Funny enough, when I mentioned to my husband I had read a Medium post about “the smart guy on Friends,” he said, “Oh, you mean Chandler?”
I have to agree, Chandler does strike me as smarter than Ross, if not as “intellectual.” So, the definitions of these terms are interesting.
It’s not entirely fair to say that intellectuals by definition deal in abstractions rather than reality. Paleontologists like Ross are studying very real science and history. Many intellectuals are driven in their work by care and concern for real people and a desire to tangibly improve society.
Yes, those who operate solely in abstractions can cause more harm than good. But it is also fair to say that those invested in what Hofstatder calls “the life of the mind” have also done a lot of good for the country. The important point, which you raise, is that intellectual pursuits, particularly if they are to influence outcomes, should be grounded in reality. I agree with that 100%.
My hope would be that we, as a society, would not reject intellectualism outright, but rather aim to improve it.
On the whole, though, your point is well taken. I do like to read things that challenge my worldview, so thank you for recommending Sowell’s book. I will check it out.