Intellectual Idiocy

Matt McCaffrey over at MisesEconomicBlog makes note of a common trait among our intellectuals:

…“For [a revolutionary] atmosphere to develop it is necessary that there be groups to whose interest it is to work up and organize resentment, to nurse it, to voice it and to lead it.” Enter the intellectuals.

The intellectuals are a paradoxical product of the market economy, because “unlike any other type of society, capitalism inevitably and by virtue of the very logic of its civilization creates, educates and subsidizes a vested interest in social unrest.” Like Hayek, Schumpeter described intellectuals broadly as “people who wield the power of the spoken and the written word.” More narrowly, “one of the touches that distinguish them from other people who do the same is the absence of direct responsibility for practical affairs.” That is, intellectuals do not participate in the market (at least not in the areas they write about), and do not generally rely on satisfying consumers to earn a living. Add to this their naturally critical attitude—which Schumpeter argues is the product of the essential rationality of the market economy—and it is easy to see why intellectuals would be hostile to the market.

In other words, intellectuals are often out of place in entrepreneurial societies. The growth of the intellectual class is not a response to consumer demand, but to the expansion of higher education. Passing through the higher education system does not necessarily confer valuable skills, but it often does convince graduates that work in the market is beneath them…

That is all very true, but I’d add something else to it: our intellectuals are, for the very largest part, amazingly un-intellectual. For people who pride themselves on an alleged ability to think, they don’t think about much – and this is mostly because they don’t know very much. Marx wrote a book about what the laboring class wants when he had never done a lick of laboring work in his life. Lenin wrote a book about the development of capitalism in Russia when he had never entered the marketplace, at all.  What on earth could such men think they were writing about?  It’d be like me trying to write an in depth, philosophical work about surgery. I might have some interesting comments to make on the subject, but to take me for an expert in it, no matter how much I claim to have thought about it, would be absurd. Unless you get out there and see how its done, you’ll never really know.

But that doesn’t stop our intellectuals.  It never has.  Do keep in mind that “intellectual” and “scientist” are not one in the same thing – though intellectuals like to use the prestige of science to buttress their own position (as they both come out of universities, it is easy to blur the line between someone who actually knows nuclear physics and someone who pretends to know the finer points of gender and class in early 20th century New York City). But scientists and intellectuals are two different species – scientists know things, work hard and tend to have useful things to provide society. Intellectuals know nothing, don’t work and have nothing useful to provide anyone. Way back in the 18th century when the modern intellectual was born – think Voltaire, Rousseau and the other leaders of the amazingly mis-named “Enlightenment” – the truth was told about them.  The Enlightenment philosophers wrote a great deal on the ideal society and the right sort of government, but it took a level-headed, non-intellectual with practical experience to put them in their place: Holy Roman Empress Maria Theresa observed, “They condemn the past for its ignorance and prejudice, while knowing nothing at all about the past and not much more about the present”. She made the comment after having ruled with some success for 30 years – dealing all the time with the chicanery of other Powers, the corruptions of her own government, the failures of her own officers, ministers and people; and, of course, her own failures.  She knew whereof she spoke.  But would an Enlightenment philosopher who never held responsibility for anything ask her views on the subject?  Of course not; when they did notice her, they scorned and ridiculed her; they, the intellectuals, knew better.

And so it is with our intellectuals of today.  They don’t know, themselves, what has happened, what is happening and what is likely to happen.  They’ve got their theories built inside intellectual vacuums which take no consideration of basic facts and demand that their theories be implemented, immediately. They also get very mad at and drip with contempt against any non-intellectual who points out any flaws in the intellectual theory – and its even worse when a non-intellectual points out that the intellectual’s theory has been tried before and failed miserably (to an intellectual, whatever he’s thought up is brand new and the latest thing – it could not have been tried before because if it had, then it would have worked; that the intellectuals of 2014 are, save in the subject of same-sex marriage, merely regurgitating 19th century ideas is completely lost on them…they simply don’t know history…to them, the 19th century was robber barons, slavery, killing Native Americans and Seneca Falls; and that is doubly funny because when Seneca Falls happened, it was the least interesting event in a very interesting year).

