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‘Intellectuals’ (Thomas Sowell)
Jewish World Review ^ | November 11, 2008 | Thomas Sowell

Posted on 11/10/2008 7:47:23 PM PST by jazusamo

Among the many wonders to be expected from an Obama administration, if Nicholas D. Kristof of the New York Times is to be believed, is ending "the anti-intellectualism that has long been a strain in American life."

He cited Adlai Stevenson, the suave and debonair governor of Illinois, who twice ran for president against Eisenhower in the 1950s, as an example of an intellectual in politics.

Intellectuals, according to Mr. Kristof, are people who are "interested in ideas and comfortable with complexity," people who "read the classics."

It is hard to know whether to laugh or cry.

Adlai Stevenson was certainly regarded as an intellectual by intellectuals in the 1950s. But, half a century later, facts paint a very different picture.

Historian Michael Beschloss, among others, has noted that Stevenson "could go quite happily for months or years without picking up a book." But Stevenson had the airs of an intellectual — the form, rather than the substance.

What is more telling, form was enough to impress the intellectuals, not only then but even now, years after the facts have been revealed, though apparently not to Mr. Kristof.

That is one of many reasons why intellectuals are not taken as seriously by others as they take themselves.

(Excerpt) Read more at jewishworldreview.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: adlaistevenson; antiintellectualism; elitism; intellectualoids; intellectuals; obama; obamatransitionfile; pseudointellectuals; sowell; thomassowell
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1 posted on 11/10/2008 7:47:24 PM PST by jazusamo
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To: AbeKrieger; abigail2; Alia; Amalie; American Quilter; arthurus; awelliott; Bahbah; bamahead; ...
*PING*
Thomas Sowell

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Recent columns
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Please FReepmail me if you would like to be added to, or removed from, the Thomas Sowell ping list…

2 posted on 11/10/2008 7:48:30 PM PST by jazusamo (DefendOurMarines.org | DefendOurTroops.org)
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To: jazusamo

bookmark


3 posted on 11/10/2008 7:51:01 PM PST by fullchroma
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To: jazusamo

Yeah, because if President Teleprompter isn’t an ‘intellectual’ i don’t know what is... speaking of, when are we going to see O’s college transcripts and LSAT scores? still waiting...


4 posted on 11/10/2008 7:52:24 PM PST by WatchYourself (Give me Something... ANYTHING!)
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To: holly go-rightly

ping for later


5 posted on 11/10/2008 7:52:37 PM PST by holly go-rightly
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To: jazusamo

Someone called me an intellectual once and I almost punched him, which of course would have been sufficient proof that I was no such thing.


6 posted on 11/10/2008 7:55:06 PM PST by saganite (I for one welcome our new Socialist masters /s/)
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To: fullchroma

Thomas Sowell is an intellectual, too bad Obama would never tap him for anything.


7 posted on 11/10/2008 7:55:31 PM PST by Seven Minute Maniac
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To: saganite

Ha, maybe you should have and learned him something. :)


8 posted on 11/10/2008 7:58:08 PM PST by jazusamo (DefendOurMarines.org | DefendOurTroops.org)
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To: jazusamo
Dr. Sowell never disappoints. How can 2 people that share similar upbringings, Chicago roots and educations at Columbia and Harvard think so differently.
9 posted on 11/10/2008 7:58:16 PM PST by JrsyJack
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To: jazusamo
History fully vindicates the late William F. Buckley's view that he would rather be ruled by people represented by the first 100 names in the Boston phone book than by the faculty of Harvard.

Dr. Sowell has a wonderful ability to express himself, but a true reason to respect Sowell is the credit he unjealously gives to others who deserve it.

10 posted on 11/10/2008 7:58:26 PM PST by smoothsailing
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To: jazusamo

Another Sowell gem!


11 posted on 11/10/2008 7:59:14 PM PST by Cyman
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To: jazusamo

If Mr.Kristof of the New York Times thinks we don’t like intellectuals now, just wait until we’re done with Obama. Of course, wasn’t Carter supposed to be an intellectual as well?


12 posted on 11/10/2008 8:00:10 PM PST by jmcenanly
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To: Seven Minute Maniac
Thomas Sowell would have had my vote for President.
13 posted on 11/10/2008 8:02:03 PM PST by widowithfoursons
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To: smoothsailing

So true, that was a great line by Buckley and Dr. Sowell fully appreciates it.


14 posted on 11/10/2008 8:02:40 PM PST by jazusamo (DefendOurMarines.org | DefendOurTroops.org)
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To: jazusamo

“That is one of many reasons why intellectuals are not taken as seriously by others as they take themselves.”

