Prolific writer, economist and historian, Thomas Sowell, gives us some frank talk about our self-appointed intellectuals.  I post it here for some who have felt it necessary to tell us that they are smart, or that those from whom they get their ideas are smart.  Seriously, if I haven’t noticed it already, your telling me won’t help either of us, one way or the other.  Here’s a small sample of Sowell’s piece on the subject;

What is more telling, form [rather than substance] was enough to impress the intellectuals, not only then but even now, years after the facts have been revealed…

That is one of many reasons why intellectuals are not taken as seriously by others as they take themselves.

How right you are, Mr. Sowell (I mean, yeee haaww, Baby!)  He continues;

The intellectual levels of politicians are just one of the many things that intellectuals have grossly misjudged for years on end.

During the 1930s, some of the leading intellectuals in America condemned our economic system and pointed to the centrally planned Soviet economy as a model— all this at a time when literally millions of people were starving to death in the Soviet Union, from a famine in a country with some of the richest farmland in Europe and historically a large exporter of food.

New York Times Moscow correspondent Walter Duranty won a Pulitzer Prize for telling the intelligentsia what they wanted to hear— that claims of starvation in the Ukraine were false.

Things never seem to change, do they?

As an aside, when I use the word “socialist” to describe people who express anti-capitalist ideas, I mean it.  I know what the word means and I know where the ideas came from even if socialists don’t.  I’ll use it when it fits, even if the socialists protest, scream, hold their breath, or try to brow-beat me into silence.  If you disagree, get a bloody dictionary, or better yet, a history book.  A very old one.  If you consider yourself a progressive intellectual, never mind.  It won’t help (see above quotes).

But that’s not the main subject of Sowell’s piece.  I’ll summarize it with a simple thought; logically, if you had some horrific defect in your ability to perceive reality, surely you’d be the last to know.  Wouldn’t you?  Keeping that in mind, go ahead and read the whole piece.  It won’t make you comfortable but it will certainly interest you, personally, one way or the other.

3 thoughts on ““Intellectuals”

  1. I’m a recovering alcoholic, and as anyone familiar with this condition will tell you, it is the only disease one can have where the disease tells you that you are okay. Think about it. If you have cancer, AIDS, the flu, the body tells you that something is wrong. But in the case of the alcoholic, the MIND says, “You’re alright, just take another drink”. The parallels are uncanny. I just ran across this-www.alphecca.com/?p=1037. It ties in nicely with this.

  2. It’s interesting to note that the “Pulitzer” in “Pulitzer Prize” was a practitioner of yellow journalism, i.e. the promotion of the concept that journalists have a responsibility to fix society. This translates in practice as employing lethal amounts of hyperbole to agitate the populace, and then placing one’s ideological opponents in the bullseye. If I received anything with Pulitzer’s name on it, I would not take it as a compliment.

    My definition of “socialism” is comparatively loose. I don’t think that most people still consider perfect social harmony and a post-scarcity world as actually achievable. I think that 150 years of failure to reach those goals (and not for a lack of trying) has reduced most socialists to simply arguing that a little more central control is always better. (And a little bit more… and a little bit more…)

    I reserve the Marxist label for those who are truly dopey for Uncle Karl. I’m often surprised at the number of people who lived the life of a slave in a communist country, then escaped, and still believe that the major problem was not following Marx’s ideal.

    But maybe I’m just bonkers and it’s only my perception. The USSR is still around, right guys?

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