The most incisive guide to issues facing the American family today . . . An invaluable resource for anyone wishing to stay on the cutting edge of research on family trends.

-W. Bradford Wilcox
Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Virginia 

Opening Address


Giorgia Meloni, Secretary of Fretelli d'Italia


Thank you, thank you, thank you. [1] I’ve just arrived—I was doing the ironing. Then I found ten minutes to come and talk about politics with you.

And really, this great attendance, in spite of all the controversy, is the best response you could have given to the protestors. Thank you to everyone for their work. Thank you Brian Brown, Jacopo Coghe, Toni Brandi, and Massimo Goldolfini. Thank you to everyone who allowed this event to take place. Thank you for not giving in. Thank you for the courage. Thank you for the determination, not just today but for many years. Your work, along with the work of many other associations, has helped to keep alive certain issues that were destined to be removed from politics—you have kept them alive, active, and present.

They said we want to go back to the past. That we’re losers, embarrassing, unenlightened. They said it’s scandalous for people to defend the natural family founded on marriage, to want to increase the birth rate, to want to place the correct value on human life, to support freedom in education and to say no to gender ideology. I think the ones who want to go back to the past are those trying to bring back censorship by trying to stop an event like this from taking place. I think it is unenlightened when a state that is usually willing to sponsor any old thing, even exhibitions featuring a crucifix immersed in a beaker of urine, is ashamed to sponsor an event like this. I say the losers are those with nothing better to do than come here and insult us while we talk about what we can do for the the Italian family. But above all I say the embarrassing ones are not us. The embarrassing ones are those who support practices like surrogacy, abortion at nine months, and blocking the development of children with drugs at eleven years of age. That is embarrassing.

They said all sorts of things about this Congress. That we want to limit the freedom of women. That we want them at home doing the ironing. Can you see me at home doing the ironing? Do you think I, the only female party secretary in Italy, who was a candidate for Mayor of Rome while pregnant—for which I was criticized—do you think I want women to be chained to goodness knows where? Exactly the opposite. We want to guarantee rights that today don’t exist. The right of a woman to be a mother and not to have to give up working as a result. The right to be a mother, choose not to work, and not starve to death as a result. The right of a woman forced to have an abortion because she has no alternative to have that alternative. Because if a woman only has the option to abort, that isn’t the freedom to choose. The freedom to choose means having a choice. That is what we want to guarantee. We’re here to defend women, to defend the family, to ask for things that we have brought to parliament, like the nation’s “infant income,” which we believe in more than the citizen’s income. I say that sincerely. We want funding for people who have children, because the whole of society benefits. We have proposed free nursery schools, open until shops close, and on Saturdays, to give mothers who work another option. We have asked for the full application of Law 194 for the reasons I mentioned, so economic support can be provided to women who commit to and who prefer carrying their pregnancies to term, including in cases of adoption. We have called for a moratorium at the UN to declare surrogacy a universal crime, because that really is degrading and abusive of women.

We want to bring these issues to Europe. It’s scandalous that one of the EU’s priorities for funding is not the birth rate. The low birth rate is the biggest problem facing Europe. If we do not address this, everything else we do is pointless. If the EU has an Erasmus program for student mobility, if it has a Horizon program for science, why can’t it have a program for families, to increase the birth rate, to invest resources in the birth rate?

But they think everything we propose is crazy. They think it’s unenlightened, that we want to take away rights—that we are living in the Middle Ages. You know, the Middle Ages was also the time of the cathedrals and the abbeys; the founding of the comuni, the universities, the parliament; the epoch of Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Saint Francis, Saint Benedict. But let’s not expect people who don’t know where Matera is to have read history books.

We have been attacked on a personal level. I have also been attacked. “You should be ashamed of yourself. You talk about family based on marriage and had a child out of wedlock.” Yes, I also talk about large families but only have one child. Ironically, when they say these things they actually strengthen our position. My pro-family work only shows that what I am calling for will not benefit me personally. I am calling for what I think will benefit Italian society. I believe the state should incentivize the natural family based on marriage. And if I’m not married, I do not expect the state to extend to me the same privileges that it does to married couples. That’s the point. Pay attention. I believe in a society where every choice has consequences and you accept responsibility for them. I reject a society where every desire becomes a right, every whim becomes a right. A society wherein I have no responsibilities but only rights. I reject it. It’s wrong.

I also think it says a lot that I don’t accept a religious approach to any of this. I believe in God, but I don’t adopt a religious approach. Why should I? I fight these battles because of secular common sense. I am a person who asks myself uncomfortable and profound questions. And I want answers to these questions that are credible. And all too often the high priests of single thinking are incapable of giving answers that make sense. And I have dozens of these questions. Is it right for a society to spend more energy and resources trying to find quick and easy ways to get rid of human life, rather than trying to encourage it? Is that normal? Is that civilized? Is it right that you, correctly, cannot rip a newborn puppy from the bosom of its mother, but you can with a baby, the child of a desperate mother who sold it to two rich men? Why do Italian courts take away legal custody from two married parents, the natural parents of a baby girl, saying they are too old to raise her at 52 and 54, taking away their natural daughter? But if two men go abroad and buy a child, that’s fine? Why? Why? Why?

Why, if they told us that the father of Eluana Englaro should be free to disconnect the plug that kept her alive, because nobody knows better than a parent what is best for their child, why did the same not apply to Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans? Why is the winner always the one who wants to disconnect the plug? Why is the winner always death? If the life of a sick child like Alfie Evans is defined as pointless, how long before they define as pointless the life of a disabled or elderly person or anyone who doesn’t correspond to the idea of the perfect consumer? How long? Why do we spend our time fighting all types of discrimination but we pretend not to see the greatest ongoing persecution, the genocide of the world’s Christians? Why? Please answer me these questions.

This is what we are doing here today. Why is the family an enemy? Why is the family so frightening? There is a single answer to all these questions. Because it defines us. Because it is our identity. Because everything that defines us is now an enemy for those who would like us to no longer have an identity and to simply be perfect consumer slaves. And so they attack national identity, they attack religious identity, they attack gender identity, they attack family identity. I can’t define myself as Italian, Christian, woman, mother. No, I must be citizen X, gender X, parent 1, parent 2. I must be a number. Because when I am only a number, when I no longer have an identity or roots, then I will be the perfect slave at the mercy of financial speculators. The perfect consumer. That’s the reason why. That’s why we inspire so much fear. That’s why this event inspires so much fear. Because we do not want to be numbers. We will defend the value of the human being, of every single human being. Because each of us has a unique genetic code that is unrepeatable. And like it or not, that is sacred. We will defend it. We will defend God, country, and family—those things that disgust people so much. We will do it to defend our freedom, because we will never be slaves and simple consumers at the mercy of financial speculators. That is our mission. That is why I came here today.

Chesterton wrote, over a century ago, “Fires will be kindled to testify that two and two make four. Swords will be drawn to prove that leaves are green in summer.” That time has arrived. We are ready. Thank you.



[1]     “Brilliant defence of conservative values by Giorgia Meloni at World Congress of Families, subtitles,” YouTube video, 14:50, “Cassius,” April 17, 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_Z1LClnhsk.