Sunday, February 10, 2008

What is an "intellectual"?

Further to my post yesterday:

In his usual memorable way, the delightful Dr. Spooner once said: "I have in my breast a half-warmed fish". I suspect that the definition I am about to offer is little better than a half-warmed fish but here goes: I think an intellectual is someone who defends popular ideas in a particularly persuasive way -- which is why the label is usually attached only to people who are much in the public eye. There are many scholars and scientists labouring away at making a contribution to knowledge and understanding but it is only when they get into the public eye that they become "intellectuals". And if the ideas they espouse are complex or difficult to follow they will simply not get into the public eye. The ideas concerned have to be readily comprehended by the intelligent layman.

And one reason why most intellectuals seem to be Left-leaning is that Leftist ideas are the ones most in need of defending. Some Leftist ideas -- such as the belief that you can provide more and better accomodation for the poor by instituting government rent-control -- are so obviously mad that not even an intellectual could defend them (except in NYC of course). But other ideas -- such as the desirability of universal government healthcare -- are attractive enough to warrant defending. And if you have been to a government hospital lately, you will very likely feel that only an intellectual could defend that idea. I am sure that Hillary Clinton goes to private hospitals.

So I think I can safely say that I am not an intellectual. I get no mainstream media exposure at all. Since I would much prefer to be regarded as a scientist or a scholar, however, I feel rather pleased about that. Most "intellectuals" seem to me to be very poor scientists and scholars -- Noam Chomsky, for instance.


Brookes News Update

US economy, interest rates and recession: It's beginning to look like Bernanke's interest rate policy is pouring more fuel on America's inflationary economy. All in all, from last August to last January the fed rate fell by a massive 43 per cent. This looks to be stoking manufacturing output. Sooner or later, this reckless monetary policy must come to an end
Economic policy: Is something out of nothing possible?: In the real world, an artificial boost in demand that is not supported by production leads to the dilution of the pool of real savings and, contrary to the Keynesian view, to a shrinking in the flow of real wealth
Is monetary policy destroying manufacturing?: Americans and Australians have a right to be concerned about the state of manufacturing in their respective countries. But raising tariffs is no solution. It must be considered that a country whose currency has been overvalued for sometime might find its industrial structure has not only become more domestic oriented but that part of it has been shifted abroad in response to the differences in international prices cause by the inflated exchange rate
Why congressional Democrats and their fellow-travellers sabotage US intelligence programs: Those Democrats who screamed for an investigation of Bush and the CIA never thought to criticise what went on under Clinton's watch. The intelligence situation is now worse than ever because Clinton took the opportunity to place committed Democrats in the CIA. I guess the mass of Americans just cannot grasp that to these Democrats party loyalty trumps patriotism
Economic growth, immigration and Say's Law: A great many misconceptions about immigration, population size and the nature of economic growth abound, particularly among businessmen. Unfortunately some economic commentators are not much better
Scientists denounce global warming hysteria: Many scientists are now protesting against greenhouse hysteria that the greens and much of the media have been whipping up. In doing so they have exposed man-made global warming to be a fraud
Smugness of perpetuating Holocaust: The current enemies of Israel, including the Palestinian Authority, in spite of their acts of aggression and terrorism, have the full support of UN Human Rights commission. Israel is the only country which is singled out as a gross violator of human rights



There is a good perspective here on how the Iraq war stacks up against other wars that America has been involved in.

Sarko helps out: "President Sarkozy rode to the rescue of beleaguered Nato forces in southern Afghanistan yesterday when he offered to deploy French troops alongside Canadians in Kandahar. The French leader has been the most forthcoming of Nato leaders in answering the urgent call to help the troops fighting Taleban insurgents. After Canada’s repeated warnings that it would pull its 2,500 troops out of Kandahar if no other alliance member came to support them, France has been the only country to hint at sending reinforcements. French and Canadian officials are discussing the logistics of operating a combined force. A delegation was sent to Paris from Ottawa yesterday."

PA doubletalk continues: "The Palestinian Authority (PA) is delivering two very different messages to the Western and Arab world. The message to the West, declared in English in front of media microphones and cameras, glorifies an independent Palestinian state coexisting peacefully beside Israel. But according to documented videos of PA TV programs monitored by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), the PA is telling its Arab audience that there will be no Israel at all, rather one large Arab Palestine will rule the entirety of Israel."

Britain: Lawyers lose for once: "Law firms that grew rich by exploiting sick miners are to be forced to repay tens of millions of pounds that they wrongly sliced from their clients' compensation. The multimillion-pound payback follows an investigation by The Times into a series of abuses linked to the Department of Trade and Industry's 7.5 billion pound coal health compensation scheme. An estimated 75,000 former pit workers are likely to receive payments under a nationwide scheme that has been agreed in principle by the Government. The cost to those solicitors who improperly deducted money from awards given to elderly and vulnerable clients may top 50 million. Claims were registered by more than 760,000 former miners with chronic lung disease or a crippling hand condition caused by their work underground. Solicitors handling each claim were paid a fixed fee by the Government, but many chose to make additional deductions from the compensation awarded to their clients. The money they sliced off was sometimes banked by the law firms themselves and in other cases was passed to miners' unions or claims handling companies."

Vicious mullah banned from Britain: "Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a controversial Muslim cleric who defends suicide attacks, has been refused a visa to enter to the UK after a campaign by David Cameron. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said that it deplored the decision and accused the government of caving in to "unreasonable demands spearheaded by the Tory leader". Muhammad Abdul Bari, the secretary-general of the MCB, said that Dr al-Qaradawi enjoyed respect as a scholar throughout the Muslim world. "I am afraid this decision will send the wrong message to Muslims everywhere about the state of British society and culture," he said"

Channeling the wrong Kennedy: "Obama has repeatedly compared himself to JFK, and his campaign casts itself as the second coming of Camelot. Obama's supporters see in him the same youthful optimism that made JFK an iconic symbol in the decade. It was an era when anything seemed possible. But the surviving Kennedys are also symbols of the darker side of 1960s liberalism: The bloated, bureaucratic welfare state. Teddy Kennedy's liberalism gave us welfare as we knew it and spent $11 trillion on federal programs fighting poverty without reducing it. It raised taxes until they discouraged work, investment and innovation. It created an ethic of entitlement and dependence on government. In his policy positions, as opposed to his bipartisan rhetoric, Barack Obama calls to mind this side of 1960s liberalism as well. Indeed, in his appetite for big government, Obama is quite unlike JFK."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".



Layer Seven said...

JR -
You point out a severe contradiction in our language; which language has been hijacked.

"Intellectuals" pursuing socialism are in actuality counter-intellectuals.

Self-annointed "progressives" are actually regressive; they wish to return civilization to mud huts, like in Cuba the paradise.

nik said...

Uh oh, all of what sound to me like non-urban temperature stations (not at airports or cities I've heard of), going back 150 years, show that Australia, like Antarctica's South Pole, is not staying the same, nor getting hotter, but in most linear fashion are trying out the only other option: