17 maart 2010


On the intelligentsia

Note on links

Here is a quotation about the intelligentsia from Dagobert Runes's "Handbook of Reason" (*) that is relevant to quite a few things I wrote about the decline of education, postmodernism, the treason of the intellectuals, the situation around ME, the inequality of men, and more.

For the moment - having ME - I'll just give the quotation with added links to files on my site, and a note on the last sentence of it after it. 


   It is amazing how many most reputable scientists, scholars and literati have accepted as blessings horrible misdeeds perpetrated by men in power. For instance, the eminent philosopher Martin Heidegger extolled Hitler as the godlike spiritual leader of European civilization; Jean Paul Sartre whitewashed all, but all, of Stalin's blackest deeds; Saint Augustine demanded enslavement of all Jews because their ancestors rejected Jesus; Thomas Aquinas concurred. The renowned composer Richard Strauss and the dramatist Gerhart Hauptmann considered it a privilege to serve in Hitler's Chambers of Culture; the Italian philosopher Giovanni Gentile based his political theories on "Mussolini, giant among men."

   Scientists, artists, writers have grovelled before the dictators of the century. China's educators to a man adopted Mao's Quotations as the sole and supreme principle of all pedagogy; indeed it was and still is impossible to attend any cultural gathering in China without hearing the Quotations flaunted by speaker as well as audience. Where is the integrity and self-respect of the intellectuals if so many kowtow to so few?

   What good is a briliant mind if it care little for who will prevail, Lucifer or Gabriel? Indifference is perhaps the most deplorable failing of man. All about us we see callous genius and masters of technology in the well-rewarded service of despots, helping to confuse the average man with devious propaganda, painting the devil white and the angel black. (p. 90-1) (*)

The problem is especially the treason of many intellectuals, who gave up the search for truth for the sake of the rewards of serving the authorities of some state, party or religion, and the quotation is quite apt, but personally I do not so much "see callous genius" all around me, as hundredth and thousandth rate corrupt and callous phony intellectuals prospering as loyal bureaucratic servants of the state.

And what is particularly disappointing is that this is the dominant tendency everywhere, also in nominally free, nominally democratic societies: The majority of the nominal intelligentsia everywhere tends to serve the powers that be for reasons of self-interest rather than speak or search for the truth.

P.S. The bold underlined links are in English, the underlined links in Dutch.

(*) Dagobert Runes, "Handbook of Reason", Philosophical Library Inc., New York 1972. SBN 8022-2078-9 Lib of Congr Card Nr 79-181331.

(**) By "intelligentsia" I mean "the higher educated, especially those who graduated from some university". These days it is no longer necessary that members of the intelligentsia are truly intelligent or interested in science, and indeed in many so called sciences it is very helpful for one's career and standing if one is not particularly intelligent as long as one is a loyal conformist. In 1988, when I wrote about it and published it, the average IQ of the students of the University of Amsterdam was 115; these days, when the standards are again lower as is the level of education, the IQ is very probably again considerably lower. If one questioned the wisdom of this - a university diploma still is a formal qualification for positions of power and influence - one was removed from the University of Amsterdam for being "a fascist". As happened to me.

Maarten Maartensz

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