Michael – Hrmm. I’m dubious about the whole thing. I guess I can see why Churchill might say that about Boston. But is it really true? It certainly had a lot of influential academics, eggheads, and writers (and still does). But that’s not my real objection.
You go on to write of intellectual capitals:
Do we have one today? It’s not a frivolous question. Given the massive problems facing us, isn’t it important to try and figure out where the solutions may come from? I’d vote for D.C., but you have to correct for the inertial drag of non-stop politics, where ideas get expropriated at birth for policy purposes, without the time to grow and develop. New York? A decaying crust of liberal opinion facing a daunting economic future that may take the best minds out of the city. Certainly not Boston anymore, or LA. Nor can any university lay claim to being the intellectual heart of the country.
Again I say: Hrmm. Is it ever true that the solutions to a nation’s problems come from its intellectual capital? And if it is true, is it more than coincidence? And, could you not make the case that intellectual capitals of the sort you describe create more of the nation’s problems than they solve? Kudos to Boston for the original Tea Party and abolition, but those were not primarily, never mind singularly, intellectual affairs. The former originated with the merchants, the latter with the ministers.
Beyond that, what is the score between solutions offered and problems caused from the good intellectuals of Beantown?