March 9, 2007
Why Do Intellectuals Oppose the Military?
Almost a decade ago the late Harvard philosopher Robert Nozick penned an essay asking "Why Do Intellectuals Oppose Capitalism?" That is, why would those who live well reject the open society that allows them to do so? The essay was less a venture in social science than a thought experiment about the upbringing of intellectuals and the outsized influence this group exerts on society. Much of what Nozick says about intellectuals' reflexive disdain for capitalism also helps explain their disdain toward the military - and even the differences are intriguing. So his essay is worth pondering today as we survey civil-military relations in a nation at war. Whom are we talking about? In his book Intellectuals, Paul Johnson defines a member of this elite group in general terms, as "someone who thinks ideas are more important than people." By contrast, Nozick confines his attentions to "wordsmith intellectuals" concentrated in professions such as the academy, print...(Read Full Article)