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The Intellectuals What Ain’t

Written By : Warner Todd Huston
February 9, 2010

There is no better example of how low intellectuals have fallen than the case of Bernard-Henri Lévy, intellectual, provocateur, member of the well-regarded French nouveaux philosophes and, it seems, all around gullible fool.

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Bernard-Henri Lévy, better known to those in the know as BHL, has become a laughing stock of modern inteleckshoouls everywhere with the publication of his much anticipated book on philosopher Immanuel Kant.

Oh, there’s sharp criticism in Lévy’s new Kantallope, there’s bomb thrown name calling, and nose-up-turning galore. Kant, according to Lévy, is a “raving lunatic” and a “fake.” And to prove his case Lévy uses the anti-Kanti words of the famous 20th-century philosopher Jean-Baptiste Botul — known as the father of the philosophical school of Botulism.

Yeah. Big problem for BHL, though. Jean-Baptiste Botul is a fictional character made up as a joke in 1999 by a journalist. I mean, come on, if you didn’t see the joke in “the school of Botulism” what sort of bat do you need upside your head to see the truth?

But this is what I mean, here. This guy, this Bernard-Henri Lévy, is supposed to be the top of the intellectual food chain in France. Yet he was such a dunce that he built a historical case on the opprobrium of a fake philosopher? It’s bad enough that this supposed smartie was so gullible as to be taken in by a fake philosopher, but the error was compounded by the editors and publishers that also missed this easily discovered faux pas.

Even Wikiepedia (French version translated) has it right for a change, and we know how bad Wikiepdia is!

Of course, Bernard-Henri Lévy has been accused of “cutting corners” and intellectual laziness before, but still his fame and fortune shows that intellectual rigor is not a prized commodity in the realm of the intellectual. It shows that these guys are not as smart as advertised.

It’s been like this for a long time, sadly. Starting with Karl Marx, or folks like Charles Beard and John Dewey, all the way to poseurs like Noam Chomsky and Gore Vidal, we’ve had empty suits promulgating nonsense and proffering contemporary political ideology as straight science, unbiased philosophy, historical investigation or high thinking.

The fact is our intellectuals are lazy leftists that aren’t worthy of the adulation they receive by the elites in academe. Solid research, learned, hard fought knowledge is not prized in the circles of our acclaimed intellectuals. Only a kitschy adherence to left-wing [political ideology is prized by these folks. Sadly, real intellect does not interest these people.
The simple fact is that today’s intellectuals only value newsearch and not research. These stuffed shirts only value “newsness,” and not well argued, researched truth.

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