Random musings from a libertarian, tech geek...
Eric Raymond has a great essay about the renaissance in admiration for Courage our society is experiencing in light of 9/11 and the social causes that earlier "sneered" at it.
In an interesting reversal of history I'll quote several passages from him . He starts with:
One broad group he singles out for having sneered at Male physical courage are the ranks of the intellectual elite:
I'll group these 3 groups into the "Intellectual Class." I agree with all of his rationales -- Moral Certitude, Classism, and Individualism -- and offer up a 4rd reason -- the Mind/Body Dichotomy.
Much Intellectual "sneering" towards displays of physicality is predicated on a conceit that the physical world is accidental rather than essential to existence (borrowing a distinction made by Fred Brooks). Is it more important to be "right" or to get "results"? Many of these attitudes towards the "muscularity" of life are paralleled in intellectual attitudes towards capitalism as well.
There's a recurrent belief that philosophical "purity" stems from and allows for greater disengagement from the physical world. The physical world is what introduces rounding errors into the perfect schemes that intellectuals unfold.
The belief that the physical world is a fundamentally corrupting influence on the abstract, philosophical one goes at least as far back in Western Thought as Plato (citing this article):
The logical derivation of Plato's idealized style of government sounds eerily like the EU technocracy today:
(Plato, at least, seems to give more credit to the military/muscularity than the EU does today)
Unfortunately, ESR's "male physical courage" -- and the rugged individualism it engenders -- is an affront to this. A deep interaction between Mental and Physical reality is not just a pre-requisite to individual, moralistic engagement but rather an essential theme. Unlike the intellectual's physical world which is seen as a recipient of a perfectly concocted idea, this notion of the physical world is far more dialectic.
The intellectual's oneway communication, when put into force by the state, results in something akin to a square peg getting hammered into a round hole by a progressively bigger and bigger hammer. In an argument that brazenly echoes Rand's Atlas Shrugged, that hammer must be produced by the capitalist system and is wielded by the state's seemingly detached instruments of physicality -- the police force and military.
In the 20th century, the inner belief that the intellectual ideal was supreme and is rightfully thrust upon the physical world was responsible for the constant flirtation between intellectuals and totalitarian states:
The intellectual basis for all of this is a philosophy that elevates intellectual matters over mere physical ones when in actuality the reverse is often more true. In order to keep "male physical power" under the exclusive control of the state's technocrats, it must first be delegitimized in everday life, and even in the individual minds of some of the state's actors outside the inner circle.