The Corner

Re: Forthcoming from Al Gore


This is all very much in line with Schumpeter, of course.  La trahison des clercs is also relevant.  As Roger Kimball sums up:

 Julien Benda was not so naïve as to believe that intellectuals as a class had ever entirely abstained from political involvement, or, indeed, from involvement in the realm of practical affairs. Nor did he believe that intellectuals, as citizens, necessarily should abstain from political commitment or practical affairs. The “treason” or betrayal he sought to publish concerned the way that intellectuals had lately allowed political commitment to insinuate itself into their understanding of the intellectual vocation as such.

It seems to me that we are seeing the correlative today: as intellectuals became politically committed, so politicians portray themselves as intellectuals and convey their ideas by stealing the lightning of the academy.  Al Gore, the world’s greatest scientist, is the foremost example.  The working man cannot hope to understand the science; the scientist cannot convey it to the working man; step forward the intellectual politician, who emerges as arbiter of both science and public opinion.

Yet the dangers are obvious.  As Schumpeter foresaw, the intellectuals and in particular the intellectual politician, who has far more power than the mere intellectual, are attacking the capitalist system that created them.  It goes without saying that, in doing that, the intellectual politician will appeal first and foremost to the Goddess Reason.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Did Flynn Lie?

At the outset, let’s get two things straight: First, there is something deeply disturbing about the Obama administration’s decision to open a counterintelligence investigation on retired lieutenant general Michael Flynn while he was working on the Trump campaign — and, ultimately, about the Justice ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Where Is the Flynn 302?

Better late than never (I hope), my weekend column has posted on the website. It deals with the question whether General Michael Flynn actually lied to the FBI agents — including the now infamous Peter Strzok — when they interviewed him in the White House on his third day on the job as national security ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Who’s in Charge Here?

In the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump was asked on many occasions whether he would “accept the results” of the election if he were to lose. Democrats and their media allies demanded that he make a solemn vow to “accept the results.” It was never entirely clear what anybody thought ... Read More