Monday, March 14, 2011

Intellectuals for Sale

Eggheads are no more resistant to the pull of notoriety and applause than anyone else, as Paul Rahe points out in this article.
What would it take to elicit servility from an intellectual? Money would help, of course. Just ask the Harvard professors who founded the Monitor Group—which for a time shilled for Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi in return for a quarter of a million dollars a month. And query the administration at the London School of Economics, recipient of a £1.5-million pledge from a foundation run by Seif, the tyrant's notably generous, charming, and debonair son and presumed heir, who earned a Ph.D. at the school with a dissertation alleged by some to have been at least partly plagiarized (LSE is investigating those allegations).

But money is certainly not the only coin in which the modern intellectual likes to be paid. There is, after all, nothing quite like celebrity, and proximity to power can easily become for an intellectual in search of renown what a candle is for a moth. If, as they say, power corrupts, then lack of power corrupts absolutely.
Intellect without a moral compass is not just useless – it is dangerous.


JorgXMcKie said...

Working in Academia, I find most self-styled "intellectuals" are toadying suckups who like nothing better that flattery from the powerful. That's pretty uniform across the board.

Anonymous said...

Intellectuals are like Lady Gaga...always for sale.

Deborah Leigh

Paco said...

Like really non-photogenic Lady Gagas.