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December 19, 2011

"Democracy confronts radical intellectuals with a threat more dangerous than any censor, secret police, or religious fatwa - irrelevance...."

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An intellectual working on behalf of a totalitarian regime can imagine himself as an agent of sweeping social change.
If he ends up in a labor camp or facing a firing squad he can at least console himself that his work was so seminal that the only way the regime could cope with it was to silence him. He made a difference. A radical intellectual in a democracy, on the other hand, finds the vast majority ignoring him. They never heard of him. His most outrageous works go unknown or are the butt of jokes. He watches in impotent rage as the masses ignore art films and go to summer blockbusters. Worse yet, things that are noticed get co-opted, watered down and trivialized. Works that are supposed to shake the System to the core are bought by fat cats to decorate corporate headquarters or stashed in bank vaults as investments. Fashions that scream defiance of everything the society holds dear end up being the next generation's Trick or Treat costumes. Protest songs end up being played on elevators twenty years later. -- Treason of the Intellectuals, Volume 3

Posted by gerardvanderleun at December 19, 2011 2:06 PM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

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