American Intellectuals and Foreign Policy

“American Intellectuals and Foreign Policy,” Foreign Affairs, July 1967.


An intellectual may be defined as a man who speaks with general authority about a subject on which he has no particular competence. This definition sounds ironic, but is not. The authority is real enough, just as the lack of specific competence is crucial. An economist writing about economics is not acting as an intellectual, nor is a literary critic when he explicates a text, In such cases, we are witnessing professionals at work.

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