The plague of false intellectuals

FRIDAY, 10 JUNE 2011

A scourge has been haunting public debate in recent times – on TV, on the Internet, on radio, and on other media. This scourge can only be described in one way: false intellectuals. In many cases these fiends will not attach the label of intellectual to their own brows, but the fact that they participate in public debates on issues that require critical, intelligent thinking, undermine their own anti-intellectual protest.

The big problem with these people is that they will never make themselves vulnerable by playing according to the rules of intellectual discourse. Facts are mentioned merely as decoration, not as a prerequisite to making a statement. Appearance, tone and personal charisma are weapons used to “win” the argument – or to at least create the impression that this is the case.

These people contribute nothing to the conversation; or rather, what they do contribute is completely overwhelmed by their unsubstantiated allegations, criticism that is not supported by a reasonable, well laid-out argument, and by statements that bear little or no semblance to reality – statements made merely for entertainment value, to get applause from their fans.

False intellectuals are indeed the enemy of intelligent conversation.