Our President is, of course, an intellectual in good standing – and stands as a model of the type. He knows nothing, is quite convinced he knows everything, and is filled with anger and contempt for anyone who dares question him. We see in his unconstitutional power grabs a species of Caesarism – he doesn’t.  He probably doesn’t know much more about Caesar than the bare fact of Caesar’s existence. Obama may well view his illegal power grabs as a new and innovative way of governing a nation. It could be that he sees it as a way of breaking a log-jam and getting things done.  Governments have to govern, right? That such actions in the past have often led to dictatorship and/or civil war doesn’t enter into his head – because he doesn’t know about such actions in the past. And our intellectual class mostly applauds the President for the power grabs – I’m not just talking about the partisan hacks who will agree to any action as long as it is done by a Democrat, I’m talking about people who supposedly are of great education: they are applauding this and it is because they are just as ignorant as Obama.

Ok, so what do we do about this?  Given that our intellectuals are ignorant but in power and thus destroying everything how do we fix it?  First and foremost – stop giving them money.  Stop all direct taxpayer subsidies (things like grants from government for useless studies to be done; ok to pay a guy to figure out how to build a fusion reactor, worthless to pay a guy to find out how people feel about pop culture nonsense – as an aside, the guy working on the fusion reactor is NOT an intellectual as far as intellectuals are concerned, unless he blathers himself up with mental goop in support of intellectual positions on social and economic matters) but also stop all indirect taxpayer subsidies (you know, where Big Corporation bosses buy themselves a good reputation amongst intellectuals who otherwise would hold them in contempt by giving vast, tax-deductible sums to foundations which are citadels of intellectual power). Intellectuals, by nature, do not produce wealth – to have a large class of intellectuals you have to support them.  Stop supporting them and you’ll stop having them – at least, having them in large enough numbers to cause a problem.

And we do have to do this. Having intellectuals in large numbers is always a problem.  It caused the Russian Revolution (one jokester website put out a fake news article from 1917 announcing that “pretentious, goateed, coffee-house types seize power in Russia” – that pretty much nailed it; but it wasn’t all just harmless fun…those are the precise types of people who build a GULAG), it ended the British Empire (how so? Well, the Brits built schools but the schools did not educate the Natives into being the doctors and engineers that the Natives actually needed – the schools educated the Natives into being teachers and lawyers…who were useless to the Native peoples but very effective at convincing their fellow intellectuals in Britain that all power in the Native lands should be transferred to the Native intellectuals); everywhere that intellectuals reached a critical mass you then have a body of people who produced nothing but were dissatisfied with everything and given that they knew nothing of history, they were all too willing to try social experiments upon the common people. In case you’re wondering why our economy is regulated to death while the schools don’t work and out-of-wedlock birth skyrockets and welfare dependency grows while people are less and less capable of reading a simple sentence it is because intellectuals got themselves some clever ideas and immediately imposed them on society.  I absolutely assure you that no one with a practical turn of mind who did something useful to make his daily bread came up with, say, the idea that the best solution to poverty is to make people dependent upon government.  It takes an intellectual to think up something like that. And unless we can curb these people they will just keep on coming up with stupid, destructive ideas until this nation is finished.

 

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27 thoughts on “Intellectual Idiocy

  1. Cluster July 8, 2014 / 7:56 pm

    CLERISY
    cler·i·sy
    ˈklerəsē/Submit
    noun
    a distinct class of learned or literary people.

    Our current intelligentsia is comprised of mal educated, self inflated “journalistos” (think: Ezra Klein), who only engage in group think and circular mental self gratification. Period. End of story.

  2. Cluster July 8, 2014 / 8:09 pm

    Here’s a good example of the intellectual idiocy.

    Obamacare is considered law of the land and untouchable, yet our immigration laws on the books are completely ignored. Are laws – laws? Or are they enforced based on politics? I think we all know the answer to that.

