On Creating an Intellectual Counter-Elite

by David Heleniak

I read through your piece on demographics. One group that’s not on the list and is important despite in terms of quality as opposed to quantity is non-PC intellectuals like evolutionary psychologists, who, because they have not focused on it, are not tuned into the problems of the State are conventional in their politics, but would be open to our ideas if we pitch them in an appealing way. Some Objectivists could become more radical anti-statists, maybe some cognitive psychologists, which, since the discipline is pretty good, would be open to truth.

I was a psych/philosophy major in the early 90s. Overall I would say psychology at the undergrad level, which is focused on the scientific method as opposed to training future therapists, is PC free. I spoke with one of my former teachers a couple years ago–when my New Chamber article came out I gave a little presentation at Albright–and he was definitely keyed into anti-male bias in the culture, and he wasn’t an AltRight guy or fathers rights guy or anything like that, just observant and intelligent.

It’s like this in psych: as an undergrad, you are taught that psychology is an infant science: “We know a few things and are in the process of learning more, but don’t believe you can take a few psych classes and read someone’s mind.” This would be the same story if I had gone on to study experimental psych in grad school. If I was to go on to shrink school, however–therapeutic psychology–I would be mentored by a master shrink, who would have taken me under his wing and revealed the secrets of the craft: “Forget all that stuff about not knowing how the mind words, here’s how you read someone’s mind, how to tell who is a better parent when doing a custody evaluation (psst…it’s the Mom), etc.” This is where the bullshit and PC ideology come in.

Even in English lit, there are PC free pockets. I had a teacher–Michael Adams–who taught Arthurian lit, among other things, and was, in retrospect, euro-centric. He moved on to teach at North Carolina State University and was put on notice by Stephen Colbert for not properly acknowledging him as the originator of the word “truthiness.” Colbert later accepted his apology, even though he didn’t exactly offer one:

Philosophy is also relatively free from PC. It can either be AngloAmerican (e.g., logical positivism)–which is boring as shit–or Continental–which looks at Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sarte, etc., and is exciting. Either way, there’s lots of focus on the history of philosophy, e.g., what Plato and Aristotle said, and that’s all good.

You know, I regularly get lectures on tape from the Teaching Company, mostly on history. No PC guys there either.

I’m listening to a tape on Tocqueville right now and am getting a lot out of it. I’ve modified my theory on democracy getting us into war. As Tocqueville and people like Nock, Sunic, and Peikoff have noticed, the average American is uninteresting in intellectual matters and is mostly engaged in practical affairs, i.e., making money, building a better mouse trap, getting laid. As a result, he does not fully absorb ideas, which can be a good thing, because he only superficially absorbs bad ideas. The real impulse to spread democracy by gun point comes from the intellectuals and some relatively intelligent, bookish folks on top, like the neocons, Wilson, and GW. The average people would not have supported going to war to spread democracy had that been the rational for war presented to them (they agreed out of fear and anger), but now that we are there, they do not respond to atrocities with outrage because they have only vaguely absorbed “democracy worship”: “We’re a democracy, democracy is good, therefore we are good, therefore whatever we do is good, therefore if we kill or injure someone, it’s good.”

This is also true of PC, as the Gottfried article PCU suggests. The students at the Harvard and Yales get the real thing; the dummies at the dummy schools get a dumbed down version. The public only absorbs a vague version: e.g., it is appropriate to laugh at a guy getting kicked in the nuts because men aren’t worthy of sympathy.

Also, because average Americans don’t get too deep, they don’t try to reconcile bad ideas with the good ideas they absorbed, e.g., rugged individualism–don’t tread on me. As a consequence, they don’t reject good ideas in the name of consistency.

The problem lies with the intellectuals and the solution lies with the intellectuals. Get good intellectuals saying good things and good ideas will trickle down to the masses.

6 replies »

  1. I totally agree. Even though they shouldn’t be exploited (especially since it affects me also), the masses are slaves for a reason. Even popular libertarianism is fairly lame because all popular things are generally lame. It really is an intellectual struggle. I think what might happen is the number of intellectuals like myself who’ve been nudged out of academia as a result of ridiculous hierarchy will grow in size. We need to capitalize on that. Those are the “revolutionary” voices and we need good ideas coming from them. If it comes down to axe wielding, which I really hope it doesn’t, then the masses are good for that.

  2. I’m sympathetic to the notion that most people are unreflective and adopt ideas via osmosis, not via critical thinking. However, I wonder how inevitable this is. It always amazes the fuck out of me when I bring up an intellectual conversation with somebody I consider non-intellectual how profoundly grateful they often are. It’s like most have just given up on thinking. The remedy for this should be obvious.