Brings up Orwell’s famous observation...

... ‘an idea SO stupid that ONLY an intellectual would believe it’

STE=Q


15 posted on 11/10/2008 8:03:44 PM PST by STE=Q ("These are the times that try men's souls." -- Thomas Paine)
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To: jazusamo
It was said that the taciturn Coolidge could be silent in five different languages.

That is an amusing line.

16 posted on 11/10/2008 8:04:16 PM PST by Abe XVI
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To: jazusamo

“Intellectual” is a word that simply confers favorable status on the person being described—as Sowell rightfully points out here. It has no other value as a characterization.


17 posted on 11/10/2008 8:06:07 PM PST by PaleoBob
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To: jmcenanly

Good point about BO, he talks a good game but so far in life has done zero. I don’t remember Carter being referred to as an intellectual but he could have been, I was so ticked off at him then I might have blocked it out.


18 posted on 11/10/2008 8:06:29 PM PST by jazusamo (DefendOurMarines.org | DefendOurTroops.org)
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To: jazusamo

Symbolism/Substance = Obama


19 posted on 11/10/2008 8:09:54 PM PST by aruanan
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To: WatchYourself
Yeah, because if President Teleprompter isn’t an ‘intellectual’ i don’t know what is...

Bingo!

20 posted on 11/10/2008 8:11:11 PM PST by Mr. Silverback ("[Palin] has not even lived in the Lower 48 since 1987. Come on! Really!" --Polybius)
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To: jazusamo

Why, why, Lord, could we not have had Thomas Sowell as our first black president? Aside from the fact that he is too smart to subject himself to the scum-sucking media?


21 posted on 11/10/2008 8:11:29 PM PST by Albion Wilde ("Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil." --Thomas Mann)
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To: jazusamo

Thomas Sowell should be required reading.


22 posted on 11/10/2008 8:13:18 PM PST by CriticalJ
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To: All

Kristof’s article is very funny.

Adlai Stevenson flunked out of Harvard Law (his transcripts were locked up by then Dean Griswold). He graduated from Northwestern, but wasn’t a standout there.

As Sowell says, he wasn’t a great reader, either.

Kristof also refers to Kennedy as an intellectual. Kennedy won a Pulitzer for a book ghostwritten by Ted Sorensen (he’s finally admitted drafting the chapters).

The press really needs to get over this (D)=intellectual theory.


23 posted on 11/10/2008 8:14:36 PM PST by nyc1
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To: Albion Wilde

Agreed...Our country would have been the better off for it had he been.


24 posted on 11/10/2008 8:16:20 PM PST by jazusamo (DefendOurMarines.org | DefendOurTroops.org)
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To: jazusamo

ummm Thomas Sowell, you’re also an intellectual. The right kind :)


25 posted on 11/10/2008 8:17:43 PM PST by ari-freedom (So this is how Liberty dies... with thunderous applause)
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To: Albion Wilde

anyone who doesn’t read Sowell shouldn’t be president.


26 posted on 11/10/2008 8:19:41 PM PST by ari-freedom (So this is how Liberty dies... with thunderous applause)
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To: jazusamo
New York Times Moscow correspondent Walter Duranty won a Pulitzer Prize for telling the intelligentsia what they wanted to hear— that claims of starvation in the Ukraine were false. After British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge reported from the Ukraine on the massive deaths from starvation there, he was ostracized after returning to England and unable to find a job.

More than half a century later, when the archives of the Soviet Union were finally opened up under Mikhail Gorbachev, it turned out that about six million people had died in that famine— about the same number as the people killed in Hitler's Holocaust.

Sowell understands intellectual groupthink's dangers: death - - Ignored and denied.

27 posted on 11/10/2008 8:29:08 PM PST by GOPJ ( It's hard for Republicans to hammer Obama as a socialist when(Bush) nationalizing the banks- Steyn)
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To: jazusamo

The term “pseudo-intellectual” was popularized in the 1960s, just to describe the self-described, self-appointed “intellectuals” of the period, who were just as naive and lacking both a real education and common sense.

Granted, studying Latin and the “Harvard Classics” are a good way to round out an education, for some. But in no way do they comprise a core study. For the most part, they are trivial or archaic. Good bathroom reading matter, for cocktail party ego chatter, but of little use in the real world.

And thus, the attraction of socialism and other paper enterprises to academia. On paper, it appears comprehensible and logical; but its adherents are both blissfully unaware of its inherent failures in the real world, and in denial that they could have failed on their own merits.

