I’m not anti-intellectual; I’m anti-intelligentsia.

One kind of “anti-intellectualism” is opposition to “intellectuals” considered as an interest group or social class in the Marxian sense – what Russian writers called the intelligentsia. The only more specific term I can think of for this is anti-intelligentsianism, an ugly coinage which will have to do for the duration of this essay.

The intelligentsia has displayed a consistent political pattern over the last 150 years: believing in its own intellectual and moral superiority, it has sought a leading role in politics, promoting a vision of itself as benign philosopher-kings who can steer society to virtue, equality, and fulfillment.

The vehicles of this belief have been many. At its worst, it has led the intelligentsia to endorse and propagandize for totalizing systems like Communism, which the intelligentsia conceived could be guided to good ends in its use of power by – who else? – intellectuals. It is forgotten, but true, that before World War II many intellectuals were attracted to Fascism for the same reason. In this way much of the intelligentsia of the 20th century became accomplices in and apologists for the most hideous mass murders in human history.

Via The Varieties of Anti-Intellectualism, worth reading in its entirety. (it gives voice to part of what I mean when I say “It’s not enough to be smart; you have to actually know things.”)

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