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the roots of populism
Who Gets To Be an Intellectual?

Conservatives are rightly lambasting the Washington Post for describing the Yale computer scientist and polymath David Gerlenter as “fiercely anti-intellectual” in a headline because he is right-of-center and a candidate for a job in the Trump administration. Yuval Levin:

Gelernter, a pioneering computer scientist at Yale, author of an extraordinary range of books, and about the most learned person you could hope to find in the wild, is apparently being considered for the role of White House science advisor. But it seems he has written critically about both Barack Obama and liberal academics. Worse yet, the Post’s Sarah Kaplan informs us, “Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said he hadn’t heard of Gelernter until Tuesday.” Imagine that.

We don’t have much to add on the merits: Gerlenter is clearly a top-flight intellectual and the Post‘s headline reflects exactly the type of transparent knee-jerk bias that is causing the mainstream media’s credibility to plummet and making it far less effective as a check against the potential abuses of a Trump administration.

The irony of this story is that there clearly is a great deal of anti-intellectualism at play in the Trumpian right. Jacksonian populism flows from gut and instinct, not academic deliberation. And yet the Post directed the slur at an accomplished scientist.

Liberals tend to blame Republican anti-intellectualism on the right’s own fever swamps and paranoia and prejudices. But the Gerlenter affair highlights another reason why conservatives tends to view intellectuals with suspicion: Because in the halls of elite newspapers and the Ivory Tower, the term is often understood to exclude right-wing thinkers by definition. If the category “intellectual” only encompasses those on the Left, then it is only natural that right-wing populists would turn it into a slur.

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  • ——————————

    “Who Gets To Be an Intellectual?”

    Mostly those who contribute little or nothing of any real value to mankind….

    • Genesis123

      Let me ask you this. Out of 7 billion people, how many are adding real value to mankind, advancing us further as a species? I can’t imagine it’s more than 70,000. Which is what, .001%. Maybe the number is higher, about 200-250K but no more than that.
      your opinion?

      • Wayne Lusvardi

        California’s tax base mainly comes from 170,000 taxpayers out of 39 million population.

  • Anthony

    So it starts: slow news day at TAI. So, let’s gin up the Ivory Tower debate to induce fervent commentary about those damned liberal intellectuals – web traffic must be sustained.

  • Beauceron

    “The irony of this story is that there clearly is a great deal of anti-intellectualism at play in the Trumpian right. Jacksonian populism flows from gut and instinct, not academic deliberation.”

    I would add that a lot of what is classified as “anti-intellectualism” on the right is not anti-intellectualism per se. It’s simply disrespect for the intellectual class because they are NOT intellectuals to begin with. This isn’t some sort of secular takfiri statement. It’s just that academics, especially in the humanities, have largely given up the pursuit of truth for the pursuit of social justice, and that switch opened the gates to identity politics, cultural relativism, gender politics, deconstruction, post-colonial studies– the whole fetid stew of every far-Left trope you can think of. They’re running around demanding Shakespeare and other foundational writers in English be removed form the curriculum requirement for English majors because they’re white (see, for example, http://reason.com/blog/2016/06/01/yale-students-tell-english-profs-to-stop). They’re demanding Plato, Descartes and Kant be removed from philosophy curriculums because they’re all white. The assault of freedoms on college campuses has been well covered, including here on this site.

    I don’t consider myself anti-intellectual. I just don’t have much respect for the majority of people in academia, at least in the humanities. Losing respect for academics because of their own actions is not being anti-intellectual– it’s a defense of the ideal of intellectualism.

    • Genesis123

      The only thing I would add is that the Left has deftly branded disagreement with tenets of the Left as anti-intellectualism. The only cure for that that I know of is refusing to play their game. Like your response for example. The Left underestimated and still underestimates I think just how much people hate being bullied.

    • LarryD

      A lot of the people on the left have the conceit that they are intellectuals because they work with words, instead of icky matter. But just because they write, doesn’t mean they think. Nowadays they mostly virtue-signal, parrot the latest fashion in their class taste.

    • Wayne Lusvardi

      Whether the media inadvertently end up slurring left wing intellectuals by labeling reputable right wing academics and think tankers as anti-intellectual seems to be a moot point in the Trump administration. Trump hasn’t room for either of them in his cabinet or as advisers. That is why the right wing think tanks, like AEI, are in the same boat as Brookings or the Hudson Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations. And that boat is taking on water.