It is a “silly mythos”. Discovering a fantasy novel that seems so real, tangible, and desirable, that its readers forget it is nonsense, sucked out of the thumb of an entertaining writer. They forever try to define the world in terms of their philosophy.

Anti-knowledge, in that to its believers, it is infallible. Little different from those who believe all knowledge is contained within the Koran, and all else is extraneous and corrupt.

In truth, such people are themselves “anti-intellectuals”. They only tolerate what reinforces their prejudices. They are unlearned bigots.


28 posted on 11/10/2008 8:29:32 PM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: jazusamo

I like Dr. Sowell, such a contrast to the effete Mr. Will. It wish him a long life because with the passing of Reagan, Buckley, Friedman, etc., he is among the last of the Mohicans.


29 posted on 11/10/2008 8:33:35 PM PST by MSF BU (++)
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Comment #30 Removed by Moderator

To: theMystic

Well said.


31 posted on 11/10/2008 8:36:39 PM PST by Seven Minute Maniac
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To: JrsyJack

“Dr. Sowell never disappoints. How can 2 people that share similar upbringings, Chicago roots and educations at Columbia and Harvard think so differently.”

Having a belief in God and being fortunate to have had parents who taught values and good judgement!


32 posted on 11/10/2008 8:38:17 PM PST by seekthetruth
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Comment #33 Removed by Moderator

To: widowithfoursons
Thomas Sowell would have had my vote for President.

I wish we had the chance now.

34 posted on 11/10/2008 8:40:01 PM PST by Know et al (Everything I know I read in the newspaper and that's the reason for my ignorance: Will Rogers)
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To: jazusamo

ONE OF HIS MOST BRILLIANT.

Please read it.

I remember being surrounded by “intellectuals” in Europe during the Cold War who all thought that there was one BENIGN superpower and one EVIL one (we were the evil one). They were all fed by super-secret intellectual pamphlets and journals that even I, a young girl with no interest in politics at the time, knew then were just propaganda written by the USSR. And later I was proven correct. It is very easy to fool “intellectuals” because the self-anointed only need to hear their own jargon before they sign on.


35 posted on 11/10/2008 8:47:12 PM PST by Yaelle
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

You’re exactly right about the “pseudo-intellectuals” from the 60’s from what I remember. My friends and relatives were working people and to us they only embarrassed themselves.


36 posted on 11/10/2008 8:47:51 PM PST by jazusamo (DefendOurMarines.org | DefendOurTroops.org)
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To: jazusamo

Thanks for the ping jaz. God Bless Thomas Sowell...LOL he’s great. Love this article. Right on the mark as usual.


37 posted on 11/10/2008 8:53:29 PM PST by rockinqsranch (Dems, Libs, Socialists, Call 'em what you will, they ALL have Fairies livin' in their Trees.)
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To: jazusamo

Thomas Sowell is one of the best thinkers and brightest writers in our firmament. What if a mind like his was in the Oval Office?

Wouldn’t matter the color of the skin that wraps it, would it now.

Instead we got That One. Because of the color of his skin and the facade of his intellect.

God bless Thomas Sowell.


38 posted on 11/10/2008 8:59:45 PM PST by StAntKnee (Pray for our military. Look who's CIC. And I know. Jimmy Carter was bad enough when I was in.)
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To: Yaelle

Interesting post, thanks Yaelle. I remember the group think that we were the evil ones. I believe there’s still college professors from that era but they’re retiring and the numbers are decreasing I would think.


39 posted on 11/10/2008 9:00:02 PM PST by jazusamo (DefendOurMarines.org | DefendOurTroops.org)
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To: jazusamo
Ph.D = “piled higher and deeper” and the vast majority that I know have ivory-tower-itis so bad, they don't know how to change a tire, relax on a float trip or keep score at a baseball game.
40 posted on 11/10/2008 9:05:46 PM PST by Desdemona (Tolerance of grave evil is NOT a Christian virtue (I choose virtue. Values change too often).)
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To: jazusamo
"But Stevenson had the airs of an intellectual — the form, rather than the substance."

I have encountered the above since and including high school. The most obvious example today is Barack Obama.

Furthermore, there are some lacking in form but have the intellect. I can think of some good examples, but will leave it at that.

41 posted on 11/10/2008 9:12:45 PM PST by TAdams8591 (McCain/Palin ' 08 (Obama IS a socialist!))
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To: jazusamo

Adlai Stevenson was also a bit effeminate, which tended to set him apart as a true intellectual in form. Kerry had much of that form, AlGore some of it, including a heavy lisp.

