Final proof that the internet will be the death of intellectualism? M. Fethullah Gülen‘s triumph in a recent FP/Prospect poll for the “World’s Top Intellectual” is interesting in several respects, most of which are gone over rather sheepishly by Prospect’s editor in this article.
Nuttal, in his editorial (linked above), writes that “perhaps we can see through Gülen’s victory the emergence of a new kind of intellectual—one whose influence is expressed through a personal network, aided by the internet, rather than publications or institutions.”
A decent job shimmying away from the question, but it won’t do. The real question Gülen’s victory raises is whether intellectualism itself has any place in the modern world. If the internet is capable of propelling a man to the top of this list, what’s to say that his ideas are his at all? At least we may be certain in one respect: the internet has brought on an era in which a person matters far less than the movement which propels his message.