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Partisan divisions make people unhappy

March 26th, 2015

Commenting on a European survey according to which Hungarians are among the unhappiest nations on the continent, a former liberal politician argues for fair political discourse and dialogue across the political frontlines.

On HVG online, István Szent-Iványi a founding member of the now defunct alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ), who ended his public career as Hungary’s Ambassador to Slovenia under the present government, blames the unhappiness of many Hungarians on what he calls the “poisoned war of attrition” underway in the country. People interested in public affairs unite in opposing political groupings and communicate almost exclusively within the boundaries of their groups. Attempts at breaking out of these ghettos are foiled by friend and foe alike, he continues. As a result people tend to consider each other enemies, which naturally makes them more unhappy, for happiness depends first of all on human relations. Szent-Iványi admits that his call for inclusiveness sounds utopian today, but since people hate to be unhappy, he still thinks they will find a way to put an end to the senseless war of attrition underway at present.