      Most of academia have tried in vain to associate Trump with some nefarious figure in political history which hasn’t stuck because Trump is a businessman and thus sui generis. He likely will look at public policy on a cost benefit basis (if green power is profitable without subsidies he won’t oppose it, but otherwise will defund it). If any entity threatens our economic interests or our citizens he is more than likely to use a big stick to retaliate or protect trade routes. He probably doesn’t care if terrorists are religious or secular and doesn’t need to hire the Muslim Brotherhood to provide cultural sensitivity training to our troops as Obama did.

      If Trump has an ideology it is American traditionalism. If he has a creed it is the American Business Creed. And neither anti-intellectuals or pro-intellectuals will have much of a voice even though many conservative intellectuals are pretending Trump may listen to them at least to maintain their private funding and sinecures. Nobody will care. This doesn’t signal “the end to history” or some hysterical re-start to history (the Cold War, a hot war, etc.) but a marginalizing of historians and academics. Obama may end up a forgotten president in 100 days for all we know. If so, “he’s history!”.

  • Anthony

    Right wingers get into a feeding frenzy about this specious/mindless issue – issue provides egregious misrepresentation under guise of serious analysis of cultural institutions (but it actually focuses elite resentments among a comparing class). Essentially, issue remains a puerile part of standard right wing talking points leveled to further agitate….

  • FriendlyGoat

    The shrewdest traders, the most successful con artists, the most totalitarian dictators, the most violent gang leaders, the most monopolizing bosses and the serial criminals never caught are all intellectuals. They would not and could not ascend to and hold their positions if they were not.

    Your “average run-of-the-mill” intellectuals are those who realize it is best for this group to be controlled, not celebrated and certainly not crowned.

    • Anthony

      For your Machiavelli file: washingtonmonthly.com/2017/01/18/trump-and-the-revolt-of-the-white-middle-class/

      • FriendlyGoat

        Thanks. From that article:

        “One significant consequence for progressives is to understand the extent of the resentment Trump voters feel toward the white elite.
        These voters likely feel like they are fighting a losing battle and are putting up a last stand to defend their way of life.”

        Indeed, and their last stand was a circular firing squad for the simple reason that they did not know high-end tax cuts work in reverse to destroy living wage jobs rather than creating them. It is a tragic misunderstanding of real economics.

        • Anthony

          Well, FG, here we are! Keep on informing, exposing, contradicting, and standing up without apology – hypocrisy, self-serving narratives, and patriotic correctness can’t be permitted to corrode successfully the long-term health of our nation. And, you’re welcome.

        • QET

          Considering that all the pre-election intellections of the so-called “intellectuals” to whom you and Anthony give credence regarding Trump’s chances were so dramatically, unexpectedly and wholly wrong; considering that said “intellectuals” demonstrated to a man (and woman) a herd mentality and a complete misunderstanding of human psychology and American sociology, not to mention American politics; considering that, from even a semi-scientific standpoint, the hypotheses on all such matters of theorists and analysts who were so uniformly wrong would be deemed to have been conclusively refuted and falsified; considering all of this, it amazes to see the two of you eulogizing post-election analyses from the same set of premises, as if such analysts know now what they were utterly ignorant of just a few weeks ago. Have you learned nothing? You are not merely clinging to, but doubling down on, your epicycles and equants after Copernicus, Brahe and Kepler have revealed your error.

          • FriendlyGoat

            The Trump revolution was enabled by less than one tenth of one percent of the total vote in the three states which made it possible in the electoral college, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. This has nothing to do with whether my world view, or Anthony’s, or yours is actually correct. A slight liberal majority at a point in time does not cause you to abandon your views, and a slight conservative majority in certain states at a point in time does not cause me to abandon mine. Evidence of what is right or wrong will continue to roll in, independent of campaigns or votes here and there.

