Intellectuals Versus Ideologues

I think if I was forced to come up with a defining characteristic of a true intellectual, I’d say it is someone willing to consider possibilities that are not already on the table. When I say “true intellectual” I mean to distinguish the real thinkers from the pseudo-intellectual posers. The truly smart and curious are not constrained by or very interested in the current fads. When presented with a puzzle, they first try to imagine all of the possible solutions and then begin eliminating the impossible.

One of the useful lessons of mathematics is that there are some problems for which there are many answers. If you are presented with x – 3 = 0   or   x – 4 = 0 then you know x = 3, 4. In other words, X has more than one possible solution. A surprisingly high number of allegedly smart people struggle with that basic concept. When you get into more complex areas like human sciences, the range of solutions to a problem may include a combination of factors, interacting to cause the observed phenomenon.

So, the intellectual is someone that starts with the set of all solutions and narrows the list to those that are possible. The religiously minded, on the other hand, reverses the order of things. They first eliminate all the possibilities that fall outside the faith. A Christian, for example, will never consider the possibility that his faith is nonsense and Jesus was a fictional character. The Muslim will never consider that Mohamed was simply a medieval L. Ron Hubbard. Instead, they rely on a static set of possible causes to solve all problems.

Throughout history, we have examples of the priestly class convincing the people that the calamity that has befallen them is due to their deviation from the faith. When the plague ravaged Europe, the religious were convinced it was due to God’s wrath. What else could it be? The English blamed the Vikings on falling out of favor with God. Cromwell blamed his defeat in the Caribbean on the people straying from the path. Critically, revolutionaries blame the inevitable bad results of their revolution on enemies of the revolution.

Just to be clear, religion is vital to every society. Most people should not be thinking about all the possible causes of what is around them. Islam may be useless to Western civilization, but it serves a needed purpose in the East. Christianity was vital to the development of Western Civilization. In fact, it was what preserved the stock of human knowledge that was the foundation of the modern West. Today, the West would be better off if our leaders were Christians, instead of Cultural Marxists.

Even so, the difference between the intellectual and the ideological enforcer is all about the possibilities. A good example of that is in this post on NRO the other day from someone calling himself Mario Loyola. He is one of the thousands of public intellectuals living off the taxpayer at foundations around the Imperial Capital. His CV is here and you see the word “fellow” turn up a lot in his work history. As an aside, most of our “conservative” intellectuals have credentials from the most liberal of institutions.

Anyway, his post is about black crime rates and the causes of those crime rates. This bit got my attention.

When America is ready for a real conversation about race, it will start here. It will ask honestly what the causes are. There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that race has absolutely nothing to do with crime rates, and that government policies such as welfare are the real culprit, creating the urban blight and broken families that lead directly to crime.

Let’s first start with the phrase, “have a conversation.” When you want to kill time you have a conversation about the weather. When you want to let someone else know things about yourself, you have a conversation. When you want to find answers to problems, you don’t have a conversation. That’s how you get fired. You’re fooling around having conversations instead of doing what the boss instructed. Of course, in modern America, when a Progressive says he wants a conversation he means he plans to lecture you and you better shut up.

Putting that aside, the first thing Mario does in his “exploration of causes” is eliminate those that fall outside the One True Faith. In fact, he makes clear that he is not interested in that conversation at all as he has decided that the cause of black crime is government. If you already have the answer, there’s no need for further discovery. Once you find the answer, the next job is to tell the world about your wonderful insight. That’s why scientists post the results of their experiments. It’s how the stock of human knowledge increases.

Of course, Mario is not offering any evidence of his assertion. For this type of Progressive, race falls outside the set of acceptable causes so it is eliminated without further discussion. Because he is from the shadow end of the faith, he also feels the need to eliminate racism so he can focus on his sect’s bogeyman, the welfare state. His post is not intended to start a conversation or begin the search for the causes of black crime. It is testimony in support of his particular brand of Progressivism.

It’s not a great surprise that our public debates are mostly two sides of the priestly class shaking their fists at one another. Biology has become forbidden knowledge. So much so that few if any in the priestly class know anything about it. That’s because biology is at odds with egalitarianism, the foundation stone of the Progressive faith. Once you accept that nature does not distribute her gifts equally among all men, Progressivism is untenable. It’s akin to saying Christ was fictional or Mohamed was a con-man. That can never be allowed, no matter how many people die.

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jdallen
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jdallen

Seems to me that theft crime, which in a way is all crime, is caused by people who don’t have what they want. They decide that it is easier to take it from someone else than work to earn what they want. Some people have the moral background to NOT do that, some don’t have that moral background. I have never been accused of having a whole set of morals, myself, but stealing of any kind is outside my moral compass. I won’t do it, and I despise those who do.

Piffle4Me
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Piffle4Me

“A Christian, for example, will never consider the possibility that his faith is nonsense and Jesus was a fictional character. ” Actually, some of us Christians have considered the possibility. Spent a lot of time with it actually. What’s amazing is that if you can do 3 leaps of faith: 1)God exists, 2)His Nature is merciful and just, and 3)Jesus is the Son of that God then the rest is easy money. Every other point of Christian theology has evidence or can be simply assumed to be within the power of the Creator of the universe. Christ’s story is one… Read more »

Drake
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Drake

This.

