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Bitter reactions to lost hopes of the Left

April 11th, 2014

Left-liberal intellectuals blame the “servant mentality” of the public for the failure of the left-wing alliance parties. They suggest that Hungarians prefer the individual pursuit of self-interest to collective action against those who exploit them. A pro-government commentator, on the other hand, believes that left-wing intellectuals despise ordinary Hungarians.

Servant mentality has triumphed,” Andor Mihály comments on Galamus. The left-wing sociologist contends that Hungarians traditionally prefer pursuing their private interests to collective action. Instead of openly challenging their oppressors, Hungarians seek individual strategies to improve their own lives without confronting the regime, Andor believes. He maintains that frustrated servants like to compete with each other and make compromises with their rulers in order to earn a few pearls from their masters, rather than engaging in collective action to improve their situation. “Two-thirds of those who bothered to vote supported dictatorship or outright fascism. This is the country we live in,” Andor grumbles.

In a separate article on Galamus, political scientist Csaba Fazekas notes that the biggest surprise for the Left on Election Day was that there was no surprise. Despite speculation that many left-wing voters were unwilling to declare their preferences even to pollsters, the results were mostly in-line with the projections, he remarks. Nevertheless, he believes that discontent is more widespread than these numbers would suggest. Many supporters of Fidesz are unhappy with at least some of the Orbán government’s policies, but do not consider the idea of replacing “Viktor Orbán’s authoritarian regime” realistic, Fazekas speculates. All in all, however, he thinks the Left must swallow the bitter truth that there is no vast, hidden left-wing constituency, while the Fidesz constituency is nearly twice as large as the left-wing camp. This is a massive blow for left-wing intellectuals, who imagined that the election would turn out very differently.

In Magyar Nemzet, Tamás Fritz remarks that the Left still does not seem to understand that their defeat was to a large extent the result of their contempt for everyday Hungarians. In the light of the election results, left-wing intellectuals as well as leaders of the left-wing alliance blame and would prefer to completely replace “the crude public” which is not intelligent enough to understand the neo-liberal doctrines of the left-wing intellectuals, the pro-government pundit maintains.

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