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Left-liberal intellectuals blamed for election defeat

April 25th, 2014

A left-liberal daily says intellectuals might be an easy target now, but they did not stop the Socialists from touring the country and convincing people to vote for them.

Since the overwhelming election victory of Fidesz, several left-liberal blogs and publications have excoriated so-called “well-known intellectuals” such as philosopher Ágnes Heller and writer György Konrád who used their moral authority to impose an alliance between the Socialist Party and more liberal leaning groupings. The critics believe that such prestigious figures thus condemned the left-wing turn of the Socialist Party to failure. The most striking example was a Facebook note by former MSZP MP and party spokesman Zsolt Török who accused left-wing pundits of responsibility for   Fidesz’s two thirds majority and Jobbik’s advance.


Ervin Tamás in Népszabadság comes to the defence of the much-pilloried intellectuals. It is as fashionable as it is facile to blame them as a small group of aggressive outsiders (or former Free Democrats – a now defunct party that served as the minor coalition partner in all Socialist governments) who want to dictate to a large party from their armchairs but, says Tamás, such excuses are lame. Even though “Budapest downtown circles” may have “unrealistic ideas”, they could in no way prevent the Socialists from reconquering their shrinking base in the country. Local observers saw no real Socialist organization at work in the countryside, as there was more bickering than solidarity. The Socialists have become “a slow and hollow machine” and forgot that elections cannot be won without enthusiasm and pacing the pavements.  The author lashes out at critics of the movement against the Nazi Occupation Monument (see BudaPost April 24) who argue that instead of pushing symbolic issues, the Left should tackle people’s everyday problems. Tamás believes that the two should not exclude each other, otherwise all that remains will be “large empty halls with some bitter people sitting in a corner”.



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