Monday 2 May 2011

The intellectuals have had their chance - and blown it...


Since 1945 (and building up for a couple of centuries before), intellectuals in the West have risen to hold power in the World.


The first Western intellectual elite was probably Germany, from the late 19th century up to 1933 - when the country was led by 'mandarins' - mainly the senior state administrators, Professors and major Gymnasium teachers.

However, unlike nowadays, the German mandarins also had a military ethos and presence - such that intellectuals were screened by university dueling fraternities for the military virtues such as dominance, masculinity, hierarchy, nationalism, obedience, group loyalty and physical courage.

(But their self-assertion was their downfall.) 

[See Fritz Ringer The Decline of the German Mandarins: The German Academic Community, 1890–1933].


An even greater dominance of the intellectual elite emerged after WWII

This time, however, and especially since the mid-1960s; the elite was anti-military: pacifist, submissive, quasi-equalitarian, xenophilic, feminist (indeed, increasingly female), and lifestyle-rebellious.

(And their self-hatred was their downfall.)

[See Herrnstein and Murray's The Bell Curve.


Well, all this has been in place for the past couple of generations, and what have we got?

The intellectuals promised inspirational High Art, Pure Science and the Social Virtues.

What they delivered was ugly and depressing art, dishonest and incompetent science; and moral inversion.


What we have is fashion-driven, novelty-seeking, self-indulgent, lazy, cowardly, unprincipled, careerism/ holiday-making - all of this disguised by ever thicker and more garish coatings of public relations, hype and spin.


The intellectual class wanted to run things, they had they chance and ran things, and they failed...

We failed.

We won't get another chance. 



Alex said...

Why did 'the intellectuals' deliver ugly and depressing art? Is it in their power to do this?

There's a thesis that ugly art, meretricious music, and unreadable literature were created on purpose. (see John Carey's book, The Intellectuals and the Masses)

Bruce Charlton said...

I tried to set out my understanding here: