Thursday, August 20, 2009

Intellectuals vs. Thinkers

There is a difference says Larrey Anderson.:
What this conflict of real values indicates is that the intellectual (as opposed to the thinker) is actually close-minded. The intellectual believes you have a right to your opinion -- as long as it agrees with his opinion. The intellectual is not a thinker.
Anderson then goes on to argue that a thinker is someone who takes on the task of addressing his opponents arguments, so that we don't fall into the trap of continuous error.

This is where the difficulty with our political regime meets reality. Both camps, the left and the right, are suffering through a dearth of real thinkers. Gone are the days when smart thinking men and women occupied positions of power in our country. What we have are ideologues. Evidentiary exhibit #1--the mass of liberal Congressmen who say they will pass health care reform with a public option or pass nothing. Evidentiary Exhibit #2--GOP Congressmen who simply bash the Democratic plan without offering a solution of their own.

There have been people who have proffered some interesting solutions to matters like health care, like education, like our foriegn policy problems, but they are practical solutions that don't fit neatly into an ideological camp, thus they are discarded or ignored.

The "intellectuals" that currently run the country will continue to make the same mistakes, over and over again, not becuase they are human and error prone, but because they fail to stop and think. Our policial class looks at solutions only through the lens of left and right, liberal or conservative, socialist or capitalist. The dichotomy is not healthy for a country that had longer been a bastion of pragmatism. We as a nation have a tradition of being problem solvers. Through out our history, we have encountered problems and we had thinkers in Congress, in the executive branch and in the private sector who have faced those problems, thought about the problem and found a solution. Where have those practical thinkers gone?

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