          • QET

            You’re still not understanding. You can have whatever ideals you want to have. But the present exercise attempts to understand how it is that Trump won. It is an exercise in demographics, sociology and politics. It is an exercise both in the facts and the correct inferences therefrom. This was not an election between Hillary and Jeb Bush. This was not another election where one mainstream party candidate merely barely outpolled the other in a few states sufficient to tip the electoral college. About that anyone can be wrong because the results are well within the pre-election statistical margin of error. This election brought a candidate to office who not only had been given no chance whatsoever by the political literati of both sides, who not only was emphatically, insultingly rejected by nearly every officeholder and candidate in his own nominal party, but whom Democrats as little as one year ago were actively encouraging to run and rooting for because every “intellectual” knew that Trump would only weaken the Republicans and guarantee a Hillary presidency. Such a miscalculation demonstrates such flaws in knowledge, understanding and reasoning that it is positively irrational to heed post-election “explanations” from the same ignorant sources.

            In short, you (and Anthony) are fitting the data to the curve instead of the curve to the data.

          • Anthony

            There is no curve to fit data and no data seeking a curve; it all reads (to the uninformed) technically appropriate but as FG says it may just be necessary spin for an audience seeking rational.

          • FriendlyGoat

            It’s important to realize that Anthony and I are two different people with two very different backgrounds and views which are probably divergent on any number of things. We are both different from most of the rest of the commenters because we like to write and share thoughts which are not just in the lock-step of cynical conservatism which otherwise resides here. You may have noticed that TAI itself finds ways to disclaim or qualify pure conservatism in most of its articles, even when spinning center-right. I’m usually with the disclaimers or qualifying statements as a matter of balance—-and I perceive that Anthony is too.

            Now, to this election. In Egypt in 2011, the voters elected the Muslim Brotherhood. In Russia, the voters elect Putin. In the Philippines, they elected Duterte. Voters do not necessarily produce the best paths for their countries at points in time.

            Trump won because a lot of people have listened to decades of voices telling them to be angry. There was talk radio, there was Fox News, there was Breitbart and many similar sites, there was a large chunk of the preaching industry, there were Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter, there was the ever-present Chamber of Commerce Gang to blame collective bargaining (and make those who no longer have it jealous), there was the racism industry of the alt-right, there were people for whom guns are the only issue, there was anger at gay marriage, there was Hillary’s screw-up in opting for a private e-mail server, AND, there is the trader class eating the worker class’s lunch.

            But—–BUT—–what people are going to get is what Grover Norquist called “a president with enough working digits to hold the pen to sign conservative legislation”. Well, they’ve got him. The “winner-take-all” result from The Right will not be significantly different than if they had elected Ted Cruz. This will soon be proven in spades.

          • QET

            I can hear the sound of you patting yourself on the back all the way over here.

            Like I said, have the ideals you desire, but please don’t continue to believe that the having of these ideals confers understanding of reality.

            But this statement really disqualifies you: Trump won because a lot of people have listened to decades of voices telling them to be angry.

            For months the Left has been beating up Trump supporters, threatening to assassinate Trump, at the moment they are in DC setting fires and smashing property and handing out beatdowns to Trump supporters. These are documented facts. On the other hand, every post-election “Muslim hate crime” has turned out to be a hoax. One or two blacks were verbally harassed or maybe shoved a bit at a Trump rally back in July. I beg you to produce documentary evidence of mobs of angry white people dragging black people, or a Hillary supporter of any color, out of their cars and beating them up. I beg you to produce documentary evidence of white guys torturing a helpless black kid live on Facebook while yelling “F*ck Hillary!” I beg you to produce documentary evidence of conservatives of any stripe in January 2009 mobbing DC, setting fires and smashing property. Please FG, for the love of God, show me evidence of the Right’s anger that even comes close to the Left’s.

            [Edited out an unfinished sentence]

            The Left is pure anger, pure righteous fury. The Left hates its political opponents with a visceral hatred that can be felt, literally. The fact that it accuses the people it is beating bloody of being “angry” and “hate” is conclusive evidence that the Left has, collectively, and in most instances individaully, gone completely insane. If I were you I would dissociate from these people. Keep your ideals, but keep your distance, is my advice.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I have always “kept my distance” from radical left fringe nuts. They are usually single-issue and often counter-productive. You and nearly everyone else here wish to paint those pictures when someone like me comes along and says: “Hey, wait. Most people BENEFIT from public education, fair labor standards, protection of the environment, freedom from religion, regulated markets, public utilities and infrastructure, elder security programs, building codes, zoning, public sector jobs, food safety, occupational safety, supervision and insurance of banks, public parks, consumer fraud laws, labeling requirements, insurance oversight, and all the rest.”

