Founding Manifesto

Tradition, Achievement, Responsibility – The Founding Manifesto of Civic Response 

I.

We, proud, patriotic and deedful citizens of Hungary came together to realise our dream: a civic Hungary. We represent those who are not represented by anyone else. Our aim is to put an end to the failures of the three decades that have passed since the democratic transition, and to overcome the current political polarization which is fuelled and kept alive by mutual hatred. To build self-organizing communities instead of surrendering to the re-emerging one-party state.

 Civic Response would like to create a Hungary where merit prevails over interest, and talent over dependency. A Hungary where politics means service. A Hungary where words carry weight and deeds have consequences. A Hungary where leaders lead by example, and where all are equal before the law. A Hungary where common sense takes precedence over momentary political gain.

On the 100th anniversary of the Peace Treaty of Trianon, we feel the weight of our responsibility with regard to the most vital issues of the nation. Our political call is to represent in public life those citizens who believe in the importance of tradition, personal achievement and responsibility. Our social mission is to make it possible for all Hungarians to lead a civic life, which includes both freedoms and obligations.

II.

National cohesion Emotionally, instead of the state, we are bound to the Hungarian nation. For us, patriotism is not mere rhetoric, a substitute for ideology or covert chauvinism, but an intellectual and spiritual cornerstone, so that by stepping on it we may represent different worldviews, and which allows us to experience our common bonds. Our loyalty to the nation does not mean lack of self-criticism and self-reflection, neither is it a sense of superiority, however, it should not mean self-flagellation or alienation either. We do not want to deny the errors, failures, and sins of our past, we would rather understand and learn from them, while proudly remembering and drawing strength from the glorious chapters of our history. In the same way as individuals take responsibility for their deeds in the past and the future, we throw in our lot with our nation’s destiny, and we are ready to stand up for our compatriots’ right to thrive on the land that saw them born, may that be within our without or current borders. Moreover, we oppose all attempts to divide Hungarians into first and second-class citizens.

Public trust/ The rule of law is either absolute or does not exist. Influence and wealth, or need and poverty should not justify exemptions. The state ought to expect only realistic obligations from its citizens, and it is obliged to meet the same standards. In return for obeying the law, we expect exemplary conduct from those in power. We demand stability in our daily lives, as well as rationally functioning, transparent and accountable governance. We will make sure that the letter of the law serves the worthy citizens instead of benefiting further the privileged.

Autonomy / We believe in the freedom of research, creation and self-expression. We respect the fundamental rights of freedom of speech, thought and action of all individuals. We acknowledge the authority of the state, churches, science and arts, but we are against the persecution and forceful silencing of non-mainstream views and opinions. We know – because we have learnt it – that the imposition of the illusion of unity always creates division, whereas the communities capable of constructive debate are more successful and able to join forces at critical moments. We are convinced that only free and autonomous citizens can stand up for themselves and vindicate their common interests.

Achievement / Above all else, we value talent, hard work and commitment. Therefore, we only accept personal achievement as the criterion of individual advancement. From the goods produced by all, people should receive their fair share according to their merits, and bear the public burdens in proportion to their capabilities. Those who come from an underprivileged background should be encouraged to embark on the path of self-reliance and catch up with the middle classes. The state must not exploit the poor and destitute, but neither should it maintain those who are unwilling to make an effort. Being underprivileged should not become an impediment to success, but it should not serve as an excuse for the lack of individual endeavour either.

Self-respect/ We are neither subjects nor outsiders. We regard the state as a commonwealth of citizens maintained for mutual benefits, and in relation thereto we have clear expectations, as well as obligations that derive from these expectations. We are critical of those in power, even though our criticism does not arise from cynicism or indifference but in order to encourage civic engagement in public affairs. We do not abide by the rules due to coercion or blind faith, rather we do so because we deem it right and expedient for the interests of our own community.

Self-organization / We reject the nanny state, which, in return for welfare, expects obedience and creates dependency. Therefore, we encourage our fellow citizens to become economically independent and socially organized, so that they may be able to resist all attempts of blackmail and manipulation. We believe that politics should help individuals to develop their abilities which, in turn, may then be put at the service of society. We consider families, self-governance and civil society extremely important. Families uphold and pass on the basic social norms, roles and values; local governments allow citizens to exercise public power within their communities; whereas a strong civil society guarantees the involvement of organically developed communities in public life.

Sustainability / We know that all our individual and collective efforts are be meaningless if Planet Earth becomes uninhabitable for the generations to come. Therefore, we need to change our consumption habits and way of life, as well as protect our natural resources, environment and built heritage. We are committed to sustainability and willing to challenge all attempts that endanger it. We shall involve in the decision-making process those who will have to live with the long-term consequences.

Identity / As an autonomous grassroots movement, we are united by our shared beliefs, principles, identity and moral standards. Our internal compass is aligned to the teachings of Christanity: the power of love, acceptance and forgiveness. We are familiar with and cherish the knowledge, traditions and cultural treasures accumulated by previous generations. We have a sense of belonging to the millennial scientific, intellectual and cultural heritage of Europe and Hungary. We appreciate other cultures while expecting the same respect towards ours. We have come from the East, we belong to Central Europe, and our home is the Carpathian Basin.

III.

Civic Response is more than just a political movement. Our ambition is to become beacons of change not only in the voting booths but also in people’s heads and hearts. We call for frank and reasonable public discourse, as well as meaningful and polite political debate. We want cultural, spiritual and moral regeneration which, by spreading through the entire Hungarian society, would be able to send its representatives to the decision-making bodies. We envision a Hungary where the state is not an adversary, but an ally in the realization of individual and collective goals.

We regard public positions as tools for achieving a higher purpose, namely to strengthen the middle-class and make the civic way of life available to all. In the same way as belonging to the Hungarian nation is a question of loyalty rather than ancestry, citoyens are not defined by their birth, wealth or social status, but by their way of thinking and their civic engagement.

Civic Response respects the past, lives in the present, and shapes the future. For us, politics means, first and foremost, service based on mutual respect between the electorate and the elected, which entails shared responsibility and encourages exemplary behaviour. We want to shake up those who have become disillusioned with public affairs. We want to re-establish the rule of law and redefine the institutions of community decision-making. We want to build a Hungary where deeds have consequences. We want a Hungary where people are financially independent, intellectually free, autonomous in their actions, and generous towards their fellow citizens, while they are also open to the world.

Budapest, December 3rd, 2020.