“No society can entirely do without intelligentsia, but they’re like gut bacteria – valuable, but they have to be constrained in number and kept in their place or disaster ensues.” – Glenn Reynolds
In many ways, this is the most brilliant analogy I can think of to describe the problem of modern Western Culture. Gut bacteria is critical for human survival. It allows us to digest nutrients that keep us healthy. Likewise, intelligentsia help digest fresh intellectual concepts that keep a culture growing and dynamic.
But if gut bacteria escapes the digestive system and is introduced into the body, peritonitis results. It grows wildly out of control, inflaming the body’s tissues, creating abdominal pain, digestive upset, and eventually confusion and fatigue. Left unchecked death results.
Since World War II, in large part due to appreciation of how technology helped the Allies win the war, America created a meritocracy based on intellectual achievement. No longer was admired the fastest runner, the champion marble shooter, or the strongest boxer. The work of the artisan, whether the mechanic, the cabinetmaker, or the baker, was looked down upon.
Instead, the best and brightest were held up as exemplars. The intelligentsia exploded in numbers and escaped their natural environment of academia to populate — and run — all of society. It took a while, but societal peritonitis has resulted, expressed as Woke culture, transgenderism, and Scientism as a form of worship. It will eventually reduce us to a regressive, feudalist society.
In Churchill’s words, “a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.”
I don't know what the ultimate solution is or how we are to achieve it. We must find some way to return and confine the intelligentsia to their proper place without destroying them. They are necessary, but – as the last 20 years or so have demonstrated — we cannot allow them to run unchecked or to rule us. Crazy is fun for a while, like during your college years. It is too unstable to tolerate very long.
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