            Those are all left-side initiatives woven into daily life and now taken “for granted”. When some or many of those start to be unraveled, you are going to hear from a lot of upset people. Some of those are going to be the Trump voters themselves.

          • QET

            You need to better understand the opposition. Sure, the Right has a fringe just as the Left does. But what people of the non-fringe Right take for granted, what even we want, is two aspirin and only two aspirin. Progressives, having discovered long ago that two aspirin were good, proceeded to shove 20 down our throats and now want to shove 200 down, because that is what “progress” means to them (you?). Your belief that the politics of the Right entail a return to the world of 1850 just demonstrates either your ignorance, your bad faith, or both.

            What you call “unraveling” some would call “improving.” Take public education. Who has called for the elimination of public education? Exactly no one. Not even the fringe Right as far as I know. Please note that charter schools ARE public education. So you may throw in with the teachers’ unions who oppose them tooth and nail, but that doesn’t make them any less “public.” Now, if what you are really saying is that charter schools and other means to improve public schools that I imagine even you believe need improving are the wrong way to go about such improvement, then that is fine, but it obviously does not entail that your opponents want to “end” public education. As for zoning, to take another of your examples, look at Houston. it has no zoning code to speak of, and it is growing like gangbusters. When is the last time you heard of a housing crisis in Houston? Yet we hear of it all the time in Blue America.

            I think you should seriously consider that the regulatory regimes in this country have long since reached the point of diminishing returns. Responding to every criticism of regulatory expansion with the same tired “so you want arsenic back in people’s hot dogs?!” retort just makes your side look unreasonable, not the the other side as you imagine.

          • FriendlyGoat

            You are trying sooooo hard to discredit both me—-a sensible guy—–and the sensible left side of anything or everything. You have what you want. All the “intellectuals” on both sides are astonished that 1) Hillary could not sell, 2) Jeb and 14 more Republicans could not sell, 3) But sensational shtick sold—-with details absent.

            Many people from your own side are going to continue to be astonished at what they get—–because it is not going to be what a lot of them thought they were voting for. It is going to be wealth and power going straight up, even as Donald tries to tell people it is otherwise. I will be watching 2017 unfold—–as will you. A lot of people are going to be taking aspirin and all other kinds of booze and meds—-for both pain and anxiety—-and a good portion of those will be people who championed conservatism in principle UNTIL the details fell on them like a brick.

          • Anthony

            FriendlyGoat, I appreciate both the distinction and clarification above; but it’s not a matter of your view (or even mine) as much as the dissonance (conscious or unconscious) they inadvertently cause. You have a site composed of pensioners and others (quasi-traditionalists perhaps) who enjoy waxing political (philosophical) at a late stage in life. I am not sure about you but this waxing is my least incentive here; public policy, governance, citizen obligation/responsibility, and practice have been both a professional endeavor and life-long passion. So, the polemics we experience at TAI (comment section not literate pieces) are contextually minor (time has passed). That is, the faux polemics ought not distract from your human inclination – leave these vitriol arbiters to their own devices and demons (the other – them). Man’s time on the planet has always brought such and will continue to do so but let not the Dross’ stain your intention. Carry on my well intended Human Being!

          • FriendlyGoat

            I do appreciate your thoughts here, your presence here, and many kind words you have said to me. That said, because other readers have noted we like each other, I don’t want you stained with too much association to the crazy goat. I’m aware that you have traveled on intellectual planes that I have not, and I’m also, as a bit of hobby, too enamored with that late-life waxing of which you spoke.

            Seriously, it’s fun to write things I never wrote before, to not know in advance what they will be until I see them in print myself. A comment section allows us to be “published” for better or worse. I like this particular place for the variety of TAI subjects (aka “tangents” we are invited to pursue) and for the small size of comments in the dozens rather than hundreds or thousands. Unfortunately, most of this commenting readership waxes “negative”, but——WE don’t have to. You can be a centered scholar and I can be a wandering goat.

          • Anthony

            Thanks for the kind words and it’s my pleasure to be associated with a fine man. I know you enjoy the waxing and my net excluded you deliberately. WRM and ViaMedia are enhanced by both your patronage and contribution. Keep writing and keep surprising yourself (but if you’re honest, there’s very little surprise). Wander on….

