… is from page 127 of John Mueller’s superb 1999 book, Capitalism, Democracy, & Ralph’s Pretty Good Grocery:
Intellectuals who consider business to be boring, mindlessly repetitive, unsatisfying, or lacking in daring, courage, and imagination have never tried to run – much less start – one.
Intellectuals – those whom Deirdre McCloskey labels as members of “the clerisy” – excel at talking, as well as at imagining all sorts of alternative realities. They then mistake their glibness and unconstrained imaginations for brilliance and an ability to engineer society and economy into the shapes of their dreams.
Making matters worse, intellectuals hold in contempt business people who actually do produce things of value – and who do so, not with coercion, but with persuasion. Business people persuade fellow human beings to engage with them in peaceful and mutually advantageous ways. Sadly, the only businesses for which intellectuals have any sympathy are those that cannot survive without consumers or taxpayers (or both) being coerced into transferring resources to those businesses.