Culture War Dispatches

from a Progressive People's Republic

Sunday, June 01, 2008


A liberal friend recently characterized a statement by Victor Davis Hanson as "anti-intellectual." Hanson was discussing "the dreams of intellectuals and elites who strive for economic efficiency or entertain dreams of a one-continent or one-world peaceful state." To me this speaks to Thomas Sowell's characterization of liberals as believing in the "vision of the anointed"--the idea that an educated elite understands how to govern and should thus be given power to decide the fates of the uneducated common man. This leads to a liberal fascism--the belief that government should decide for us how to run our lives. In one sense then, VDH is an anti-intellectual; against an intellectual elite who claim power because they think they are smarter than everyone else. But the common use of anti-intellectual is a pejorative, meaning scornful not of certain intellectuals but of intellectual matters in general. To describe Victor Davis Hanson--a brilliant and intellectually curious scholar--as anti-intellectual is laughable.