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The Flight of the Intellectuals?

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The idea of the public intellectual actually began and has continued to find its center in a pretty specific geographical location: it’s called France. And the intellectuals’ ranks have actually been filled mainly by members of one specific group: they’re called Jews. As Robert Zaretsky relates today in Tablet Magazine, intellectuals were essentially invented during the Dreyfus Affair and have continually understood their relation to their vocations in terms of their Jewishness and their relation to the Republic (including during its Vichy interlude), including whatever anti-Semitism exists or that they found. But the generation of French(-Jewish) intellectuals associated with the Baby Boom (“the contents of Lévy’s shampoo were far richer than the contents of his writing,” Zaretsky quips of BHL) have been thrown for a loop by the arguable dissipation of anti-Semitism from French public life as well as the rise of the largest Muslim community in Europe.

Mind Games
Earlier: So, You’re a ‘French Intellectual,’ Eh?

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Hershel (Heshy) Ginsburg says:

“… and there are some ideas so stupid, that only an intellectual could believe them”

George Orwell on intellectuals.

The self-importance of most intellectuals, especially the “public” variety, is enough to make one puke.


victor rossinski says:

What a parochial, chauvinist, and uninformed position on public intellectuals. There have been public intellectuals since the beginning of recorded history. Take Catholicism, for example, from Augustine to Dorothy Day to the present-day liberation theologists. And yeah, let’s not forget Orwell, Gramsci, and so on and so on.



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The Flight of the Intellectuals?

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