Friday, March 09, 2007

Why Do Intellectuals Oppose The Military?

It is gratifying to have an idea, and even a phrasing, and run across a person much smarter than me who agrees with it, and puts it better than I do.

James L. Holmes, over at the American Thinker, makes points that are very reminiscent of our discussions here about tribes. He even calls a subset of intellectuals "wordsmiths," which I had offered as a descriptor of my Arts & Humanities Tribe.
Schooling, maintains Nozick, breeds in intellectuals a sense of superiority, and with it a sense of entitlement to the highest rewards society has to offer - not just top salaries but praise comparable to that lavished on them by their teachers. After completing their formal academic training in the centralized environment of the classroom, intellectuals go forth into a seemingly chaotic capitalist society, which purports to reward individual citizens by merit but in fact applies a different standard of merit from the one imparted in the classroom.


There is a link in the essay to this earlier piece by Nozick, who wondered two decades ago why intellectuals opposed capitalism. Also recommended.

2 comments:

dicentra63 said...

This argument is similar to my on observations on why intellectuals typically reject religion, especially organized religion: it doesn't give them the accolades they so desperately want.

In the setting of a community of believers, intellectual gifts are just one gift among many, but the more prized gifts such as spiritual sensitivity, compassion, patience, and others listed in scripture are not prized in intellectual circles. If you show up at church with your fancy-pants degrees, no one really is going to care, and in fact people might regard you with suspicion.

In church and before God, you are judged by an entirely different set of criteria than in academia, and being educated doesn't elevate you above the dumpy woman in the trailer park who takes in hard-to-deal-with foster kids—and loves them to death—but who couldn't tell the difference between a direct object and indirect object to save her life.

Why approve of a system that doesn't lavish praise on you when it's so easy to belong to a system that does?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

dicentra63, you have also identified here why the denominational hierarchies and seminary faculty often do have serious temptations in this area.