          • FriendlyGoat

            Happened to run across this: http://www.vox.com/first-person/2017/1/18/14300952/donald-trump-vote-regret

            The best any media can do is get Trump voters who can explain to other conservatives why they now already regret their votes.

          • Anthony

            I read that earlier and thought about you, but didn’t want to spoil the moment. What is it: hindsight is 20/20. Thanks.

          • Jim__L

            FG, you’re single-issue on marginal tax rates. Radically so.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Hardly. I’m with almost all left-side issues.

          • Jim__L

            Even the ones that Christ specifically spoke against…

          • FriendlyGoat

            I assume you mean FDIC, FDA, DOL, NLRB, NWS, FAA, FCC, CDC, OSHA, EPA and CFPB.

          • Jim__L

            You’re being deliberately obtuse, at this point.

            You simply idolize the Left. The Democrats are your god.

            That is not a good thing.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Sometimes a guy has to be obtuse when he is pestered by people (you and Tom come to mind) who are obtuse. Most of leftism is not denounced in the Bible. Most of it comes out of people’s realizations of what we need in matters which were unheard of in Bible times.

            Some words I can think of which are not mentioned there are “corporation, capitalism, research, electronic communication, micro-organisms, propaganda, pollution, systemic risk, public education, nuclear war, fossil fuels, insurance, and for that matter, pursuit of happiness. Then there are a few thousand other things.

          • Jim__L

            FG, the reason I engage with you at all is that I see that a lot of what is in the Bible with regards to economics is consistent with your beliefs, with one simple (but critical) point — Caesar is not responsible for generosity. Individuals and the church are. I think that reasonable people can be tempted to believe (in spite of evidence) that government is the solution, if they simply ignore the coercive aspects of government “generosity” — if you don’t pay taxes, you are arrested and jailed. That’s not generosity. It’s not even virtue. (It’s not even sustainable, as people find they can fatally and unsustainably vote themselves money from the public treasury.)

            But that is not what we are arguing here, and you know it. Yes, you have to slide out of the question, you have to distract, you have to misdirect, because ***deep down you know if it came to a direct argument, you can’t actually defend the issues I’m talking about***, and you know you might have to face the fact that you’re really more about the Democrats than you are about God. You don’t want to admit that you’re a servant of two masters, and the Democrats’ platform isn’t the one you hate.

            FG, you specifically embrace aspects of Leftism (the social agenda) that are specifically rebuked in the Bible. You are so enamored of economic “fairness” (and probably personal resentment against churchgoers who disagree with you on what that means) that you have sacrificed your own independence of judgement, your own ability to listen to what God is saying clearly in His Word, in favor of idolizing the Democrats’ party platform.

            The fact is that to love humanity, and to love individual human beings, is to recognize that human thriving involves resisting many temptations the flesh is heir to. It involves recognizing that there are differences between men and women — real differences, grounded in biology, that matter greatly when it comes to family issues — marriage, children, and yes, sex.

            But, you’re so hung up on economics that you reject that wholesale, in favor of the Democrats’ version of “love”, that appears nowhere in a Book that discusses love, real love, at great length.

            You take only as much of the Bible as supports your own predilections. You’re as bad as the most brutal Crusader, in that respect, and you’re lending your support to a cause that is leading people away from Christ by the millions.

            Stop. Just stop. Material wealth is not the end-all, be-all. Loving your neighbor involves reminding them what is right a whole lot more often than it involves sex. Christ Himself — a fire and brimstone preacher if there ever was one! — taught that the Old Testament is as much an expression of God’s Love as the New Testament, and He came to fulfill the Word, not “fix” it.

            I know that I’m not the most charitable person in the world. I’m working on it, and I thank you for the times that you remind me I should be more so. But please, have enough humility to admit that you yourself have faults that need correction. None of us here are perfect. The best we can do is accept it when someone else helps supply the perspective we lack.

          • FriendlyGoat

            History, with the blessing of selected Bible passages, says you can have monarchies, slavery, religion-motivated killing, capricious conquest, persecution of anybody, feudalism, animal cruelty, endless pollution, male dominance, religious government and multiple wives.
            Democracy says people can reject any or all of those things. We have been busy in the last few hundred years opposing those evils and many more. That work will continue, hiccups and all.

