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Quote on Intellectuals


 On Intellectuals  


The following quote is made regarding Americans, but it would apply well to Africans, Europeans, or any other group:

Intellectuals think they should rule, but whenever they do, the result is disastrous. Plato's Republic imagined the perfect society ruled by philosophical "guardians," but even in theory this manifested itself in eugenics, immorality, and the elimination of freedom. Real-life states dreamed up and then implemented by the fascist intellectuals and the communist intellectuals also eliminated freedom, rejected moral absolutes that would limit what man and the state can do, and sought to design the next stage of evolution.

In a perhaps less virulent way, this is what many people fear if today's liberal intellectuals should ever get their way: Restrictions on liberties ordinary Americans prize (such as parental, private-property, and gun-ownership rights, economic liberty, religious freedom). The repudiation of morality (homosexual marriage, sexual permissiveness, abortion, cultural license). Experimentation that discards and seeks to redesign human life (the destruction of embryos for their stem cells, genetic engineering, cloning, designer babies).

But the question remains, are Americans stupid? Mental functions involve two different spheres: intelligence (mental ability) and knowledge (mental content). It is possible to have one without the other. Americans across the spectrum do seem to have intelligence, whether highly specialized mental abilities or down-to-earth common sense. They are certainly not so stupid as to allow intellectuals to rule over them. Americans do tend to be smart. Sometimes, though, they lack knowledge, or the knowledge they think with is untrue.

Many Americans, for example, think morality is nothing more than a subjective preference, ungrounded in the real world outside themselves. They assume that God too exists only inside their heads, if He exists at all, and that He need not be consulted in practical matters. Many Americans either know nothing of the past or believe that the wisdom of the ages should be discarded on the grounds that it is not modern. Many Americans go so far as to reject the very existence of any objective truth, insisting that reality itself is nothing more than a construction of their minds, to be reconstructed in any way they please.

Such a combination of ignorance, confusion, and hostility to knowledge is held today mainly by our smart people. It is precisely our intellectuals who are questioning the value of reason and the possibility of knowledge. We have thinkers without beliefs, fine minds with nothing in them.  
Gene Edward Veith

Last updated: Nov, 2011
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