  3. tiredoflibbs July 8, 2014 / 8:52 pm

    “Obamacare is considered law of the land and untouchable”

    Yes this has been their dumbed down talking point. Now, that the Supreme Court sided with Hobby Lobby and Citizens United, they however have a different take. Obame should find and implement a work around and use the IRS against these organizations/corporations that oppose him and ideology.

  4. tiredoflibbs July 8, 2014 / 8:54 pm

    Here is something else for idiocy. The drones of the left are now praising Colorado for providing free contraceptives. They are so overjoyed that people would now have the freedom to practice safe sex. But these same liberals will scoff at states for wanting to provide a free voter ID card to each and every legal voter. Yet, this is somehow restrictive and racist in their eyes.

    Stupidity at its finest.

  5. tiredoflibbs July 9, 2014 / 5:14 am

    More idiocy from the left. They are constantly screeching that women have been deprived of their reproductive rights with the Supreme Court decision. They are being restricted access to birth control.

    And yet, these same proggies, are all for restricting the 2nd Amendment right of each and every citizen. They constantly bleat that they are not in any way restricting 2nd Amendment rights to the citizens. They call their measure “reasonable”. They can say to people “you can’t have this type of gun, or that accessory attached to it”. But see the Hobby Lobby decision not to provide four types of contraceptive, unreasonable, restrictive and deprive women of their rights.

    As I have said, they are never consistent. Let’s face the facts. More children have been killed by abortion than through gun violence. Of course, the left wants to deprive all citizens of their 1st and 2nd amendment rights – reasonable restrictions and all…..but don’t you dare touch abortion and contraceptives!

  6. Cluster July 9, 2014 / 8:20 am

    More progressive inconsistencies, this time re: the current illegal immigration invasion. Pres. Bush signed into law legislation that dealt with children who come to this country from non contiguous countries and that act prevents immediate deportation. Well, you guessed it. Progressives now blame Bush and of course cite this legislation as the “law of the land”.

    I have grown tired of people like this even having the ability to drink coffee in the morning.

  7. tiredoflibbs July 9, 2014 / 12:50 pm

    “Pres. Bush signed into law legislation that dealt with children who come to this country from non contiguous countries and that act prevents immediate deportation.”

    prevents immediate deportation? Does that mean these children will be bussed across the country and allowed to stay. Or did it mean that, they won’t be immediately returned to their country?

    Obame has a history of not following ANY law that he doesn’t agree with. But the continued fall back is always “bush’s fault”…. well he needs to say something to his useful idiots and mindless drones.

    • Retired Spook July 9, 2014 / 2:40 pm

      Obame has a history of not following ANY law that he doesn’t agree with.

      Tired, that begs the question, what happens if, say, 10% of the population decides that if the President can do it, so can they? What happens to the rule of law when no one takes the law seriously? Because that’s where we’re headed if we don’t turn this ship around.

      • Amazona July 9, 2014 / 8:52 pm

        Spook, I think we can look at what happened in junior high and high schools around the country, when girls started to take a very casual attitude toward giving oral sex to boys, because Clinton had explained that oral sex is not really sex. Suddenly this became quite acceptable behavior, because of the way it had been identified.

  8. Retired Spook July 9, 2014 / 2:50 pm

    Every once in a while some leftist intellectual actually recognizes the problem even if they aren’t intellectually honest enough to also recognize who’s to blame.

  9. Retired Spook July 9, 2014 / 3:03 pm

    I got to thinking after posting the Wayne Allen Root’s commentary about Maureen Dowd’s article; that, in all the attacks on Conservatives, I can’t recall any of the Lefties who have posted here EVER describing a major city that has been ruined by Conservative policies. At the risk of violating my own rule of never asking a question that I don’t know the answer to, does anyone know if that’s ever happened?

    • Cluster July 9, 2014 / 4:21 pm

      The progressives are currently ripping apart conservative “red states”.

