… is from page 181 of Edward Shils’s Spring 1976 essay in The American Scholar, an essay titled “Intellectuals and Their Discontents“:
Contemporary American intellectuals are on the whole not cynical about public things. They have great expectations. They believe that the government is a fit instrument for the achievement of the worthiest goals of human beings. They believe that its capacities are limitless. There is no injustice it cannot rectify. There is no evil it cannot undo. There is no good it cannot achieve.
DBx: Indeed. Most intellectuals – and not only in America – believe that the state, when controlled by their preferred political party, is godlike. Most intellectuals mistake their wishes for possibilities, and further mistake their fine motives as justification for the initiation of coercion (which, of course, they do not even see as coercion because it is exercised to achieve excellent ends with which no reasonable people can possibly disagree). And most intellectuals believe in miracles.