Letters to the Editor

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ELITES: Is intellect a test of truth?

Letter by Arne Herstad, Gig Harbor on March 8, 2012 at 4:05 pm | 35 Comments »
March 8, 2012 4:06 pm

Re: “If being an elitist is wrong, then I don’t what to be right” (TNT, 3-8).

Kevin Horrigan decries the debasement of candidates forced to play to the “cheap seats,” citing an “anti-intellectualism that has been a consistent theme throughout American history.” He may be right about a theme, but there may be another way to look at it.

Americans aren’t typically anti-intellectual. If we were, we’d still have the queen’s face on our money, and the intellectual ferment of Colonial times that shed the chains of tyranny would never be spoken of today, much less revered.

Intellectuals were cool, because they were pulling on the same oar as the rest of us. Like us, they had bodies and souls to feed. So how were they different?

They weren’t. They understood their gift and the responsibilities that go with it. But now something’s different, ushered in by the suffix “ism.” This “ism” turned secular schools of thought (or pools of money) into quasi religions and their intellectuals into priests of other orders.

Not all of them are pulling at the same oar as the rest of us. Worse, some have been observed building lifeboats for themselves and drilling holes in the bottoms of others.

If intellect were the test of truth, then everyone with brains would stop drilling in boats. Clearly there’s something else at play here. Find out what, and maybe we can start drilling in the right places.

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