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The Treason of the Intellectuals By James Reed
I have been going through my old books, culling things out, to make it easier for those cleaning up after I die, perhaps in the coming nuclear Armageddon. Oh, wait, a contradiction; there will be no need to clean up, and no-one to do it anyway. But, I digress, perhaps getting on the senility train with Uncle Len.
Here in my hand is a copy of Jewish intellectual, Julien Benda, La Trahison des Clercs (The Treason of the Intellectuals) (1927). He argued that 19th and early 20th century intellectuals had departed from the cosmopolitan/universalist path, and had become apologists for nationalism, and what he called “racism,” but what others would call common sense.
Here is a book which has a title far better than its contents. The intellectuals have generally been universalists and cosmopolitans, supporting their own class, which has never had national boundaries. Only a few, criticised by Benda, have departed from this, but in the main, the intellectuals have done the opposite of what he has said. This is especially so today, as we can see in the deranged and pathological university system across the West, which is essentially based on the ideal of White genocide. I imagine that this sort of cosmopolitanism would satisfy Benda.
I have a wood fire, now burning in a 44 gallon drum in a shed, Uncle Len -style, and will use this book for kindling, hoping that its philosophy will not be too toxic to inhale, while seeking warmth from Melbourne’s winter chill that rattles my bones:
“Lackjaw was lost in thought for a moment. ‘Setting fire to things,’ he said at last. ‘They’re quite good at that. Books and stuff. They have these great big bonfires.’
Cohen [Cohen the Barbarian that is, US] was shocked.
‘Bonfires of books?’
‘Yes. Horrible, isn’t it?’
‘Right,’ said Cohen. He thought it was appalling. Someone who spent his life living rough under the sky knew the value of a good thick book, which ought to outlast at least a season of cooking fires if you were careful how you tore the pages out. Many a life had been saved on a snowy night by a handful of sodden kindling and a really dry book. If you felt like a smoke and couldn’t find a pipe, a book was your man every time.
Cohen realized people wrote things in books. It had always seemed to him to be a frivolous waste of paper.”
Sir Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic https://econstudentlog.wordpress.com/2010/09/25/book-burnings/