Friday 4 March 2011

If intellectuals are to blame - what should intellectuals do?


If, as I have said, intellectuals are to blame for the current malaise

...then what should intellectuals do about it all?

What, in particular, am I - an intellectual - doing writing this blog to be read by other intellectuals?

What, then, do expect myself and others actually to do!


1. To understand. Which entails being honest - the iron law of truth-speaking and truth-seeking. If you can't then shut-up and say nothing; never defend or rationalize dishonesty. Equally - discern beauty and virtue as best you can and seek them - don't excuse ugliness or moral inversion.

2. To refrain, if possible - by-hook-or-by-crook - from making things worse.

3. Not to attack or undermine nascent possibilities of improvement arising from non-intellectuals (on what are likely to be speciously pseudo-intellectual grounds or from intellectual special-interests or - especially - from intellectual snobbery).

4. To seek to become devoutly Christian, as best you can (as best I can). If nothing else, to pray.

5. That's about it...



Alex said...

The next generation of public intellectuals will be educated by incumbent liberals. We cannot expect deliverance from our woes by bohemian autodidacts emerging from their attics. Therefore the PC circle will remain unbroken indefinitely - at least by peaceful expedients, I think.

Freelance thinkers might get through to a thoughtful audience and change attitudes. Such, perhaps, is the raison d'ĂȘtre of a blog like this. But the internet audience is pitifully small.

Grim said...

Intellectuals are only to blame as far as it's fair to blame us for putting them into power. Intellectuals make fine advisers and terrible leaders. Societies in their declining stages often have intellectuals rulers. They normally need their head on pikes before they retreat to their natural place as advisers.

Brett Stevens said...

In this day and age, "intellectual" is a social position more than an intellectual one. For this reason, far fewer thinkers are identifying themselves as intellectuals. They're disguising themselves as can-do types. While some of this is prole drift, it seems like a lot of it is resistance to the politically correct "intellectual" "culture."

As far as what they can do, I think you hit on a good summary, and I'd add only one more think: attack fervently the memes that oppress you by undermining the categorical logic they use. If the enemy comes up with terms like "tolerance," make sure you hammer them on tolerating intolerance and tolerating tolerance for intolerance or anything else you can do to muddy the waters.

Bruce Charlton said...

Brett: "I'd add only one more think: attack fervently the memes that oppress you by undermining the categorical logic they use"

I used to do this but I have stopped at present. This may be cowardice. But it did seem counter-productive, the hatred elicited seemed to stoke up the zeal of PC-ites and give them a sense of mission - also distracting them even more from the source of real problems (which are *not* coming from reactionary intellectuals).

Brandon said...

Intelligence in the service of truth, such as yours, is not classed in the following: " shall perish the wisdom of their wise men, and the intelligence of their intelligent men shall vanish".

You are correct that the so-called intelligent ones are the cause of the present mess, but the ONE in charge of all makes a difference between them and others such as yourself, whereas theirs are decreasing and yours is increasing.

The former are the blind guides Jesus spoke of; the modern day pharisees; know it all pied pipers headed for destruction along with all their deceived feminazi followers.

Keepgoing the way you are going. you will eventually arrive at your destination.

Brett Stevens said...

Attacking memes is a science into itself. For starters, it must be done indirectly; subversion, not frontal attack. Secondarily, in the land of the passive-aggressive, one must always portray the innocent, the questioning, the open-minded but critical, and never the person who has actually found a center to life and wants to live it out. That scares the low self-confidence modern person :)

Bruce Charlton said...

Brett - I agree 'not frontal attack' but subversion would be using the One Ring to fight Sauron.

Absolute honesty and integrity are the only weapons we should allow ourselves.

Of course, honesty does not mean telling the enemy details of your plans to destroy them!

But it does mean that the end cannot be used to justify the means, and if the means seem inadequate - then one should just keep trying and hope for the best.

This is possible only for those who believe in a transcendental and eternal reality (and it is very difficult, uncertain and incomplete, even for them).