            Yes, I have my faults. The main one was being too easily hoodooed in earlier times of life. Not any more. I’m not willing to surrender Jesus for exclusive use by the advocates of laissez-faire. Your side just won an election with the most deceptive campaign in modern history. The church guys all rolled over for their own version of Caesar even as he bragged to Billy Bush that because he was soooo big and soooo rich he could do “anything”. You’re stuck with him and captured by him. I’m not.

          • Jim__L

            Again with the distraction, misdirection, changing the subject.

            You’ve copped to faults “in earlier times of life”… are you perfect now?

            I tried. I’ll probably keep trying, because among my faults is the inability to know when to quit.

          • FriendlyGoat

            The “subject” is that you think I should agree that abortion and gay marriage are sufficient reasons for me to side with the Chamber of Commerce, Club for Growth, Heritage Foundation, Roger Ailes, Rush Limbaugh, Jerry Falwell, Thomas Sowell, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Sarah Palin, and the Duck Dynasty on everything else.
            I can’t and I’m not going to.

          • Jim__L

            I’m not asking you to take sides. What I have seen from you on these very boards is that you are so far gone down the path of partisanship with the Democrats, that you actually AGREE with their positions on that and everything else.

            Open your mind, FG. Democrats aren’t perfect. And the people you listed there are for the most part not bad people.

            Democrats do not deserve the unquestioning allegiance that you’ve shown them on these boards. I’m not saying you need to change sides — it would be fantastic if you could work within the Democrats from within to get their positions changed! — but so far, you’re partisan as h**l, and as I have said before, you’ve kicked Christ to the curb when it suits you.

            I’m not convinced that it’s so impossible for you to see that, even if you haven’t shown much sign of it so far.

          • FriendlyGoat

            The people I listed there have all been lying to you, me and everyone else on political and economic matters for years to decades. This is not a small matter and the church people are supposed to have some gumption about it and some understanding of how they are being used as willful conspirators in blatant deception. If knowing that makes me an as h**l In your eyes, so be it.

          • Jim__L

            Willful conspirators in a blatant deception? That’s paranoia, FG, plain and simple.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Actually not. To be a church conservative, one is obligated to endorse falsehoods about Obama and Clinton, the real effects of high-end tax cuts, voter fraud and voter ID, regulations in general (without specifics), health insurance, public education, immigrants, trade agreements, environmental concerns, wealth divide, the United Nations, human rights, guns, even to now include silly stuff like obligations to insist Trump got a “landslide” mandate and the biggest inauguration crowd ever. How do I know this? Aside from you and Tom routinely letting this reality slip, there is that 81% thing which was documented on 11/08/16.

          • Jim__L

            “To be a church conservative, one is obligated”… Where in the world do you get this from??? Aside from the Creed, there really aren’t any obligations, particularly not political ones. You have this weird idea that everyone is utterly mentally lock-stepped with whatever organization they’re a part of. It’s insane.

            FG, you do this. Other people do not. It’s utterly unnatural. It’s what makes me think you’re actually a bot.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I know what it took to “fit in” with evangelical church people in the Reagan era and I know what it takes now. If you go to the adult Sunday School class and in the discussion let it slip that evangelism and nationalism are actually opposite world views, that Jesus is as much for everybody as for us and that as citizens in Christ we really are citizens of the world, there is “going to be a problem” when 81% of the people you might be with there recently voted for Mr. Trump.

          • Jim__L

            Why do you think that people have to listen to anyone to be angry with the way things are going?

            a) People can notice just fine for themselves that things aren’t going well, and b) Sometimes it’s the people that say things are going exactly as they’re supposed to be going are the ones that make people the angriest.

          • FriendlyGoat

            People don’t HAVE TO listen to all the voices telling them to be angry. But most conservatives do because they are easily baited and caught.

          • Jim__L

            … No, it’s because conservatives look around, and see things to be angry about already.

            Talk radio isn’t a cause of conservative thought, it’s an effect.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Talk radio is a business where certain people get rich making other people stupid and mean. If you or I have a “need” to listen to Rush Limbaugh and the gang several hours a day for decades, it is because we are unable to conjure up in our own minds and thoughts and words that are more true, lovely and of good report. We are easily addicted to a constant gripe-fest and a lot of people settled for it as a substitute for being happy or satisfied with their own thoughts.