      On another note and I wish I could take credit for this, but of course I have to credit Rushbo for this. Re: the current crisis on the border with Central American children escaping poverty and violence – when will the children of Chicago start escaping?

  10. Retired Spook July 9, 2014 / 3:31 pm

    OT, but does anyone think this could have an effect on the election in November?

    • Amazona July 9, 2014 / 8:53 pm

      Spook, that looks like a link but it isn’t. ????

      • Retired Spook July 9, 2014 / 9:43 pm

        Fixed – not sure what happened.

    • M. Noonan July 10, 2014 / 2:02 am

      Not much because they say they will “reinvest” their money in the markets until they start hiking rates, which they say won’t happen until Spring of 2015…so, the “taper” won’t really end until, say, May; that should be sufficient to keep the DOW high (and even send it higher) through the mid-terms…unless, of course, Obama can’t fudge the next GDP numbers to get them into positive territory…if 3Q GDP shows contraction, then we’re in a recession…which means the Fed has to keep Zero Interest Rates Forever going…and that means more bond purchases. We’ll see.

  11. Amazona July 9, 2014 / 9:01 pm

    Coming home from the mountains today I was listening to several different talk shows off and on, and a common theme was the mess on the border.

    I, for one, would be quite happy to see American military forces dealing with drug cartels in Central America, IF THOSE NATIONS ASKED FOR OUR HELP. The conditions there are inhumane for the citizens, and the problems infect our nation as well. I am remembering the days when the United States could be counted on to help other nations fight oppression and tyranny (before we were “fundamentally transformed, that is) and I wonder what you guys think of this.

    We are already seeing our nation infected by this cancer, shown in the violence along our border with Mexico. It seems that offering our help to these nations fight the problems they are facing would make those places better places to live and at the same time increase our own national security.

    We are under attack from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador. We are suffering from the drugs, the gangs, the violence, and now the influx of suffering humanity (being callously used by the Left but still suffering).

    • shawny2011 July 10, 2014 / 11:39 am

      I was thinking along those same lines Amazona. But I think there’s something else going on. We hear that this administration was expecting this increase in illegal immigrants, knew where they were coming from. And we send aid to those countries already, which likely never reaches those it’s intended for but we’ve done nothing to fix that. We send big bucks to the U.N.and now they are demanding that we grant all of these immigrants refugee status here, while they’ve done nothing to help them or protect them in their own countries, or in Mexico? Why didn’t we send teams down to provide humanitarian aid there? Why was there no effort to quarantine and medically treat those needing care before transferring them anywhere if this is “all about the kids”? Where they come from most never received immunizations so they are also at risk. No alerts to areas or facilities where they would be taken so that the state and local health departments could even monitor the situation and keep the public advised. CDC, HHS, nor WHO called in to assess (in fact reports by medical staff of a complete black out) the medical needs, communicable diseases, having quantities of appropriate medications on hand. None of this makes sense. I know at least 5 doctors who would have volunteered their services to diagnose and treat these people. What this administration is doing has nothing remotely to do with compassion or caring for the needs of these people. What they’ve done had the best odds of creating general fear and outrage as well as a nationwide pandemic. The fact that they’re ordering folks not to talk, congressmen not allowed to visit facilities, etc. gives every indication that it’s even worse than what’s been reported so far. They seem to be operating with no regard whatsoever for the safety and wellbeing of either these immigrants or the American people. Certainly not anything we would expect from American leadership.

  12. tiredoflibbs July 10, 2014 / 7:08 am

    Typical and pathetic debate by the progressives (intellectual idiocy at its best):

    USEFUL IDIOT #1 cherry picks statitics:
    State provides contraceptives: Lowest teen pregnancy rate
    State does not provide contraceptives encourages abstinence: Highest teen pregnancy rate
    Conclusion: contraceptives work, abstinence doesn’t.