Faith is hard. Doubt is easy. Only the dumbest and most closed-minded people never question their faith. xwnUX

guest
Guest
guest

That’s why the whole didn’t do nothin lives matter movement is so absurdly bizarre, it’s like the emperor’s new clothes meets the wolf who cried boy, something broadcasted directly out of bizarro opposite world. HILLARY CLINTON Tells Police to Quit Killing Black People at NAACP Convention “On Sunday three police officers were shot dead in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in an ambush attack by a Nation of Islam member. Three more were injured. This came a week after five police officers were shot dead in Dallas by a Black Power activist. On Monday Hillary Clinton told police officers to quit killing… Read more »

LetsPlay
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LetsPlay

A small correction for you. You say ” … while blacks, who make up only 23 percent of the population.” It is popularly given that the percent of black population in America is 13% but it is really just a bit more than 12% and probably shrinking considering all the abortions, black-on-black killing, and immigration of others going on as we speak.

james wilson
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james wilson

Not to quibble, but there simply isn’t enough black on black murder to affect the population statistics. Further, these feral populations do not rely on monogamous pairings to reproduce, so the few thousands of bangers that are killed each year affect the breeders not at all. Neither does abortion affect population statistics. It is a convenience only. A woman has one, two, four kids on the public dime with or without abortions, which only affect the timing of her schemes. If abortion were both illegal and successfully enforced the only result would be less abortion, not more or less live… Read more »

Drake
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Drake

The problem with intellectuals and ideologues is that neither are accountable for results. They spout their ridiculous ideas all day – with zero real-life experience to back them up – without any accountability.

I prefer the company of people with real jobs and respect their opinions far more than TV talking heads, or “fellows” from think-tanks. Thomas Sowell demolishes their type in “Intellectuals and Society”.

Karl Horst (Germany)
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Karl Horst (Germany)

I find American history fascinating, especially the formative years during the Revolution. The ideals and concepts of modern But I would argue the phrase “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” has been a real thorn in the side of American race relations ever since. They could have left that out entirely and just said “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…” For a group of men who showed remarkable intellect and foresight, it seems they underestimated the power behind those words.… Read more »

Karl Horst (Germany)
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Karl Horst (Germany)

Edit to first line – I find American history fascinating, especially the formative years during the Revolution. Especially the ideals and concepts of modern democracy which were put into place by these particular men at that particular time in history. (Please thezman…an edit feature would be greatly appreciated!)

Drake
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Drake

The Founders were possibly the best-educated group of non-intellectuals ever assembled. They all had at lest one (most several) real jobs – soldiers, farmers, business men, authors, etc… But most of them also had classical educations – Greek and Latin, Math, History, Logic, and Rhetoric.

It probably didn’t occur to them to write at the kindergarten level of comprehension required these days, although some of them did warn about creeping growth of government and stupid voters.

Pat Baker
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Pat Baker

@Karl – My ancestors heard “… all men are created equal” as “no man born a King,” justifying the struggle for independence. The obvious extrapolation “… and no man born a slave” justifying the struggle for emancipation. Would you be surprised to learn that race relations in America differ according to the folkway region within which they occur? Northern big city race relations follow the “southern immigrants unassimilated into the ‘puritan folkway zone norms’ conflict. An entirely different relationship obtains in the south owing to the hierarchal composition of the tide-water folkway (fully assimilated, at the bottom). In short, the… Read more »

Karl Horst (Germany)
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Karl Horst (Germany)

@ Pat Baker – The significant difference between the USA and Germany is up until the mid-60’s, Germany was a homogenous people. Common ethnicity of primarily northern Europeans with a minor mix of Slavic ethnicity in the eastern fringes along our old Polish and Czech borders (long since gone). Southern Europeans (Greeks and Italians) didn’t really get far north past Austria and Switzerland. Keep in mind like you we were once an agrarian society, so farmers stayed where they were. Because the land was already owned and/or occupied, opportunities were limited, which is why so many headed to the USA… Read more »

Al from da Nort
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Al from da Nort

And then there’s culture. Another example of the forbidden knowledge right in front of our faces. Can anyone other than a mindless multi-culti marxist deny that the ghetto thug culture is a factor in black-on-black crime_? To me its role* is even more obvious than biology. And yet by another elite religion ‘inversion of the obvious’, like individual egalitarianism assumes away individual biological differences, and feminism assumes away human sexual dimorphism, multi-culturalism assumes away any idea that some cultures may be better suited to our stage of technology than others, much less ‘superior’. Indeed it is to evade these very… Read more »

Pawn4King
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Pawn4King

Greetings Zman. I think you put forward a good thesis but in the case of Christianity you used a bad example. I watch a lot of Christian vs Atheist debates including the biggest names on both sides of the aisle (William Lane Craig, John Lennox, Dinesh D’Souza, Richard Dawkins, Dan Barker, Michael Shermer, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, etc.) and every single time (and I do mean EVERY SINGLE TIME) the atheist floats the hypothesis of the non-existence of an historical Jesus he gets pulverized. And this happens even in matches where the atheist won a majority of the other points… Read more »

Member

“When presented with a puzzle, they first try to imagine all of the possible solutions and then begin eliminating the impossible.”

