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Willful Blindness of the Intellectual Class

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  • Willful Blindness of the Intellectual Class

    I was watching a video of Jonathan Haidt https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWgM2gBRQrA&t=518s , who I like, and I had to shut it off. He is talking about globalism and contrasting it with populism. Basically he casts the Deplorables in as good a light as he capable of by calling them the dispossessed who's voice is not heard. At the the same time he casts the social justice movement as the enlightened who naturally favor globalism. While he is obviously an intelligent man he must have skipped history lessons. The process of transferring power from representatives to bureaucrats as economic empires grow is not a new phenomenon. We can see it in the Roman empire, in the British empire, and the U.S. When size and complexity make representative government impractical collusion between commercial interests and government displaces representative government. The people that Hairy think are the enlightened, essentially the coastal elites and denizens of universities, are as ignorant of the processes that lead to social dissolution as the Deplorables. The only public intellectuals that I know of that even have a glimpse of the process are Victor Davis Hanson and to a lesser degree Ian Morris and Charles Murray. There are others but they are more tainted by political motivations.

    In addition to size and complexity luxury seems to be a contributing factor in the collapse of civilization. Many coastal elites, university denizens, bureaucrats and global financial workers are little more than parasites feeding off the labor of Deplorables and the accumulated wealth of previous generations. The same old patterns of mercenary armies, importation of foreign labor, the domination of the economy by luxury and entertainment, excess bureaucracy, the welfare state, multiplication of cults, decline of religion and decline of national loyalty are symptomatic of today's world.

    No sane person would suggest that nationalism is a good onto itself. The problem is the breakdown of borders of all kinds. International derivatives beyond the control of any central bank, the decline of sexual morality, rampant drug abuse, unrestrained salaries for entertainers and sports figures, illegal immigration, politically active bureaucrats, universities that are more fiefdoms for administrators and over paid professors, bloated middle management, conflation of equality with social justice, activist science and a myriad of other examples are symptomatic of the breakdown of borders physical and metaphysical.

    It seems to me that it is primarily ego and class privilege that moves our intellectuals to prefer to attack the speak in their brothers eye before removing the beam in their own.
    We hunt the hunters

  • #2
    How are you defining "intellectuals" in the context of this discussion?

    I've got two degrees and do not consider myself an "intellectual" - just decently educated for the times.
    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
      How are you defining "intellectuals" in the context of this discussion?

      I've got two degrees and do not consider myself an "intellectual" - just decently educated for the times.
      Intellectuals can be distinguished from scholars and technical experts. Intellectuals often write books based on the work of others. For example I would consider Einstein a technical expert although he did write on topics outside of his field of expertise. His work outside of physics was mostly just opinion however. Intellectuals apply knowledge more widely than experts and are expected to have a broad understanding backed up by accepted facts rising somewhat above pundits in technical expertise. An intellectual may limit themselves to very specific areas of knowledge but are expected to be able to relate it to the broader world in ways experts and scholars generally would be reluctant to do. Most experts today tend to see themselves as intellectuals perhaps because of the ease of access to a wide array of facts. We often see scientists engaged in social activism where in the past they were more reluctant to do so.

      Having various degrees helps legitimize an individual as an intellectual but is not necessary in theory. In practice not having a university degree is likely to decrease a person's change of being accepted as a public intellectual.

      The coastal elites consider themselves intellectuals if they are well read and university educated. That includes such a broad range of people in today's world the meaning is somewhat diluted. The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as

      "relating to the ability to think and understand ideas at a high level, or involving ideas:

      He was among the political and intellectual leaders of his time."

      Ideas rather than facts is perhaps the key to the definition but many people feel that the abstract nature of intellectual work is precisely why self described intellectuals can be dismissed. It becomes a philosophical question about epistemology at some point.
      We hunt the hunters

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      • #4
        This: "relating to the ability to think and understandideas at a high level, or involvingideas: takes it out of the realm of education and into the realm of IQ in my book. Education has never been a substitute for intelligence.
        When I think "intellectual" in the context most often used today, there is a decided element of elitism and even snobbishness in the mix. The college professor, for example, who refuses to allow himself to be challenged because he believes knows everything according to his and is there fore unassailable.
        Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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        • #5
          What I find particularly annoying is that our intelligentsia feel a need to repeat an almost religious mantra of virtuous ideas. Even if it is unrelated to what they are talking about they feel compelled to affirm global warming, Trump's lack of fitness for office, the importance of international trade agreements, anti sexism and racism positions, religious tolerance, the value of higher education, the value of cultural diversity, so on and so forth. Such complex topics are obviously not worth mentioning out of context yet they persist in an unnuance recantation.

