07.31.2009 0

The Case Against Intellectuals

  • On: 08/04/2009 09:35:33
  • In: Hard Left
  • By David Bozeman

    To hear liberals talk, their wisdom knows no boundaries — and yet they walk among us. Turn on the TV any hour and you’ll hear some smug commentator or comedian (Bill Maher’s latest pronouncement: Sarah Palin may well have a future in presidential politics, given the stupidity of the American people) deigning to solve the world’s problems, sure that their academically acquired brainpower makes them uniquely qualified and their pronouncements self-evident.

    Intellectual snobbery festers on the conservative side, as well (I’m talking about you, Peggy Noonan), but it is one of the left’s defining traits.

    Note that no Democrat need ever defend his IQ. Barack Obama, who had no idea that his spiritual mentor of 20 years was spewing racist, anti-American bile, coasted to victory, in part, on the notion of his ‘dazzling’ intellect. Liberals have cornered the market on intellectual bravado — Bill Clinton and Barack Obama won because they are brilliant; Adalai Stevenson lost twice to Eisenhower because he was too brilliant to connect with average voters — while conservatives merely reply that, yes, Sarah Palin does so read newspapers.

    Intellectual elitism feeds on itself and its tenets spill over into mainstream thought. Those who move beyond academia into journalism, politics and government, just by the sheer weight of their conviction, mold public opinion, often before many are aware of how society has been altered. It is not by accident that the American economy is now — as it has been, to varying degrees, for much of the past century — under the strict oversight of silver-tongued bureaucrats like Henry Waxman and Ed Markey (of Cap and Trade legislation) and Barney Frank (overseeing American finance). If important East Coast universities are the repositories of all the world’s knowledge, then Washington, DC is where it is put into practice.

    Liberals over-emphasize intellect as a requisite for leadership. The obvious but seldom-spoken reply is that nearly every bloody, murderous movement of the 20th Century, including, but not limited to, Socialism, Communism, various strains of Fascism and even Nazism were all backed, if not celebrated (or even concocted) by the intellectual classes. While ordinary patriots must justify every verbal faux-pas, intellectual giants such as Lillian Hellman and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Walter Duranty (later revealed to have been blackmailed by Soviet Russia) are celebrated, despite having defended Stalin long after his atrocities were revealed to the world. Norman Mailer extolled the Soviet Union, and, lest one forget, Ward Churchill, who dismissed 9/11 victims as “little Eichmans” was a university professor (and, granted, an extreme example). Furthermore, nearly every ‘enlightened’ theory of social order that shocks modern sensibilities was advanced by, you guessed it, the intellectual classes.

    Abortion and birth control, for instance, revered by the best and the brightest as sacred rights, were originally touted as methods of weeding out society’s ‘unfit’ groups and races.

    Author Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged) wrote extensively on the possibilities and failures of intellectual activism: ” [Intellectuals hold] the potential of being either the most productive or the most parasitical of all social groups.” She also wrote that,” From the early 19th Century on, American intellectuals, with rare exceptions, were the humbly obedient followers of European philosophy, which had entered its age of decadence.”

    Contrary to Bill Maher’s ridiculous comment, wisdom does lie with the American people, which is why Obama-care is teetering on the brink of defeat. One need not suffer through the tedious details to smell a massive transfer of US health care to European-style socialism. In fact, our founders envisioned a nation that would thrive, not on the edicts of an intellectual class but on the common sense of average citizens.

    Nothing here is written to equate Obama-care with any of the aforementioned atrocities. Simply, intellectual bravado is, at best, meaningless, and, at worst, dangerous without common sense, temperament and perspective. The great figures who secured freedom and justice for America, while undoubtedly bright, are revered by history for their courage, compassion and vision, among other traits. The Obama Administration, despite all the bouquets to his intellect, will ultimately be judged not by his silky oration but by his impact on America. In the words of the very wise (albeit fictional) Forrest Gump, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

    David Bozeman is an ALG News Contributing Writer.

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