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Yet he was one of the founders of Fidesz, established in by young Hungarian intellectuals and dissidents. He realised that, as the head of a liberal intellectual party, he could attract only a small percentage of the electorate. He craved power and popularity and was willing to do anything to achieve it. Being an intellectual, he could figure out, from the history of political theory, a whole arsenal of strategies to attain and retain power. First, he paralyzed the independent media and used extreme nationalist rhetoric to outdo the neo-fascist Jobbik party.

Then he changed the constitution in order to protect his position while still allowing for democratic elections. It reflects the way the term was first defined and described in by Fareed Zakaria. For Zakaria, illiberal democracy allows elections but fully undermines the rule of law and freedom of the press, and corrupts democratic institutions.

It is a blueprint for and image of contemporary Hungary. The pangs of a failed intellectual, perhaps. So what option is open to central European intellectuals today? How can they maintain their independent stance and moral principles, yet find a position where they can support democracy in their countries? This is a particularly pressing question today, when central Europe is again traversing a rocky road paved with nationalism and populism.

Protest and Punishment

The answer is neither simple nor easy. An intellectual must decide for himself or herself, and must have the option of exit — withdrawal to privacy — as a legitimate choice when facing a ruthless political regime. I will demonstrate this with a story. He talks in hyperbole and admires a wide range of prominent figures and radical movements. More recently he has identified Herbert Marcuse and iconic Dialectics of Liberation as yet another opportunity to confront, and even overthrow, the capitalist order.

So far, one might say, a middle-aged, middle-class leftist intellectual. Yet it is his reaction to concrete suffering that stands up, and that defines and separates him from the chattering class of intellectuals. A few years ago, a Hungarian living in Vienna told him that her homeless brother had been shot on a street in Budapest and was in hospital. At the time, supporters of the neo-fascist Jobbik party boasted of shooting homeless people in Budapest. Missrathene Volker have no right to existence, they would say if they read Nietzsche at his worst.

She also told Walter that her brother, a painter, was mentally unstable.

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She brought him some of his sketches. He perused those pictures of a tarnished human being and an artist, reflected on his fate and prospects, and was moved to act. Bakos now paints and has regained his dignity and composure. He has, thanks to Walter, been reborn. It is this human response to the suffering of a fellow human being, and not just his words, that distinguishes Walter as the intellectual at his best. The former is the temptation of vain moralizing; the latter is the embrace of the lowest human instincts of avarice, vainglory and a thirst for power.

Be it helping a homeless person, a Roma, or immigrant, pursuing to deal with small injustices, is what counts. That is superior to continuously lamenting about the crisis of liberal democracy, admonishing the majority for electing a populist, or giving up on any action and declaring that the world is hopeless. Yet an independent Czechoslovakia was never in his plans before when it was utterly unrealistic. It was a small opportunity that circumstances of the Great War offered and he latched onto it. The latest edition is from But to what extent are liberal intellectuals themselves responsible, through their elitist disdain for the rest of the population, for the decline of democracy in Hungary?

Both are behind paywalls capitalism but may be read free by registering incentives. They need to be read in their entirety.

Here are snippets:. Do they believe that consumer innovation, technological advance and the funding for taxation emerge from the saintly public sector? Why is the profit motive seen as wicked, while working in places such as universities appears so very ethical? We are used to having a safe job, our own home or housing support, foreign holidays and all the rest. Meanwhile, leftwing economists suggest that the cure for government deficits is even more debt.

There is an almost complete disconnect between the intellectual class and business founders. This alienation is a double tragedy.

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Second, many of our brightest minds shun the world of start-ups , believing that they are more suited to the serenity of the university campus than the hustle of the market place. This blogger started his working life as an apprenticed french polisher and ran his own restoration business for nearly 3 years before going to university. Always my main interest was government-business relations. It is no surprise.

The really important thing to explain, however, is the almost ubiquitous academic mentality of hostility to the market society. My earlier experience and intuitions about the atmosphere of academic work gelled into theory when I read their sociology of intellectuals. Weber and Schumpeter -- co-founders of social economics or economic sociology -- identified intellectuals as the source of ideological resistance to capitalism. In my last post I said there exists the possibility of a capitalist ideology in which pursuit of self interest by impersonal methods has an effect equivalent to the accidental complementarity of religious and market ethics during the first capitalist transitions.

Ideology is the positive thing. About that, Weber was not hopeful. He identifies the motives of ideologists whose reliance on public funds shapes their ideal or material interest.

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Their ideas are riddled with contradictions. This second intellectual type, like the first, is ignorant about capitalism. Fearful intellectuals may be well intentioned, responsible, and intelligent.

Capitalism and the Ivory Tower Intellectuals

Our schools and universities today are full of such critical intellectuals. This intellectual rationalisation had far-reaching consequences for society and for the intellectual. So, the intellectual becomes disenchanted. Modern economic sociology has almost completely lost relevance because it tries to glorify personal relations and social networking in economic life.

Intellectuals |

They look for communitarian and fraternal sensations, emotions, and expressiveness. What are the practical consequences? Schumpeter believed the very existence of capitalism was under threat from the intellectual hostility towards it. Critical intellectuals were a product of capitalist civilisation as were the printing press, the liberty to speak out, the cheap newspaper. Before capitalism, intellectuals survived only on flattery and subservience to patrons.

How can mentors curtail youth culture when the goods and styles of it form a mega-industry that showers kids with marketing and plays upon status and consumer competition?

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I know of no way to slow this hazardous social experiment except to broadcast as widely as possible the intellectual damage it has done and will continue to do. Richard Arum examines the state of adolescent culture in colleges in his own contribution to The State of the American Mind:. The extent to which many colleges and universities focus more on promoting student social engagement than academic rigor likely has consequences for human capital formation in the United States…. Many college students today experience college life as being less about academics than about engagement in social activities and the development of sociability, sensitivity to others, and social networks.

This interpersonal emphasis, too, is considered rational by students as the economic returns to college are often perceived as not a product of individual knowledge and productivity, but simply a reflection of earning a credential…or social network formation…. In the University of California system, for example, researchers have documented that students spend more than three times as much time socializing and entertaining themselves than they do studying…Students in the University of California system devote twelve hours per week studying compared to forty-three hours in the following pursuits: twelve hours socializing with friends, eleven hours using computers for fun, six hours watching television, six hours exercising, five hours on hobbies, and three hours on other forms of entertainment….

The crucial years of intellectual maturation from ages eighteen to twenty-three are not yielding the gains in knowledge, discernment, and analytical capacity that they should, and that are necessary for a productive workforce and responsible citizenry…. Colleges and universities are not doing enough to ensure that college graduates experience their rightful intellectual growth and cognitive development and make successful transitions to adulthood.

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This failure likely has consequences for the long-term global competitivenessof our economy and the capacity of future citizens to engage and participate actively in a democratic society. This further degrades Modern thought, turning it inexorably toward individual feeling and subjectivism.