Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Intellectuals in Charge

Fred Inglis complains that today's intellectuals are too timid.I think he is right to complain, but I also think he doesn't have a clue as to why his (our) compatriots are, well, not complaining all that much nowadays.

Intellectuals are, for the most part, politically on the left. And what do the left have to complain about? True, Marxism was proven to be a complete and dismal failure, but progressive goals of central banking, building a corporatist regulatory welfare state, graduated taxation, equal rights for women and minorities, universal health care, etc. have been achieved throughout most of the Western world. The U.S. is still moving in that direction in many ways, but the Europe of today is definitely America's future.

So we should not be surprised intellectuals aren't overly vociferous. They are part of the ruling ideology. One doesn't attack the ruling ideology when you are in complete agreement with it. And even when the governments in control are doing something with which you disagree, it's best to downplay it, since those are your people in charge. Are you in favor of more liberal immigration laws, but Obama has deported record numbers of illegal immigrants? Ignore it. Are you against wars, but Obama has engaged in military actions in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, and Somalia? And, worse, had American citizens assassinated when they could have been captured and brought to trial? Really ignore it.

The handful of conservative intellectuals are likely happy with those aspects of Obama's policies, so you won't hear much complaining from them. And since "conservatives" simply want to conserve, you don't hear them complaining about any of the progressive elements in the government that existed prior to the current administration. No, those are fine. Which makes it impossible to take them seriously when they complain about slight expansions of the current system. After all, in a few years they will be defending those programs as well.

The only intellectuals who are out there making their voices heard are the various classical liberal intellectuals. But these intellectuals are mostly ignored. Sure, they have good things to say on the war, for example, but they believe in "free markets"! Of course, practically every opponent of the free markets think that regulatory corporate capitalism is the liberals' ideal free market system, when that couldn't be further from the truth. But these so-called intellectuals aren't interested in hearing such nuances (facts), because that would undermine their world view and the world they created and the power structures to which they are now obedient.

So we should not be surprised that we don't hear much from intellectuals. They are the ones in charge of the universities and the universities' rules. They are the bureaucrats that really rule our corporatist regulatory welfare states. They are the ones being elected to office. They control all the levers of power. Why complain? Why raise a fuss? One would expect them to be obedient to the system they created.
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