          • Jim__L

            Listen to yourself. “Conjuring up?”

            Leftism is about magical thinking and fantasies. The awful reality that occurred as a result of Leftist policies has led to Trump.

            What is “lovely and of good report” is not true. That’s the problem.

          • FriendlyGoat

            When Paul wrote to the Philippians (4:8), he did not appear to tell them there was inconsistency to be expected between whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report.

            As for what led to Trump, we’ve already been over that. Most significantly, the church—- which is supposed to be our balance wheel of discernment—–went nuts and got duped.

          • Anthony

            They were not wrong qet but too close to reinforcing confirmation; a bias perhaps but wrong that’s interpretive. It’s quite simple and not reliant on post-hoc logical ruminations.

        • ——————————

          “they are fighting a losing battle and are putting up a last stand to defend their way of life.”

          Only according to the the left, intellectuals, academia, and the elites….

          • CosmotKat

            and Goat.

    • ——————————

      “The shrewdest traders, the most successful con artists, the most totalitarian dictators, the most violent gang leaders, the most monopolizing bosses and the serial criminals never caught are all intellectuals.”

      Technically, yes, but term ‘intellectual’ has taken on a different meaning over the years.

      • FriendlyGoat

        I’m glad you understand that the “technical” meaning is the reality we live in (and have always lived in) and that the “different meaning taken on” is a misunderstanding and a spin.

        • ——————————

          “I’m glad you understand that the “technical” meaning is the reality we live in”.

          Actually I believe the usage/meaning of ‘intellectual’ has been changing over the years.

          “”different meaning taken on” is a misunderstanding and a spin.”

          Not necessarily.
          Words can, and have, changed ,expanded, or contracted their meanings over the years, depending on how they get used by the populace.

    • Wayne Lusvardi

      I would add that the dictators, organized crime bosses, terrorist mullahs pretending to be religious, gang leaders, etc. that you mention are misled in reading Machiavelli by distorting intellectuals.

      Machiavelli had an ethical system (read Erica Benner, “Machiavelli’s Ethics” and “Machiavelli Moralista” in Italian). And Machiavelli had a Golden Rule: “The offenses one does to a man should be such that one does not fear revenge for it”. He was opposed to corrupt Catholicism but advocated conventional religious morality.

      “He never wrote “the ends justify the means”. That was a distortion by Leo Strauss and others. He wrote: “You cannot under cover of good do evil” (Discourses I, page 46).

      The highly selective reading of Machiavelli has been propagated by intellectuals and “pop Machiavellianism” (“What Would Machiavelli Do? The Ends Justify the Meanness”, “The Mafia Manager: A Guide to Corporate Machiavellianism”). Machiavelli has been ripped off by Communists, Nazis, Fascists (Marx, Gramsci, Mussolini, etc.) but he admired the self-less Roman leader Cincinnatus.

  • f1b0nacc1

    Reading this, I am reminded of the old quote, “There are some ideas so stupid, that only an intellectual can believe them”

    “Intellectual” has become a term used by self-appointed elites with a vaporous definition and few standards other than sneering condescension to the ‘lesser classes’.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    Still waiting for the Leftists to recognize the difference between the negatively associated Populism (generally associated with evil leaders like Hitler, Mao, and Stalin) and the Nationalism of the Jacksonians who put Trump in office. For as long as the Leftists continue to mislabel why Americans have rejected them, they will remain in the political wilderness.

  • LarryD

    The term “intellectual” only goes back to 1898. Tom Wolf recount the origin in his essay In the Land of the Rococo Marxists

    The word “intellectual,” used as a noun referring to the “intellectual
    laborer” who assumes a political stance, did not exist until Georges
    Clemenceau used it in 1898 during the Dreyfus case, congratulating those
    “intellectuals,” such as Marcel Proust and Anatole France, who had
    joined Dreyfus’s great champion, Emile Zola. Zola was an entirely new
    form of political eminence, a popular novelist. His famous J’accuse was
    published on the front page of a daily newspaper, L’Aurore (“The Dawn”),
    which printed 300,000 copies and hired hundreds of extra newsboys who
    sold virtually every last one by midafternoon.

