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Why so Many Intellectuals Are Opposed to Capitalism

Posted by  $  Olduglycarl 1 month ago to Education
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When you are dealing with a field as black and white as math, you are either right or you are wrong. But when it comes to communication, the victor is not always the individual with the soundest logic. Instead, to he who can construct the most poetic sentences or appeal to the strongest emotions goes the spoils. And many wordsmiths are used to being praised for the construct of their words, rather than the content of their ideas.

Unfortunately, our education system has reinforced the belief that being a wordsmith guarantees your value in society. And unfortunately for the intellectuals, the market does [not] operate in this manner. To succeed in the market you must create real value for people that goes beyond your intellect. And this is something that irks the academic class.
SOURCE URL: https://centerforindividualism.org/nozick-explains-why-so-many-intellectuals-are-opposed-to-capitalism/


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  • Posted by  $  Ben_C 4 weeks, 1 day ago
    The University of Michigan employees 51,000 people. A nurse earns 100K plus benefits. The academics make from 100K to 300K plus benefits. Its a self perpetuating beast. No wonder student debt is so high and taxpayers are left footing the bill. At some point the intellectuals will implode from the weight of their own economy - it cannot be sustained. The University is slowly gaining more real estate removing the property from the Ann Arbor tax base. When property taxes go up or Ann Arbor is forced to implement a city income tax the intellectuals will be in a dither.
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  • Posted by Texaswildfire 4 weeks, 1 day ago
    You Sir, have made a very true statement.
    I decided to take some college courses after a 35 + year hiatus. I was met with exactly what you speak of. They were more interested in my format, and how I spoke, than what I had to say. A University is not a good place to get an education of higher learning !
    Unless it is the University of Hard Knocks !
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    • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 4 weeks, 1 day ago
      This really echo's C.P. Snow's "The Two Cultures" talk from 1959 where he documented the philosophical clash between the literary intellectuals and the natural scientists -- as science and engineering was emerging as a dominant force.
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      • Posted by  $  4 weeks, 1 day ago
        Sounds interesting, I might look that up.

        Scientist and engineers should integrate other fields of science and philosophy .
        Many literary, so called intellectuals are not as integrated as you might think, few are able to apply the observation of others into a coherent big picture.
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        • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 4 weeks, 1 day ago
          And vice-versa. If "intellectuals" are going to have opinions on scientific issues such as "climate change" they should actually know something about it.

          An often quoted section is:

          "A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare's?

          I now believe that if I had asked an even simpler question – such as, What do you mean by mass, or acceleration, which is the scientific equivalent of saying, Can you read? – not more than one in ten of the highly educated would have felt that I was speaking the same language. So the great edifice of modern physics goes up, and the majority of the cleverest people in the western world have about as much insight into it as their neolithic ancestors would have had."

          Snow was reacting to the fact that scientists were finding the building blocks of nature and the laws that managed them and the intellectual culture was scathing about the literary style of their papers. The fact that they revealed new truths about the universe was irrelevant.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month ago
    The original 1998 article makes apparently contradictory points:
    "Wordsmith intellectuals fare well in capitalist society...Their occupational skills are in demand, their income much above average. "

    "By and large, a capitalist society does not honor its intellectuals... they mix socially with successful capitalists and so have them as a salient comparison group and are humiliated by their lesser status."

    If we go with the latter claim, why don't we similar opposition to capitalism among other fields that have the two trait mentions a) earn less money and b) have a narrative as to why their profession is important.
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    • Posted by  $  1 month ago
      I think the comparison shows, at least these days that many if not most "word smiths" have no practical knowledge, no common sense and generally do not relate to value creators...not to mention very poor education in history and science.
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  • Posted by  $  1 month ago
    No offense to our writer friends here at the gulch for their wordsmithing has brought the values of objective, reasoned thought and the values of self interest, (celf interest) in defense of Capitalism. You are not mere wordsmiths but number smiths too; you are true Intra-lectuals, not just intel lectuals.
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  • Posted by brucejc04 4 weeks, 1 day ago
    If these anti-capitalists wiould just take the short time to read Rand;s "Capitalism, The Unknown Ideal" which demolishes all of those anti-capitlist's arguments we could get back to the real, deeply held reason for their problem. They simply resent success in any form! It is a psychological issue dealt very well in "The Liberal Mind. The Psychological Causes of Political Madness" by Lyle H. Rossiter, Jr., M.D.
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  • Posted by  $  BiggestShoelaces 4 weeks, 1 day ago
    I think the answer to your question is that intellectuals are rare, but universities want to make money, so they lowered their standards now any high schooler can go to university and be considered an intellectual.
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  • Posted by evlwhtguy 4 weeks, 1 day ago
    Its a religion. Communism.....As with many religions there is a faith component so you cannot use reason to convince them that their faith is incorrect. Contrary evidence and arguments will in fact will often strengthen the faith.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month ago
    Here are my guesses why it seems like intellectuals are more opposed to capitalism:

    They talk about the topic – Maybe non-intellectuals have the same rate of opposition to capitalism as intellectuals, but they’re not in the business of writing about it. I wonder if you if you asked non-intellectuals questions about capitalism in straightforward language how strong their support would be.

