Why is it the case that a great majority of what society would call "intellectuals" (professors, authors, journalists etc.( seem to have very strong Marxist, redistributive and/or altruist leanings? As an example, see the great support given to student rebels during the Vietnam War by University professors as well as the outpouring of public support from academics for the Occupy movement more recently. Why is it that clearly intelligent people who have read widely and are presumably not born malicious, tend to gravitate so very strongly to powerfully altruist ideals? This can be understood in the area of religious education given the altruist framework inherent there but it is also very evident in "liberal" non-religious areas. This is now such a meme that non left-wing professors seem to be a very exception rather than the rule. What is the powerful attraction here?
asked Jul 01 '12 at 01:54
Historically, academia has broken ethical theory into three categories, Utilitarianism, Kantianism (deontological) and Aristotilianism (virtue based). Utilitarian is in essence, a pragmatic ethical structure - do what seems to work, tomorrow may be different, we can try something else, or try it again. The focus is on the good of society. Kantianism embraces the mystical ethics, adhering to principles built upon the ideas of an after-life or a supreme being. Both of these, Ayn Rand identified, focus on the duty of doing for something other than the self - either God, or society. Aristotle's ethics is a little better, seeking the life of virtue - but the identification of what is considered virtuous had not been objectively identified until Ayn Rand identified the objective roots - relating value, virtue and beneficiary rationally into what she outlined as Egoism.
The requirements of Aristotle's and Rand's both require a principled approach, which the utilitarians decry as too difficult, and the mystics find too restrictive. As the principled approach is based on reason and reality, it will appeal to those who embrace the one as an absolute in order to more successfully live in the other.
http://www.trinity.edu/cbrown/intro/ethical_theories.html http://www.uua.org/re/tapestry/youth/virtueethics/workshop1/workshopplan/handouts/193111.shtml http://www.scribd.com/doc/33863738/MGT216-MGT-216-Week-2-Ethical-Theories-Chart
answered Jul 06 '12 at 13:36