“You have to think about politics as if it was a fight in a war. And in these situations where I’m doing this strategic thinking, Heritage is the leading institution.”
That’s what Balázs Orbán, the prime minister of Hungary’s political director said about strengthening cultural institutions and taking them back from the Left at a panel at The Heritage Foundation’s 50th Anniversary Leadership Summit on Thursday. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s news and commentary outlet.)
Orbán was joined by Louisiana Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley and American Enterprise Institute fellow Ian Rowe.
Heritage’s Devos Center fellow Delano Squires facilitated the panel and asked the panelists about “the importance of family and institutions.”
“I’ve been in this work long enough and I’ve seen young people who are being raised in extremely challenging situations, dysfunctional environments. Yet I also see many people in those same exact situations when they faced domestic violence and other kinds of challenges … make a different set of decisions,” Rowe, who works with disadvantaged students, stated.
Rowe proposed that the best way for young students to combat the cultural issues they are facing is to embrace “four powerful institutions” in “family, religion, education, and entrepreneurship.”
Brumley described the importance of making sure “that every family” can have the option to go to the “school that makes the most sense” for their kids’ education.
“Parents’ rights, family rights—understanding that children belong to their parents,” Brumley stated on the state of education. “I think that the most pressing issue that I am concerned about is just the fact that schools were never ordained to be social institutions. We were ordained to be academic institutions.”
Brumley stressed pushing for “academic excellence” by ensuring schools were teaching important subjects such as reading and arithmetic.
Orbán highlighted policies that Hungary has implemented and the positive impact those policies have had: “Family policy, and you know, the whole demographic decline, it’s a problem. It’s a problem if there is geopolitical competition in other parts of the world.”
Orbán continued to highlight the government’s interest in encouraging “families and young women to have as many children as they want.”
“Institutions through which you normally learn those kind of life skills [such as proper social interaction and how to raise a family] aren’t always doing their job,” Rowe stated. “So, that’s one of the reasons we decided to deliberately attack these issues in the school.”
Brumley promoted “academic excellence” and to “stay in the fight” against “extreme overreaches” by the federal government.
Orbán concluded his remarks by claiming, “Everything depends on the environment.”
“If you land in Budapest, for example, and you leave the plane, you will see people on billboards all around you, which is saying that we have been expanding Hungary … and this is what the family-friendly experience means.”
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