At the post, The Greatest Killers, a commenter writes:
We should all own "Death By Government", a powerful tool against the Pelosi's and Schumer's. Arm yourselves for the intellectual battle. But sadly, the truth is, 97% of men are moral and intellectual cowards. Perhaps the hardest lesson I had to learn in life. Nothing as ever caused me to doubt that sad finding.Although it is not hard to see how some believe this, I would argue that the masses are just not deep thinkers---and it is folly to think they ever will be.
Mises, Hayek and Rothbard always understood the battle for liberty was an intellectual battle. Everyone from Ayn Rand to John Maynard Keynes understood that tomorrow's economic and social mass thinking is based on today's intellectual battles.
Great intellectuals with new ideas who influence what Hayek called second-hand dealers in ideas is the method by which the masses are introduced to ideas. Rand called it a type of osmosis.
Most current social justice warriors, and the masses in general, hold views on equality, "discrimination" and "oppression," that were the result of ideas developed by thinkers of the Frankfurt School. Yet few among the masses have ever heard of the key members of the school such as Herbert Marcuse,·Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Walter Benjamin and Erich Fromm--or the school itself.
Whenever I come across someone who holds a very naive Frankfurt school-influenced view of the world, with little in the way of logical underpinning, but obstinate about his position, I think to myself, "What possible direction will second-hand dealers ever use to cause this man to take on new views?" But yet some second-hand dealers would be capable of doing this.
The battle for liberty is an intellectual battle and a battle for the minds of the second-hand dealers. This is where the battle must be waged, not directly with the masses. The work on the masses is just clean up work, if the battle is won with intellectuals and second-hand dealers.
The big battle as I see it now is between what I call house intellectuals and truth-seeking intellectuals.
House intellectuals run government, academia and the media. It is difficult to see how any of these sectors will be re-captured by truth-seeking intellectuals anytime soon. Indeed, most often, a truth-seeking intellectual, unless extremely principled with a very strong inner core, will, upon entering these sectors, be captured by the house boys.
But this is where the battle is. The masses aren't intellectual cowards. They are not intellectuals at all. They are not deep thinkers when it comes to social philosophy. They run from intellectual logic because they are not good at thinking things out intellectually and thus they take their guidance from the second-hand dealers. But they are not the problem. If liberty somehow wins at some time the very difficult intellectual battle, and the battle for the minds of the second-hand dealers, the masses will not be a problem. They will be flipped with ease.
Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of EconomicPolicyJournal.com and Target Liberty. He also writes EPJ Daily Alert and is author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics and on LinkedIn. His youtube series is here: Robert Wenzel Talks Economics. The Robert Wenzel podcast is on iphone and stitcher.