Strategic public intellectuals

Check out this excellent essay by Anastasia Berg and Jon Baskin. (Hat tip: The Amazing Tyler Cowen.) This essay hit close to home, for it explores the moral amd strategic dimensions of intellectual and scholarly discourse, exposes the sheer hypocrisy of most academics and public intellectuals, and explains the relevance of the ideas of Leo Strauss to our contemporary political landscape. Here is the first paragraph of their thought-provoking essay:

Nobody shares all their private complaints with an audience, but how do we know how much to share and with whom? Certainly, in the name of various kinds of shared commitments, it seems best to hash out your differences in private: a team of magazine editors need not disclose every editorial dispute to an article’s author; a couple’s well-being is usually best served by avoiding arguments in the presence of the in-laws. But how far does the strategic logic behind these decisions extend into public intellectual life? Should we attempt to publicly air disagreements with those who are, broadly speaking, on the same “side” of a political, social or spiritual debate as we are, or should we shelter those disagreements from public view in the name of some greater good?

About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
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