The Demo concept of the intellectual is quite old fashioned and appears to us as.... an intellectual eunuch. Left over from the time when few people had college educations it is concept which has lost much of its pull over time because of the intellectual’s tendency to accomplish little of worth. In orther words, intellectuals are not men of action, but men who sit and think a lot and are of little use to the country.

The real intellectuals are the engineers who design our space ships, our fighters, our computers. Want some complexity? Try designing a processor with 10 billion operatinal amplifiers that multitasks. Or a fire control system for our fighters that will track and kill 32 enemy figters. Much more complex than readings of Marcus Aurelius, you betcha.
The anti-intellectualism that is referred to is nothing more than anti-aristocracy and it is fully justified.


42 posted on 11/10/2008 9:14:54 PM PST by texmexis best
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To: jazusamo
"But the ignorance of Ph.D.s is still ignorance and high-IQ groupthink is still groupthink, which is the antithesis of real thinking."

A great line. And what Liberals inspire.

43 posted on 11/10/2008 9:16:45 PM PST by TAdams8591 (McCain/Palin ' 08 (Obama IS a socialist!))
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To: jazusamo
Intellectuals, according to Mr. Kristof, are people who are "interested in ideas and comfortable with complexity,"...the trouble with being wrapped up in ideas all the time is that those ideas rarely touch back to the concrete, real world and can lead those immersed in them down some really out of the way detours...was it Orwell or Huxley who said "one would have to be an intellectual to believe such a thing - no ordinary man could be so foolish"?.....
44 posted on 11/10/2008 9:21:11 PM PST by Intolerant in NJ
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To: jazusamo

>> Intellectuals, according to Mr. Kristof, are people who are “interested in ideas and comfortable with complexity,” people who “read the classics.”

Interesting. I guess for what remains complex, one must get used to it. Now, how many husbands read the classics.


45 posted on 11/10/2008 9:22:23 PM PST by Gene Eric
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To: jazusamo

Supposedly, if Michael Medved is correct, Carter has one of the highest IQ’s of the modern presidents. That well correlates to his low performance.


46 posted on 11/10/2008 9:22:23 PM PST by TAdams8591 (McCain/Palin ' 08 (Obama IS a socialist!))
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To: texmexis best

Well stated. My only acquaintance of someone like you speak of was a distant relative and an engineer for JPL, he is brilliant and now retired. Not the least bit snobbish but limited in many subjects that average people talk about. I was fascinated when he would talk about unclassified areas of his work though there was some I couldn’t understand.


47 posted on 11/10/2008 9:29:56 PM PST by jazusamo (DefendOurMarines.org | DefendOurTroops.org)
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To: TAdams8591

Thanks, I didn’t know that but believe you are correct.


48 posted on 11/10/2008 9:32:44 PM PST by jazusamo (DefendOurMarines.org | DefendOurTroops.org)
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To: jazusamo

You are always welcome! : )


49 posted on 11/10/2008 9:36:05 PM PST by TAdams8591 (McCain/Palin ' 08 (Obama IS a socialist!))
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To: texmexis best

Riffing off you thoughts, I’ve found that a great preponderance of “intellectuals” are innumerate as a toddler - ie, they have no mathematical training or education, they have no concept of numbers and are completely gullible in the face of someone spouting random statistics posing as facts, because they have no internal “gut check” on the numbers.

One of my favorites from the early 90’s was debating someone on gun crime stats in California. This guy (a liberal arts major, well read in “the classics” no doubt) popped out with a stat that XYZ policy resulted in a reduction of 168% of crome stat ABC.”

At this, I looked like someone had just passed gas in public. I asked “After the first 100% reduction, where does the next 68% reduction come from?”

He was completely non-plussed, and repeated his claim. I said “Look, when you reduce something by 100%, it is ALL GONE. How can you reduce something more when you’ve completely eliminated it?!”

The audience sat up and agreed with me, and the ‘intellectual’ suddenly realized he was out to lunch - and then some.

Yet, until I pointed it out, this guy had the bit firmly in his teeth and was wow’ing the crowd.

This is the sort of thing that engineers crucify fellow engineers for. You’d never hear an engineer or scientist (especially a physics guy) pop out with this sort of mistake, because if they did in front of other engineers/scientists, they’d be crucified immediately.

Yet “intellectuals” who think “I don’t need calculus, my man, I’ve read Yeats!” have the public completely bamboozled into thinking they’re smart because they’re such suave talkers.

In todays’ public policy environment, we need more engineers/scientists not only running for office, we need more of them to step up to the plate in educating the public by any means possible. Thanks to the NEA, today’s school and college graduates are just woefully innumerate.


50 posted on 11/10/2008 9:37:49 PM PST by NVDave
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