Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Eric Hoffer on Intellectuals

"One of the surprising privileges of intellectuals is that they are free to be scandalously asinine without harming their reputation. The intellectuals who idolized Stalin while he was purging millions and stifling the least stirring of freedom have not been discredited. They are still holding forth on every topic under the sun and are listened to with deference. Sartre returned in 1939 from Germany, where he studied philosophy, and told the world that there was little to choose between Hitler's Germany and France. Yet Sartre went on to become an intellectual pope revered by the educated in every land. The metaphysical grammarian Noam Chomsky, who went to Hanoi to worship there at the altar of human rights and democracy, was not discredited and silenced when the humanitarian communists staged their nightmare in South Vietnam and Cambodia. Is there a greater freedom than the right to be wrong?" ~ Eric Hoffer in Before the Sabbath (1979)

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