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Philippon, Isabelle

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Le Vif / L'Express - Belgium | 27/03/2006

Those very discreet intellectuals

The weekly publishes an investigative report on the place of modern thinkers in society. "In their dreams, intellectuals disturb, rattle the established order, influence those in power. In reality, they bother nobody: the political world is not afraid of them, and the citizens barely listen to them. Belgium, humble and pragmatic, has hardly any inclination, by definition, for controversy and grand debates about ideas. When it comes to defending good causes, we prefer Bono, the singer from the rock group U2, to intellectuals. And Belgian politics? The obsessive discussions about communities elicit more of a weary shrug than passion among 'ordinary' people and 'our' intellectuals alike. But the latter are playing an active part in their own extinction. Save for a handful among them, they often lack courage, ambition and imagination."

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