    Zola and
    Clemenceau provided a wholly unexpected leg up in life for the ordinary
    worker ants of “pure intellectual labor” (Clemenceau’s term): your
    fiction writers, playwrights, poets, history and lit profs, that whole
    cottage industry of poor souls who scribble, scribble, scribble. Zola
    was an extraordinary reporter (or “documenter,” as he called himself)
    who had devoured the details of the Dreyfus case to the point where he
    knew as much about it as any judge, prosecutor, or law clerk. But that
    inconvenient detail of Zola’s biography was soon forgotten. The new
    hero, the intellectual, didn’t need to burden himself with the irksome
    toil of reporting or research. For that matter, he needed no particular
    education, no scholarly training, no philosophical grounding, no
    conceptual frameworks, no knowledge of academic or scientific
    developments other than the sort of stuff you might pick up in Section 9
    of the Sunday newspaper. Indignation about the powers that be and the
    bourgeois fools who did their bidding-that was all you needed. Bango!
    You were an intellectual.

    From the very outset the eminence of this new creature, the
    intellectual, who was to play such a tremendous role in the history of
    the twentieth century, was inseparable from his necessary indignation.
    It was his indignation that elevated him to a plateau of moral
    superiority. Once up there, he was in a position to look down at the
    rest of humanity. And it hadn’t cost him any effort, intellectual or
    otherwise. As Marshall McLuhan would put it years later: “Moral
    indignation is a technique used to endow the idiot with dignity.”
    Precisely which intellectuals of the twentieth century were or were not
    idiots is a debatable point, but it is hard to argue with the definition
    I once heard a French diplomat offer at a dinner party: “An
    intellectual is a person knowledgable in one field who speaks out only
    in others.”

    In short, the term has been deserving of being a slur almost from the very beginning, exempting only Zola himself. So call me an anti-intellectual if you will, I will bear the label with pride. Intellectuals are snobs, conceited, arrogant, hypocritical and of no positive value to culture or society.

  • J K Brown

    The “anti-intellectualism” is mostly simply acknowledging history and the gullibility of so many allegedly educated people

    The fading of the critical sense is a serious menace to the preservation of our civilization. It makes it easy for quacks to fool the people. It is remarkable that the educated strata are more gullible than the less educated. The most enthusiastic supporters of Marxism, Nazism, and Fascism were the intellectuals, not the boors. The intellectuals were never keen enough to see the manifest contradictions of their creeds. It did not in the least impair the popularity of Fascism that Mussolini in the same speech praised the Italians as the representatives of the oldest Western civilization and as the youngest among the civilized nations. No German nationalist minded it when dark-haired Hitler, corpulent Goering, and lame Goebbels were praised as the shining representatives of the tall, slim, fair-haired, heroic Aryan master race. Is it not amazing that many millions of non-Russians are firmly convinced that the Soviet regime is democratic, even more democratic than America?

    von Mises, Ludwig (1945). Bureaucracy (Kindle Locations 1604-1610).

    I also remember reading the assertions of so many university professors and presidents who declared that one simply was not educated if their field of study had exchangeable value and improved ones capability to do something useful for their fellow man, e.g., something outside the Liberal Arts. Professor Gerlenter is a professor of computer science, so by the above measure of so many of his colleagues, he is “uneducated”. It is an ignorant assertion, but a popular one with a lot of academics.

    • PierrePendre

      Orwell who was an intellectual (by most definitions) and of the Left held his fellow Left wing intellectuals in contempt for reasons similar to those of von Mises which he explicited in the preface to Animal Farm which wasn’t published until 1972. British intellectuals of Orwell’s era were characteristed by an almost automatic admiration for everything that was non-British in the cultural, economic and political spheres just as they are united today in their opposition to Brexit which they mistake for a rejection of European culture as opposed to European bureaucracy. There are still British intellectuals who think Brexit’s forerunner of 500 years ago, the Reformation, was a disaster for the same reasons. At least there is no modern equivalent of that tedious bunch of frauds the Bloomsbury Group. I still chuckle over the remark of one of them, I think from memory it was Frances Partridge, that WW2 “must be won for the sake of the intellectuals.” they were that precious!

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