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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

Danneskjold_repo's gravatar image


They think the way they do because they can. They choose to believe in the philosophy they preach. Also, a majority of "intellectuals" believe in such a philosophy only in acadamia because it doesn't work anywhere else!

(Jul 01 '12 at 09:18) Collin1 Collin1's gravatar image

I would agree but this seems to pervade from academia to the "creative, intelligentsia". Look at the number of "cool, hip" companies that making saving the world and "green" one of their core values.

(Jul 01 '12 at 16:33) Danneskjold_repo Danneskjold_repo's gravatar image

Bill Whittle is a man I like to listen to. He explains in vivid detail why academia is such a vapid place in this video. Hopefully, this should clear it up for you.


(Jul 01 '12 at 21:37) Collin1 Collin1's gravatar image

Let me know what you think of this video after you watch it.

(Jul 01 '12 at 21:53) Collin1 Collin1's gravatar image

Thought-provoking ! A bit heavy on conspiracy theory but really interesting.

(Jul 06 '12 at 08:25) Danneskjold_repo Danneskjold_repo's gravatar image
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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

dream_weaver's gravatar image

dream_weaver ♦

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Asked: Jul 01 '12 at 01:54

Seen: 1,057 times

Last updated: Jul 06 '12 at 13:36