Monday, January 17, 2011


Julien BendaThe English poet and social critic Matthew Arnold looked upon the all-consuming materialism of his contemporaries — their thoughtless dynamism of making, selling, and getting — and longed for a realm of disinterested contemplation. So, also, the French philosopher Julien Benda, writing amid the nationalist fervors of the early 20th century, denounced the “treason of the intellectuals,” of those who deployed their academic positions to advance the nationalist agenda instead of cloistering themselves in the life of disinterested thought. - JAMES MATTHEW WILSON

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