Will intellectuals always be against authority and the ruling establishment? What if the ruling authority has a national project that would achieve much of what intellectuals demand, like freedom, social justice, and dignity?
Some people who are considered cultured are intellectually immature. They imagine that opposing authority automatically signifies revolutionary purity, while taking the side of authority signifies hypocrisy.
The intellectually immature thinkers are starting to become a distressing phenomenon. They already oppose the next president even before he announces that he is going to run for president. Such opposition has dubious results and is based on vacuous slogans against authority supporters.
Close to the end of the 1980s, I attended the PhD. dissertation discussion of Mostafa Abdel Ghani, a journalist at Al-Ahram newspaper, titled “Intellectuals and the July Revolution.” The dissertation committee included Ahmed Bahaa el-Din and Younan Labib Rizq.
The words of Din provided an eloquent lesson. He said people may oppose authority or the president only if he has a national project which they disapprove of; not just for mere opposition.
Bahaa and Younan said the majority of intellectuals did not oppose the July Revolution and its leader Gamal Abdul Nasser. They took Nasser’s side and nobody called them hypocrites. Even some of the intellectuals who were imprisoned by Nasser did not consider him an enemy. They opposed him because they sought more revolutionary acts and democracy; but did not want to overthrow him. Ismail Sabry, the former Minister of Planning who was imprisoned in the era of Nasser is a clear example for this.
We must pay close attention to this new phenomenon of intellectually immature supposedly cultured individuals who are consciously or subconsciously implementing plans to bring down the Egyptian state.