Building on concepts from Joseph Schumpeter, Iain Murray has a great observation on the mobius loop that exists between the marble halls of academia and Washington:
As intellectuals became politically committed, so politicians portray themselves as intellectuals and convey their ideas by stealing the lightning of the academy. Al Gore, the world’s greatest scientist, is the foremost example. The working man cannot hope to understand the science; the scientist cannot convey it to the working man; step forward the intellectual politician, who emerges as arbiter of both science and public opinion.
Yet the dangers are obvious. As Schumpeter foresaw, the intellectuals and in particular the intellectual politician, who has far more power than the mere intellectual, are attacking the capitalist system that created them.
Update: In a rare moment of synchronicity between neoclassical economics and tasteful conservative fashion, Manolo For The Men weighs in on the substance of Schumpeter’s sybaritic style.