Saturday, September 24, 2011

William F. Buckley, Anti-Intellectualism as Pro-Tradition and Local Control

"I am obliged to confess I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University." -- William F. Buckley, Jr.

Why this disdain of intellectual rigor? Are conservatives so blindly enthralled by the past, that they will brook not challenge to time-honored traditions? Is "right-wing intellectual" "or free market advocate" a contradiction in terms and policies?

These questions presume that open inquiry can be found in the august halls of Ivy League Universities, chiefly because they learned sage of long black robes have thought long and hard about difficult and serious questions of state. This is a sad misconception. The self-abrogating, arrogant ( and predominantly "left-wing") intellectual is deluded into believing that with his greater academic acumen, he can then regulate, integrate, and propagate a better system than that which tradition, time, and culture have transmitted from generation to generation.

Friedrich Hayek, a persuasive free market economist and right-thinking intellectual, argued against this "fatal conceit": we do not have it within our limited scope to plan, reform, or change the world and its intricate, intimate complexities. Economies are so vast, so inscrutable to man's limited intellect, that

In Mr. Buckley's estimation, at least the first 2,000 names listed in the Boston telephone would presumably not be done in by the academic fatal conceit, but would rely to a greater extent on experience and practical expertise.

Bravo, Mr. Buckley far the sharp and simple wit that promotes Joe the Plummer against the Nutty Professor!

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