Tuesday, May 30, 2006
The role of public intellectuals is less to come up with good ideas, which is fiendishly hard, but more to serve as a watchdog to get rid of bad ideas and prevent their coming back. There are more bad ideas and more purveyors of bad ideas than their benign counterparts. And the asymmetry is further compounded because, in Yeats's words, "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."I think the internet only increases the volume of bad ideas. Fortunately, a number of smart people have (frequently with no compensation) decided to become public intellectuals. Although, I am not sure if we are, on net, better off.
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