Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Ivory Tower

I talked my dad recently and said I have no respect for 90% of those in the U.S. Congress. I said they weren't intellectuals and they had no principles. He said he had no respect for the Ivory Tower.

I wanted to tell him that intellectuals had principles, they knew what the country needed, they weren't the shallow, stupid, short-sighted people that most of our Congressmen were. But I couldn't. I knew my words would sound empty. I just continued to point out how crazy, stupid, and dishonest our politicians were.

The real question is: if intellectuals or academics are so smart, why do they not enter the public arena? Why don't they infiltrate the bourgeoisie and change things? Is it because they don't think changing things is really necessary? (Revealed preference.) Likely, perhaps -- but it might also be because that intelligence, when it comes to success, can be a curse. The intelligent forever second-guess themselves.

Honestly, the question of why the "natural aristocracy" -- the academics and intellectuals -- don't rise to the top is still relevant. Nobody has supplied a good answer thus far. It leaves the intelligence of the so-called intellectuals suspect.

UPDATE: Philosophy is the history of second-guessing -- and really, is there any point to questioning whether or not I'm experiencing reality right now or I'm dreaming? Or whether inductive logic is necessarily logical? Or whether we can really know the "thing in itself"?

1 comment:

ADHR said...

Depends on what you mean by a "point".

The reason, I think, most intellectuals don't enter politics is that it's a highly toxic environment for intellectuals. Academics don't speak in soundbites, don't stay on message, and actually expect people to listen to what they say instead of how they say it. Since that's not the political environment, academics stay away. Which means the political environment gets more hostile to intellectuals. And so on.