    CONSERVATIVE #1: Points out cherry picked data. Takes population of all women in child bearing years shows:
    Same state provides contraceptives: Higher abortion rate
    Same state does not provide contraceptives encourages abstinence: Lower abortion rate
    Shows SEPARATE study (from a source USEFUL IDIOT #1 provided – GUTTMACHER) that confirms this measured observation quotes reasons, observations and conclusion.
    Same study emphasizes to avoid studies that CALCULATES “hypothetical saves” – some arbitrary rate of pregnancies avoided.

    USEFUL IDIOT #1 denies study.
    CONSERVATIVE #1 points out that USEFUL IDIOT #1 statistics proven wrong.
    USEFUL IDIOT #1 dismisses statitistics as “anomaly”. Presents another study.
    CONSERVATIVE #1 points out that 2nd study calculates “hypothetical saves” and does nothing to counter GUTTMACHER study.
    USEFUL IDIOT #1 repeats then insults, runs off.

    PRESENT DAY on USEFUL IDIOT blog:
    USEFUL IDIOT #1 returns and makes same claim as before.
    CONSERVATIVE #1 points out previous debate.
    USEFUL IDIOT #1 repeats the same as before.
    USEFUL IDIOT #2 chimes in with another study that again calculates hypothetical saves.
    USEFUL IDIOT #2 denies GUTTMACHER study. Repeats himself.
    USEFUL IDIOT #1 sneers at CONSERVATIVE #1 (AND OTHER CONSERVATIVES).
    USEFUL IDIOT #2 joins in the sneering.
    CONSERVATIVE #1 concludes that debating the USEFUL IDIOTS is a waste of time. USEFUL IDIOTS will continue to deny data and studies outside their ideology
    and dumbed down talking points.
    USEFUL IDIOT #1 and USEFUL IDIOT #2 claim “ever notice when CONSERVATIVE #1 is shown what the GUTTMACHER “really said” he runs away.”
    (They lie about the conclusion or try to equate another study that doesn’t measure the same thing).
    USEFUL IDIOT #3 also says CONSERVATIVE #2 “sh!t her bed again” and then lies about what was said.

    Proggressive idiocy at is best (worst).

    • Retired Spook July 10, 2014 / 8:06 am

      “hypothetical saves”

      Sounds like it came out of the same bucket of warm spit as “jobs saved”. I think the Left’s strategy of re-defining words and controlling the terminology is beginning to show signs of wear.

    • Amazona July 10, 2014 / 7:40 pm

      “USEFUL IDIOT #3 also says CONSERVATIVE #2 “sh!t her bed again” and then lies about what was said.”

      Hard to imagine a better summary of Liberal class, Liberal “thought” and Liberal discourse. They howl at the moon, spew toxic nonsense, and when they get called on it show their true vulgar, infantile, disgusting selves. The veneer of political discourse, when donned at all by the Libs, is very thin and quickly dissipates because they just can’t sustain it.

  13. tiredoflibbs July 12, 2014 / 9:26 am

    More inllectual idiocy:

    For years we have been hearing that “there were no WMDs in Iraq”. When confronted with unaccounted numbers from the UN. The dumbed down talking point became “they were destroyed by Clinton” wag the dog bombing. Whatever was found, the dumbed down talking point was “it’s not a stockpile”.

    Now it is coming to light (predictably by non-progressive news agencies) that ISIS is seizing uranium and HUNDREDS Saddam era CHEMICAL WEAPONS in Iraq.

    http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/07/11/Dirty-Bomb-Fears-after-ISIS-Seize-Uranium

    Let’s note that the progressive left had more concerns with non-radioactive DEPLETED URANIUM than they have shown with the radioactive uranium still in Iraq. The progressive media is staying away from these headlines because it is going against the dumbed down talking points of this pResident and the drones of the left.

    So following the “logic” of the left, these weapons were not there at all or they were there but..(insert favorite lefty excuse here). Now there is legitimate concerns as to what ISIS will do with these deadly materials. And predictably, the dishonest left is SILENT.

  14. Retired Spook July 12, 2014 / 9:55 am

    Just when I thought I had heard it all, there’s this.

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