In today’s Guardian, George Monbiot is stressing a pressing need. Specifically,
The need for a disinterested class of intellectuals which acts as a counterweight to prevailing mores.
And without which,
Racism, nationalism and war are only three of the many hazards to which society is exposed.
For George, these superior intellects must be free of dirty commerce, even corporate donations for new buildings and scholarships, in order to denounce - and thereby correct - the public’s general preference for free markets and lower taxes. The state may spend more of our earnings and regulate more of our affairs than at any time in living memory, but it still isn’t big enough for George. And so someone must save the lower orders from “neoliberal economists,” “imperialist historians” and “war-mongering philosophers,” all of whom would otherwise warp our tiny, undeveloped minds. An arrangement of the kind Mr Monbiot envisions, presumably funded by the taxpayer and in which our self-anointed betters denounce “economic growth and the forces that drive it,” is a disinterested one, see, and thus pure of motive. Just like socialism. Plus, this enlightened “class of intellectuals” – which is to say, people very much like George – is all that will save us from racism, nationalism and even war.
Like his ideological peers in the world of art, Mr Monbiot regards money from companies, given freely, as a distilled wickedness that corrupts all it touches; while money extracted from taxpayers, forcibly, is morally hygienic and apparently without limit. All very humble and egalitarian. Not at all like the fantasy of yet another would-be socialist overlord. George, after all, is known for his immense modesty, as when he expressed his contempt for those who dare to disagree with him, all of whom were waved aside as dullard conservatives struggling with racial phobias. “The other side,” he announced, is “on average more stupid than our own.” Guardian readers - known far and wide as The Great Thinkers Of Our Era™ - were told in no uncertain terms that “conservatism thrives on low intelligence” and “appeals to stupidity.” “Conservative ideology,” said George, “is the critical pathway from low intelligence to racism.” And all of this in contrast with liberals such as himself, who are apparently “self-deprecating” and “too liberal for their own good.”