by user 188.8.131.52
Conservative politicians and commentators often critise the opinions of the so called 'intelligensia'. They use this term to define a left-leaning group of academics, journalists and other professionals who are outspoken critics of conservative policies such as the Iraq war and are wary of what they see as the increased influence of the Christian Right in countries such as America and Australia.
By definition, the intelligensia are highly educated. They generally regard their opinions as the natural result of focused and reasonable thought. The intelligensia often see themselves as the champions of considered and rational beliefs in a world increasing run by emotion, bigotry and religious prejudice.
Despite such a lofty self-image, the values of the so called intelligensia do not enjoy a popularity that such 'self-evident' beliefs would suggest. The mid-term elections in the United States delivered a significant (albeit belated) victory to the group however in many countries such as Australia, this so called 'rational position' is proving difficult to sell to the public. The question is why?
The problem with this left group comes from foundations in rationality. As they regard their opinions as the product of reason, it follows that anyone who similarly conducted a reasonable analysis of the facts would (or should) come to the same conclusion. Whether such a premise is, in fact, true or not is not under debate, however what is important is that holding such a belief often leads to contempt and dismissal of others opinions. If you believe you have reasonably formed an opinion, any contradictory opinion must be, by defintion, unreasonable. This explains the breathless disbelief which many of this group have when confronted with a differring opinion on something as 'self-evident' as, for example, the justification for the Iraq war.
The fact is, despite what some may say there are millions of highly intelligent individuals who strongly support conservative policies, who, for example, support and continue to support the Iraq war, who oppose gay marriage and euthanasia, who agree with the progression of free market policies globally. In order to change peoples opinions and gather support for their cause the left must seek to understand these peoples beliefs. The first step towards this understanding is respect. Dismissing opposing views as the unconsidered ramblings of the irrational, the self-interested and the indoctrinated is a major force restricting the acceptance of left values in the wider community.