Intellectuals who managed to become prominent politicians

Jan 2017
60
Italy, EU
#11
For Italy i think of Mussolini whp as an important journalist, i don't know if that counts as intellectual. There's Cavour who was an intellectual before starting his political activity in Piedmont. Also Pope Pius II (1458-1464) was first a humanist scholar.

Nowadays I think it's full of professors that become leaders of governments.
 
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Kotromanic

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
4,722
Iowa USA
#13
For the record, I mean people who had careers as intellectuals before they actually became politicians--not extremely smart people who became politicians but didn't have a career as intellectuals beforehand.
Excuse me, but...

Stalin? A few semesters at the seminary is qualifying for his "academic credentials"? I didn't know you esteemed Orthodox Christian seminary work so highly, wow.
 
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Kotromanic

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
4,722
Iowa USA
#14
From more recent American political history, the only national politician that presented himself as an intellectual, is Sen. Bill Bradley. Al Gore easily beat Bradley in Democratic primaries in '00.

When CNN was still a small-time cable operation, Sen. Bradley had many interesting appearances on their talk shows. He was one of the few American politicians that was inspiring to me, despite the fact that I was generally opposed to his stance on issues. (A half lifetime later, I'm more sympathetic to the political left though.)
 
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Jul 2019
3
Ames, IA
#15
As an aside (perhaps), I would say my own definition of an "intellectual" is: "anyone who prizes ideas and discourse for its own sake".
This would include autodidacts and the self-educated, of course.
And so I do not use the terms academician and intellectual as synonyms, by any means.
As someone who recently retired from academia, I would submit that most the academicians I knew were decidedly NOT intellectuals, per se. Some may find this surprising, but I am very strong is this opinion. YRMV.
Hope this does not distract from the discussion.
 
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Nov 2014
1,594
Birmingham, UK
#16
When CNN was still a small-time cable operation, Sen. Bradley had many interesting appearances on their talk shows. He was one of the few American politicians that was inspiring to me, despite the fact that I was generally opposed to his stance on issues. (A half lifetime later, I'm more sympathetic to the political left though.)
out of interest, why/how so? that's an interesting seeming-paradox.
 
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Kotromanic

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
4,722
Iowa USA
#17
out of interest, why/how so? that's an interesting seeming-paradox.
Maybe you rely on the "maxim" that as one becomes wealthier they must become more conservative politically?


I was a twelve year old when the Soviet Union installed the puppet regime in Kabul and occupied Afghanistan. The Cold War captured my imagination even before 1979, and in the American two party system the Democrats were generally the "weak party" internationally.

Globalization and the "near total" electronic speed flows of capital were responsible for a lot of wrenching changes in my profession. The "Libertarian" approach to finance did not live up to its promise for me and millions of other professionally trained Americans born in the 1960s.
 
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Kotromanic

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
4,722
Iowa USA
#18
As an aside (perhaps), I would say my own definition of an "intellectual" is: "anyone who prizes ideas and discourse for its own sake".
This would include autodidacts and the self-educated, of course.
And so I do not use the terms academician and intellectual as synonyms, by any means.
As someone who recently retired from academia, I would submit that most the academicians I knew were decidedly NOT intellectuals, per se. Some may find this surprising, but I am very strong is this opinion. YRMV.
Hope this does not distract from the discussion.

Hello from Cedar Rapids, Sir.

Hope to read more of your contributions, and regardless of the formal training of Stalin, it would surely be a minority opinion to consider him an intellectual in the league of the other "Old Bolsheviks", maybe aside from Zinoviev or the Cheka's founder, Dzerzhinsky.
 
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Nov 2014
1,594
Birmingham, UK
#20
Maybe you rely on the "maxim" that as one becomes wealthier they must become more conservative politically?


I was a twelve year old when the Soviet Union installed the puppet regime in Kabul and occupied Afghanistan. The Cold War captured my imagination even before 1979, and in the American two party system the Democrats were generally the "weak party" internationally.

Globalization and the "near total" electronic speed flows of capital were responsible for a lot of wrenching changes in my profession. The "Libertarian" approach to finance did not live up to its promise for me and millions of other professionally trained Americans born in the 1960s.
I wasn't relying on any maxims, just curious as to why you found a figure you disagreed with to be inspirational, perhaps my question didn't make that clear.
 

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