The Corner

Re: Forthcoming from Al Gore

Yuval,

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

Rod Rosenstein’s Resistance

Rod Rosenstein is even a weasel when repudiating his weasel moves. Here (with my italics) is the deputy attorney general’s non-denial denial of a New York Times report Friday that he brainstormed about ousting President Trump in May 2017: The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect. . . ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Fight for Kavanaugh 

The cynics — or, perhaps more precisely, the realists — believed that the Democrats were playing for time in the hopes of finding another accusation against Brett Kavanaugh. The cynics were right. The New Yorker stooped to publish a shoddy story alleging that Kavanaugh exposed himself to a woman while he ... Read More
White House

Trump Stands By ‘Fantastic’ Kavanaugh

President Trump was supportive of his nominee to the Supreme Court during a radio interview set to be broadcast on Monday morning, in which he characterized Brett Kavanaugh as a “fantastic, fantastic man” and called into question allegations of sexual assault. In the interview — recorded on Sunday, ... Read More