The Intellectual and Politics

PRAGUE: Does an intellectual - by virtue of his efforts to get below the surface of things, to grasp relations, causes and effects, to recognize individual items as part of larger entities, and thus derive a deeper awareness and responsibility for the world - belong in politics?

Put that way, an impression is created that I consider it the duty of every intellectual to engage in politics. But that is nonsense. Politics also involves a number of special requirements relevant to it only. Some people meet these requirements; others don't, regardless of whether or not they are intellectuals.

It is my profound conviction that the world requires – today more than ever– enlightened, thoughtful politicians who are bold and broad-minded enough to consider things which lie beyond the scope of their immediate influence in both space and time. We need politicians willing and able to rise above their own power interests, or the particular interests of their parties or states, and act in accord with the fundamental interests of today's humanity -- that is, to behave the way everyone should behave, even though most may fail to do so.

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