  3. Some members of the counter elite also belong to many on the black studies departments. I’ve talked to many of my black studies professors who have a distaste for the cultural imperialist nature of their liberal white counterparts. You would never see “Hip Hop Vs. MAAT,” ‘The Miseducation of the Negro,” or such blatantly nationalist books as ‘PowerNomics” in the library of the typical academic liberal apologist. The Dubois Vs. Washington arguments are still in full effect in black academia. The liberals’ tendency to lump us in the “minority” category constantly alienates any person dedicated to real black liberation.

    I like many members of the intellectual counter-elite, especially in the area of anti-state economics. However, the Jared Taylor types are very annoying I don’t usually take things too personal, but he’s a racist intellectual lightweight that somehow gets recognition because he plays to the aesthetic affinity of ‘racialists’ that still think Africa is a continent full of subhumans who have no concept of civilization. (I question what he even defines as a civilization)

  4. “However, the Jared Taylor types are very annoying I don’t usually take things too personal, but he’s a racist intellectual lightweight that somehow gets recognition because he plays to the aesthetic affinity of ‘racialists’ that still think Africa is a continent full of subhumans who have no concept of civilization. (I question what he even defines as a civilization)”

    The materials produced by people like Taylor are sometimes an interesting source of information on the excesses of PC and, like other kinds of conservatives, they’re sometimes good as pointing out the holes in the thinking of modern liberals. Also, the violent threats made against Taylor’s organization expose pretty well the totalitarian nature of the PC Left.

    But that’s about it. The ideology of the Taylor-types is just warmed over 1920s-style racism of the kind associated with thinkers like Lorthrup Stoddard and Madison Grant. You’ve raised a good point about their view of Africa as lacking “civilization” as defined on their own terms. That’s just a recycling of the arguments used to justify imperialism and colonialism in the first place. What’s interesting is that such arguments were considered “progressive” by white liberals in their day. For instance, many present day white progressives would probably be loathe to admit that during the Progressive Era white supremacy was often considered to be a progressive idea along with things like labor reform, antitrust, woman suffrage, alcohol prohibition (another embarrassment in the progressives’ closet), and repression against American blacks actually escalated during the time the so-called Progressive Era reforms were being enacted. In fact, both Marxism and the racial determinist ideologies that came out of the 19th century were rooted in the 19th century idea of progress that grew out of the Enlightenment and the linear view of history that pre-dates the Enlightenment in Western thinking.

    I don’t really see different civilizations as “backwards” or “forwards,” but as merely different. One of the major criticisms I have of what the Left is today is the frequently implicit view that the entire world needs to be remade in the image of an American leftist university’s humanities departments, e.g., Chinese must become animal rights activists, Japanese must become anti-racists, Muslims must become feminists, Africans must become gay rights activists, Russians must become liberal democrats, etc.

    You see this kind of thinking among white liberals who have an attitude that both patronizes and fetishizes their image of what urban black culture is, and their implicit view of themselves as the paternalistic saviors of poor blacks. You also see it in the way they express egalitarian sentiments one minute and turn around and say something derogatory about poor whites or working class people the next minute. Yeah, liberate the working class, but God forbid the working class should ever own handguns or smoke in bars.

  5. Miles,

    What is your assessment of Lorenzo Komboa Ervin? I met him about ten years ago and I recall that he was a fairly impressive fellow. I still refer to his pamphlet “Anarchism and the Black Revolution” fairly frequently. He’s a little too Marxist-influenced in some of his economics for my tastes, but that’s my only real disagreement with him. When I met him, I was just starting to develop the views I have now. He seemed interested in what I was saying, noting that he knew people from the militia movement who had served as bodyguards for Pam Africa during a speaking tour in his area.

    Also, what strands of black nationalism do you tend to identify with? Black nationalism is a fairly broad topic. It includes Marxist black nationalism, free-market conservative black nationalism, Christian black nationalism, Islamic black nationalism, black Israel (some of those guys used to produce a cable TV show I had years ago), Garveyites, NOI, PAIN, so many others.

    What is your take on black conservatism like Sowell, Walter Williams, etc.? I think those guys are pretty good at exposing the silliness of PC liberals on race issues, but they also fall back into a vulgar libertarianism on economic issues at times. Of course, they’re economics professors with Phds in the field, and I’m not, so maybe I should balance my criticisms with humility. Also, Sowell is way too right-wing on foreign policy and “law and order” for my tastes.

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