An intellectual is a person who primarily uses intelligence in either a professional or an individual capacity. The distinctive quality of the intellectual person is that the mental skills, which he or she demonstrates, are not simply intelligent, but even more, they focus on thinking about the abstract, philosophical and esoteric aspects of human inquiry and the value of their thinking.
Views on intellectuals
Ludwig von Mises writes, "It is true that the masses do not think. But just for this reason they follow those who do think. The intellectual guidance of humanity belongs to the very few who think for themselves. At first they influence the circle of those capable of grasping and understanding what others have thought; through these intermediaries their ideas reach the masses and there condense themselves into the public opinion of the time." Likewise, Murray Rothbard writes, "In all societies, public opinion is determined by the intellectual classes, the opinion moulders of society. For most people neither originate nor disseminate ideas and concepts; on the contrary, they tend to adopt those ideas promulgated by the professional intellectual classes, the professional dealers in ideas."
In some cases, the government seeks to suppress the expression of divergent viewpoints by intellectuals by buying them out. Historically, this was done through the church-state alliance; in more recent times, it is done through the professors, Ph.D.'s, historians, teachers, and technocratic economists, social workers, sociologists, physicians, and engineers on the government payroll.
- Mises, Ludwig von. "The Battle of Ideas". Socialism. http://mises.org/books/socialism/part5_ch35.aspx.
- Rothbard, Murray. "Resistance to Liberty". For a New Liberty. http://mises.org/rothbard/newlibertywhole.asp.
- Tucker, Jeffrey (December 1995). "A Phone Call From the Idea Police". The Free Market 13 (12). http://mises.org/freemarket_detail.aspx?control=213.
- Concepts of the Role of Intellectuals in Social Change Toward Laissez Faire (pdf) by Murray N. Rothbard, 1990
- Natural Elites, Intellectuals, and the State by Hans-Hermann Hoppe, 1992
- World War I as Fulfillment: Power and the Intellectuals (pdf) by Murray N. Rothbard, 1989
- "Why Intellectuals Still Support Socialism" by Peter G. Klein, November 2006
- "In Defense of Public Intellectuals" by Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr., October 2001
- Mises quotes about intellectuals
- The Intellectuals and Socialism (pdf) by F.A. Hayek, 1949
- Intellectual at Wikipedia