          Unfortunately civilization is not so much based on virtue as resources which by and large the elites play no part in producing. Even from an organizational perspective basic resources can be thought of as self organising with the state required only to provide security of property and person. Wipe away all the modern advancements and security of food, water, shelter, energy and family can provide most of the reduction in suffering we enjoy. Of course the state does provide a role in food and water security by maintaining transportation directly or indirectly, water management projects, and other management services that the elites are often opposed to in the current dystopia.

          None of which is to say the social fabric produced largely out of abstractions is irrelevant. The kind of virtue that is required to maintain the social fabric, which I like to refer to as preemperial Roman virtue, is ironically not promoted by our elites.

          Social justice by and large is a side product of social development as dependent on affluence as ideology. China's reduction in object poverty after the introduction of capitalist markets being an excellent example.
          We hunt the hunters

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          • #6
            Intellectuals of this sort also tend to base their claim on knowing the right people, being in the correct social group(s), and espousing certain ideas and dogma as evidence of their enlightened status. This is the sort of person that will tell you that you simply don't get / understand modern art as they and their friends smugly snicker at your supposed unenlightened ignorance.


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            • #7
              Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
              Intellectuals of this sort also tend to base their claim on knowing the right people, being in the correct social group(s), and espousing certain ideas and dogma as evidence of their enlightened status. This is the sort of person that will tell you that you simply don't get / understand modern art as they and their friends smugly snicker at your supposed unenlightened ignorance.

              The stereotype of the incompetent and aloof intellectual is in essence no different from the stereotype of the bitter redneck who clings to religion and guns. Yes, you will find people fitting that stereotype, but this does not mean that gross generalizations are correct.
              My most dangerous mission: I landed in the middle of an enemy tank battalion and I immediately, started spraying bullets killing everybody around me having fun up until my computer froze...

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              • #8
                ^ so you say that you don't understand modern art
                Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
                Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
                Barbarossa Derailed I & II
                Battle of Kalinin October 1941

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                • #9
                  Are we now defining our government officials as members of this "intellectual class"?

                  Certainly there is a major disconnect between their reality and that of the majority of blue collar Americans.
                  Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by pamak View Post

                    The stereotype of the incompetent and aloof intellectual is in essence no different from the stereotype of the bitter redneck who clings to religion and guns. Yes, you will find people fitting that stereotype, but this does not mean that gross generalizations are correct.
                    Except the later is more like trailer trash, while the former is more like Otto in A Fish Called Wanda. Redneck trailer trash doesn't go around thinking they're smarter than everybody else, nor are they condescending towards those that aren't like them. On the other hand, the Intelligentsia of the Left does exactly that. Their incompetence is such that they don't recognize their incompetence and that's what leads pseudo-intellectuals, like Obama. to say condescending stupidities like the one you parroted in your comment.

                    By the by, generalizations are how we differentiate groups of whatever, including people. The generalization in this case isn't a gross one, but simply a generalization.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                      Are we now defining our government officials as members of this "intellectual class"?

                      Certainly there is a major disconnect between their reality and that of the majority of blue collar Americans.
                      The government is the bureaucratic class. Hi! I'm from the government. I'm here to help! God save us all...

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                        Intellectuals of this sort also tend to base their claim on knowing the right people, being in the correct social group(s), and espousing certain ideas and dogma as evidence of their enlightened status. This is the sort of person that will tell you that you simply don't get / understand modern art as they and their friends smugly snicker at your supposed unenlightened ignorance.
                        Eh, that characterterization fits pretty much everyone. Ie. "you're not an American you don't get it." has been said a few thousand times around here.
                        Wisdom is personal

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                        • #13
                          The hatred of "intellectuals" by the right wing comes across as entirely phony and has a long history. What kind of intellectuals? That's like saying that I hate all accountants and bar tenders.

                          It sounds more like jealousy. "I have a 80 point IQ, failed out of community college, and I hate people that are way smarter than me " ( Except for like Jordan Peterson because he agrees with my church educated political views.)
                          Zhitomir-Berdichev, West of Kiev: 24 Dec 1943-31 Jan 1944
                          Stalin's Favorite: The Combat History of the 2nd Guards Tank Army
                          Barbarossa Derailed I & II
                          Battle of Kalinin October 1941

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                          • #14
                            I'm not suggesting we should do without the left leaning educated class. I'm pretty sure that their proclivities are a symptom of not the cause of cultural problems. The educational institutions are another story. Our educational institutions desperately need to return to their original mission and discourage activism. Programs that don't meet academic standards need to be cancelled regardless of hurt feelings.
                            We hunt the hunters

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                            • #15

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