The intellectual politician - Macleans.ca

The intellectual politician

by

Bob Tarantino ties himself in knots over Michael Ignatieff.

And so arises the crux of the problem: the breaking of the covenant between intellectual and audience. When Michael Ignatieff writes as an intellectual, the compact with his readers revolves around truth – he is striving to express it, we are entitled to expect good faith in his efforts. But when Michael Ignatieff acts as a politician, well, truth assumes a somewhat lesser role in the proceedings. To what extent do his activities as a politician compromise his writings as an intellectual? Will we have lost a valued thinker only to gain just another politician? Is that really going to be a fair trade, one for which we’ll come out the better as a society?

Wasn’t Stephen Harper initially promoted to some degree as an “intellectual?” Even now, if you trust his official parliamentary profile, he’s listed as an “author, economist, lecturer.”