Professor Hoppe on the place of intellectuals in public reeducation

Professor Hoppe on the place of intellectuals in public reeducation

…Suppose you and your friends happen to be in control of such an extraordinary institution [as the state]. What would you do to maintain your position (provided you didn’t have any moral scruples)? You would certainly use some of your tax-income to hire some thugs. First: to make peace among your subjects so that they stay productive and there is something to tax in the future. But more importantly, because you might need these thugs for your own protection should the people wake up from their dogmatic slumber and challenge you.

This will not do, however, in particular if you and your friends are a small minority in comparison to the number of subjects. For a minority cannot lastingly rule a majority solely by brute force. It must rule by opinion. The majority of the population must be brought to voluntarily accept your rule. This is not to say that the majority must agree with every one of your measures. Indeed, it may well believe that many of your policies are mistaken. However, it must believe in the legitimacy of the institution of the state as such, and hence, that even if a particular policy may be wrong, such mistake is an accident that one must tolerate in view of some greater good provided by the state.

Yet how can one persuade the majority of the population to believe this? The answer is: only with the help of intellectuals.

How do you get the intellectuals to work for you? To this the answer is easy. The market demand for intellectual services is not exactly high and stable. Intellectuals would be at the mercy of the fleeting values of the masses, and the masses are uninterested in intellectual-philosophical concerns. The state, on the other hand, can accommodate the intellectuals’ typically over-inflated egos and offer them a warm, secure, and permanent berth in its apparatus.

However, it is not sufficient that you employ just some intellectuals. You must essentially employ them all, even the ones who work in areas far removed from those that you are primarily concerned with: that is philosophy, the social sciences and the humanities. For even intellectuals working in mathematics or the natural sciences, for instance, can obviously think for themselves and so become potentially dangerous. It is thus important that you secure also their loyalty to the state. Put differently: you must become a monopolist. And this is best achieved if all educational institutions, from kindergarten to universities, are brought under state control and all teaching and researching personnel is state-certified.

But what if the people do not want to become educated? For this, education must be made compulsory; and in order to subject the people to state-controlled education for as long as possible, everyone must be declared equally educable. The intellectuals know such egalitarianism to be false, of course. Yet to proclaim nonsense such as everyone is a potential Einstein if only given sufficient educational attention pleases the masses and, in turn, provides for an almost limitless demand for intellectual services…

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Dan Cristian Comănescu

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