And yet our host summarily excludes, yea denies, the explanation that human beings are not singular animals but rather a combination of an immortal soul incarnate in a biological vessel.

Lulu
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Lulu

In corporate business (and government) having a conversation isn’t the only way to stall for time. There’s also the “focus group” and the “task force”. Mostly nattering with busywork tossed in so that no one notices that no one really understands the problem let alone has any idea how to solve it.

Uncola
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Uncola

I believe the biblical definition of “faith” is: “The evidence of things unseen”. And from there it becomes if whatever lurking out there in the dark is true or false. Paradoxically, it was Ayn Rand, an atheist, who advised us to always “check our premises”. Some will claim “sin” became part of our DNA upon the Fall in Eden. Perhaps since then, every clash of the worldviews is determined by whatever God(s) we wish to serve. Truth vs. Falsehood. Light vs. dark. Science vs. superstition. The older I get, the more I realize all debates are rooted in theology one… Read more »

Member

“Yet, at the same time, the biblical account of Genesis says the earth is only 6000 years old.” Actually, it doesn’t. “Although it is commonly rendered as day in English translations, the word yom has several literal definitions: … A long, but finite span of time – age – epoch – season.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yom). “For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.” Psalm 90:4 (English Standard Version). A “thousand” was the largest named number at that time and often used metaphorically to mean an arbitrarily large number.… Read more »

Karl Horst (Germany)
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Karl Horst (Germany)

@ Roy Lofquist – Given the unlimited power of God, a day could well be any length of time, even a million or a billion years, we simply can’t know. Scientific intellectuals can speculate, saying whatever they want to support their own belief system. And of course they all support each another because not doing so gets your funding cut or at least makes peer reviews more difficult. Job 38 & 39 are some of the few passages where God questions mans knowledge, rather than his faith. I have often read this as God challenging man from a scientific perspective… Read more »

neal wigal
Member

Well, a demigod would probably just be a repair to genetics. If that looked timelike or spacelike, that would be deterministic before during and after. Pretty much has to come from what is called where or when. One would have to have a conversation with those few dead fellows that were told not to discuss it. Actually, that would be terrifying to know that even mentioning the event would lead to rifts in the situation. Probably should have stayed dead through that part.

LetsPlay
Member
LetsPlay

Interesting that in all the comments, no one has mentioned Mario Loyola. eh? It seems to me that a lot of the crime culture that infests the ghetto originated in the prison system. And unfortunately, the yute of America, in their quest to be “tolerant” and “open minded” accepted a lot of this crap into their lives without any thought whatsoever. Some examples include: pants flying at half-mast; the ridiculous fixation on super expensive tenny runners (Air Jordans, etc.); rap and hip-hop crap; ebonics dominating the language to where it almost qualifies as a language of it’s own (another example… Read more »

PRCD
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PRCD

I get that this article had nothing to do with Christianity and that you’re free to draw whatever comparison you want on your own blog but most Christians DO consider the possibility that Jesus never existed. Even Paul spends some ink fleshing out the implications of one of the central tenets of Christianity – the resurrection – being possibly false (1 Corinthians 15:12 and onward). I agree with Paul’s conclusions.

Jane M Mataczynski
Guest

I love your take on the various pathologies of contemporary society. Thanks….it makes one feel less alone.

Andy Texan
Guest

I don’t understand why this topic of crime, intelligence and race is such a big taboo. Blacks are at the top of the totem pole for physical stature and coordination and at the bottom for intelligence. Conversely Asians are at the top for intelligence and the bottom for physical stature.

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Backwoods Engineer
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“A Christian, for example, will never consider the possibility that his faith is nonsense and Jesus was a fictional character… It’s akin to saying Christ was fictional or Mohamed was a con-man. That can never be allowed, no matter how many people die.” You are WAY off base here. When was the last time Christians killed off atheists for questioning whether Christ was a true historical person? We don’t do that, regardless of whatever your stilted view of church history. And you’re stating that we are equivalent to Mohammedans, who WILL murder you should you gainsay their false prophet, Mohammed?… Read more »

Karl Horst (Germany)
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Karl Horst (Germany)

@ Backwoods Engineer – Like anyone who choses to read and comment on this site, thezman is as entitled to his opinion as you or I. He simply states a position and the rest of us can comment one way or another – or not. I am a Christian, and I take no offense to his comments even if I don’t agree with him. The history of the Christian church is not spotless – we all know that. But as Christians, we should be the last to condemn someone’s opinion or commentary of our faith. There’s already one group who… Read more »

Unpick
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Unpick

Loyola, amusingly, offers in the same article counterevidence that weakens his conclusion in the cited passage: “The disparity is not quite this dramatic in many places, and is significantly flatter when normalized for socioeconomic status, but a dramatic disparity holds throughout the country. As the report shows, the disparity is also wider for violent crime than for petty crime, an interesting and depressing fact in and of itself.”