. Yet there is an endless ideological witch hunt against conservative governments who represent issues of vital importance for their people – clearly unlike the quest to identify gender no. 73.
The EU as a Woke Leviathan
There exists an obvious parallel between the EU and Thomas Hobbes’ “Leviathan.” When Hobbes published his work in the mid-17th century, his goal was to usher in an end to civil and religious wars. He came up with a theory to legitimize absolute monarchy, according to which the sovereign is the only one to have the strength, power, and capability to prevent brutal wars, and avoid “the war of all against all”.
This is how the EU project started, the outcome is nonetheless questionable. The desire to have a centralized administration, uniformity, homogeneity, eliminating the local and the traditional resembles an empire rather than an alliance of equal partners united in diversity (as the EU motto goes). Efforts to the likes of this shall always be opposed by Hungarians and national conservatives across the world, who must lead the way against wokism. Because soon enough the question will not be whether we take a knee at sporting events, but whether we are at all able to stand up from the current decade of crises.