Friday, July 14, 2017

Krugman's Concern Over Anti-intellectualism

In a new column, Paul Krugman writes of his concern about anti-intellectualism.

He is probably correct when he writes that anti-intellectualism helped get Donald Trump elected.

Indeed, we did get quite the anti-intellectual in Trump.

But here is the thing. The battle shouldn't be between intellectuals and anti-intellectuals but between what I call house intellectuals and truth-seeking intellectuals. For the record, Krugman sits near the top of the house intellectual pecking order. He is concerned about the attack on house intellectuals, not 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 it is wrong, terribly wrong to reject intellectualism because of this.

The battle for the very fabric of civilization is an intellectual battle---and right now truth-seeking intellectuals are losing badly.

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.

The truth-seekers will have to battle from outside the system but intellectualism should not be cast aside because of the current preponderance of house intellectuals.

Truth-seeking intellectuals have a powerful weapon, the truth.

Shakespeare used the phrase in a slightly different context when he wrote: "The truth will out," then in the sense, the phrase has meaning for intellectuals but it is a powerful phrase.

The brain is wired for truth. Once truth is discovered, it is difficult for a false idea to be held. The brain won't allow it. That is why house intellectuals who understand the truth are so often miserable, as the brain serving a false idea results in the worst kind of mental state.

It is why, the masses are a perfect target for truth. They have only crumbs to push them in the direction of mental falsehoods.

Once this is understood, it is clear that the job of the truth-seeking intellectual is to seek truth and then communicate in a manner that can be easily understood.

House intellectuals with their miserable mental state and their cozy institutions can never survive such an attack.



  1. Do they want the truth? People don't want to hear why Osama attacked us.

  2. He certainly sounds intellectual, doesn't he?

    "The growth of the Internet will slow drastically, as the flaw in "Metcalfe's law"--which states that the number of potential connections in a network is proportional to the square of the number of participants--becomes apparent: most people have nothing to say to each other! By 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet's impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine's.

    As the rate of technological change in computing slows, the number of jobs for IT specialists will decelerate, then actually turn down; ten years from now, the phrase information economy will sound silly." - Paul Krugman

    Yup... it takes some smarts to be wrong in such a fancy way.

  3. I think it would help our cause to always point out that the statists NEVER engage our positions, especially the NAP and/or human action/voluntary exchange/prices as information. When I point those out to the statists, they squirm and scream like Max Boot with Tucker Carlson or CNN when attacked by Trump.

  4. RW, you nailed it. It's all about tweed.

  5. "[A] concept in political sociology referring to the range of acceptable opinions that can be held by respectable people. “Respectable” of course means that the subject can be integrated with polite society. Respectability is a strong precondition on the ability to have open influence in the mainstream." The Overton Window defined by Neal Devers. From via Lew Rockwell Political Theater.

    In Krugman's mind (house) intellectuals are the respectable people.

    Krugman must be in the worst kind of mental state. He is no idiot. You can tell by the way he constantly contradicts himself that he understands the truth and spends much of his time and energy conjuring to cover up or twist the facts when they don't suit his views.

  6. Pewdiepie > intellectuals:

  7. The brain is wired for truth? I like the optimism but I don't think this is true. The brain is wired for comfort and survival. Most people are too ignorant/stupid to even start thinking about the truth. But even if you get people to begin to understand the truth, they would much rather believe the lie. It's like in the Matrix when Cypher is explaining how he knows the steak he's eating is not real but is still damn delicious. I think you can get a decent amount of people to understand that government redistribution of wealth (i.e., getting something for nothing) is not sustainable, but as long as that person individually is not being harmed too much, nothing will change.