November 2, 2015

Quote of the Day

Lifting WSJ's "Notable & Quotable." Forgive me, Rupert!

I make a distinction between intellectuals and people of intellectual achievement. . .

An intellectual feeds on indignation and really can't get by without it. The perfect example is Noam Chomsky. When Chomsky was merely the most exciting and most looked-to and, in many ways, the most profound linguist in this country if not the world, he was never spoken of as an American intellectual. Here was a man of intellectual achievement. He was not considered an intellectual until he denounced the war in Vietnam, which he knew nothing about. Then he became one of America's leading intellectuals. He remains one until this day, which finally has led to my definition of an intellectual: An intellectual is a person who is knowledgeable in one field but speaks out only in others. -- Tom Wolfe.


William "Socialism is needed to combat Climate Change" Gates could not be reached for comment...

Quote of the Day Posted by John Kranz at November 2, 2015 2:10 PM

Is Michael Mann not then an "intellectual?"

I believe my definition of an intellectual is more accurate: "An intellectual is a person who is an expert at finding excuses for telling other people what to do."

Posted by: johngalt at November 3, 2015 12:35 PM

I've always liked Wolfe's commentaries.... I'll have to read _Bonfire someday (unless someone with many titles on his reader can suggest a better title).

I do like his take: I've looked at this same problem from Boorstin's point of view, typically, but that's back when those of intellectual achievement stuck to their guns and still employed a bit of humility. I guess in the age of celebrity and 24/7 media barrage, even the intellectual has felt the need to "up" his game/image/status!

"The hero was distinguished by his achievement; the celebrity by his image or trademark. The hero created himself; the celebrity is created by the media. The hero was a big man; the celebrity is a big name." -- Daniel J. Boorstin

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 3, 2015 1:03 PM

Wolfe's statement supports the argument from authority fallacy, suggesting that one should not speak out in fields other than those where his expertise is relevant.

Posted by: johngalt at November 3, 2015 2:09 PM

Bonfire is great as is "I Am Charlotte Simmons." Before I abandoned Conservatism, t'was included on my list of the (exactly) five conservative novels of all time.

I'm going to defend the quote by highlighting the term "only." The intellectuals chided use their authority by expecting t to transfer into every field.

Posted by: jk at November 3, 2015 3:12 PM | What do you think? [4]