Tuesday, 2 July 2013

The Courage to be Utopian

By Lawrence J. McQuillan

In “The Intellectuals and Socialism,” Nobel laureate F.A Hayek shows how ideas gain acceptance in modern society. More importantly, he shows how to win the battle of ideas against supporters of big government. His thoughts provide us with an Independence Day meditation.

Over the long run, public intellectuals—Hayek called them “professional secondhand dealers in ideas”—wield an “all-pervasive” influence on public policy and politics by shaping public opinion.

A public intellectual need not be an original thinker, scholar, or expert in a field. He need not possess special knowledge or be particularly intelligent. But a public intellectual can readily talk and write on a wide range of subjects and he becomes acquainted with new ideas sooner than others. They serve as intermediaries in the spread of ideas.

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