    Outside their area – Sometimes we wrongly thing someone who’s really smart in one area is also smart outside her area. It’s like how Linus Pauling was an advocate of megadosing of vitamin C.

    Package Dealing – People wrongly tie ideas together, saying you have to pick a package. Someone says he believes in respecting everyone’s rights. People tell him he’s a part of the group that respects rights and opposes capitalism. If he doesn’t know much about capitalism, he may say sign me up for that group if I must pick a group.

    Definition of capitalism – There are various parts of capitalism and various degess you can oppose the different parts. If someone is for having central banks control monetary policy, does that make her anti-capitalism? I suspect many of the people the author considers anti-capitalist actually do not oppose private ownership of the means of production.

    Claim might not be true. - I wonder if the whole claim that intellectuals are more opposed to capitalism is even true. In my experience there’s a “neo-liberal consensus” among intellectuals. The consensus supports capitalism but tolerates costly and intrusive gov’t as a fact of life for the modern world. In my experience, less intellectual people are more supportive of facile solutions that involve government intervening to fix the economy.
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    • Posted by  $  1 month ago
      Thank you, you make some useful points.

      Points 2,3 and 4 are useful here. 2, not everyone is integrated [intralectual verses intellectual: a measure of compartmentalized information].

      3, Grouping is a problem, division from others and conformity within groups.
      No allowance for individualism.

      4, The definition of capitalism has been confounded and misunderstood. What most complain about is Not capitalism...it's Crony Crapitalism aside from marxist which disavows responsible self reliance and competence.
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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 weeks, 1 day ago
        "capitalism has been confounded and misunderstood. What most complain about is Not capitalism...it's Crony Crapitalism"
        That is the main issue. I have heard many misunderstandings of capitalism.
        - Capitalism says it's okay to steal if you can get away with it. It's up to owners to provide security commensurate with the value of their property.
        - Capitalism says it's okay to defraud customers based on the principle of caveat emptor.
        - Government's job is to manage the economy, and capitalist want gov't to use gov't force to enrich the politically connected. (i.e. crony capitalism)
        - Capitalism says it's fine to make a mess that damages others' property without cleaning it up, so capitalism inevitably destroys the environment.
        - Capitalism encourages consumption for consumption's sake, not happiness.
        - Capitalism calls for a system military, paramilitaries, and police forces to oppress people.

        More than just being slurs used by anit-capitalists, these are things many people thing are capitalists' own claims. Education on the basic facts would make a huge difference.
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  • Posted by craigerb 4 weeks, 1 day ago
    So-called "Intellectuals" see an end they desire: that everyone have everything they need. True intellectuals see the end that everyone have what they deserve. Capitalism tends to be the means to the latter. The easiest means to the former is to force those who have more than they need to redistribute to those who have less.
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  • Posted by  $  Stormi 4 weeks, 1 day ago
    Unfortunately, intellect is now judge by who bought what degree. Like Obama, did he ever sit in a class or learn anythigg beyond Marxism? Did Cortez ever learn anything about economics, or Milton Friedman? These are a class of proclaimed "intellectuals" - not people who did the work and embraced learning. It was not the journey for them, it was the title of graduate, empy headed or not. They are opposed to capitalism, because they never studied it, how it works or the personal responsibility thereof. Schools today, just teach capitalism bad, as does the UN. Thye has distroed it and taken respponsibility out of it.
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  • Posted by  $  blarman 4 weeks, 1 day ago
    I'd actually suggest a completely different reason: subjectivism. Approbation is a largely emotional response, and it is our subjective tendencies which trigger emotion. Mathematics is such an objective subject that really the only emotions which can come into play are that one arrived at the correct answer, but not as much how one arrived at the correct answer. With anything literary, the how is far more the focus than the end goal - thus those with a gift for oratory can blind people with their turn of phrase irrespective the actual logical value of the statement.

    We need look no further than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for a classic example. She was elected not for her intelligence, but for the way she is able to phrase her argument (when not in a debate or subject to cross-examination).

    I would also suggest that Common Core is really about introducing emotion into a logical subject, as Common Core focuses much more on the "creative" ways in which one can arrive at an answer even if the answer is just wrong.
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    • Posted by  $  4 weeks, 1 day ago
      Great observation.
      I focus on the how, the emotion it elicits where applicable and getting it right in the end; but my overall intent is to connect the reader with his mind, not just stating a point of view.

      Maybe that comes from designing and constructing things whether it be building, printing or a musical composition.
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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 4 weeks, 1 day ago
    I listened to my highly talented craftsman father, who became a major aerospace firm's chief field engineer (without benefit of a degree), when he insisted I learn HOW to think, instead of accepting being told WHAT to think. He noted that he had the discomfort of meeting many "educated idiots" who had degrees but no ability to exercise their education constructively. As Will Rogers noted, "Sometimes, common sense ain't so common."
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