The origin of modern intellectuals At the heart of modernity lies a deep crisis. Yet the existence of such people is far from self-evident. There have been a lot more intellectuals than the mere classics, and often those rejected by the official narrative are more interesting than those inside.
Both were gifted writers, both were charming and witty, both managed to write about matters that were actually relevant to their times, and both have used a trial with political overtones to make a show of themselves.
They have no fundamental reason to exist. The conservative right has often lacked a milieu for intellectual types. Voltaire took advantage of various trials to claim that the defendants were accused because they were Protestants inside a Catholic country.
And if we do not, what should we have instead? If we happen to beat cultural Marxism, what shall we do with intellectual types? Eventually, Dreyfus was rehabilitated—and the army, the patriots and the Catholics were shamed through a never-ending media discourse that casted them as villains of the whole story.
Many are those who contend for public attention, credibility, and money as a reward for their wits, not to mention the very status of intellectual. Zola, more than a century later, did the same. The intellectual mediocrity and spinelessness of the average conservative is no solution. Either we stand up for our very existence, even if we must go against more than two centuries of manipulations and lies, or we resign ourselves to an ignominious death.
The problem of money is a good starting point to connect the dots: The momentous crisis turned into a crisis structure and the structure turned into a mark of the modern West.
The most trivial question escapes not our controversy, and in the most momentous we are not able to give any certain decision. Disputes are multiplied, as if everything was uncertain; and these disputes are managed with the greatest warmth, as if everything was certain.
Everything is good to them as long as they can make a profit and be fashionable out of it. Thus, the intellectuel in the most typical sense is a highly paradoxical creature who becomes taught in classes after having seemingly rebelled against dominant institutions. In other words, they served interests that could pay them—they were sellouts.
Intellectuals need them like a blacksmith needs iron. But, in fact, thinkers who actually lived at this time had quite a different impression.
Way too many people would like to live from their wits, and, even more, obtain recognition as intellectuals. Such was the so-called Enlightenment: Intellectual types historically joined the left because it gave them a status, money, and moral recognition.
They merely stand at their place, recognize the place of a superior power beyond, give themselves completely to their writing task, dismiss the temptation of advertising and demonstrate their professional dedication. In many cases, defining their statements more precisely may be enough to make them disappear, plain and simple, if [modern] philosophy did not strive to maintain them, because it makes a living out of ambiguity.
Yet independence is scarce.
What the mainstream refers to under that name is a giant matrix, full of lies, taboos, and the snobbery of talking heads who end up lying to everyone or believing into their own bullshit. The former, under a veneer of servility, have the most noble and proud stance… They do not pretend to reign. For centuries, traditional societies barely had anything or anybody that looked like modern intellectuals, and this did not prevent them from lasting hundreds or even thousands of years.
Voltaire and Zola played the same role in a narrative of the exact same kind. They run like harlots between the legitimate government and usurpers, between monarchy and republic, between politics and socialism, between atheism and religion.
There is nothing which is not the subject of debate, and in which men of learning are not of contrary opinions.
Hence the desire to be original at any price, even if the truth must be sacrificed on the altar of said originality. Descartes, Berkeley, Hume and many others genuinely sought a grand encompassing theory that could resume with all controversies. Teenagers are led to think that heroic and highly intelligent individuals can turn the tide of unfavourable opinion… provided they follow a mysterious sense of history.
A philosopher who cares about his repute does better by making up a new mistake than by repeating some truth that has already been expressed by others.
In North America, the war against whites and masculinity is massively subsidizedwhether in the academic or in the media. Before it, Western Europe was united by the same Christian faith and a basic agreement on the place of economy—subordinated to guilds and the rights of the average producer.
The infamous affaire Calasfrom the name of a father who was accused of having murdered his own son, was used by the shrewd philosophe to sending pathetic letters to the upper crust of the society, stirring the public opinion, pressuring magistrates, until the father—who had been convicted and executed after a thorough investigation—was rehabilitated.
Who dipped into secret funds more shamelessly than they did?The existence of intellectuals is more ubiquitous today than ever.
Many are those who contend for public attention, credibility, and money as a reward for their wits, not to mention the very status of intellectual.Download