Quotation by Clifton Fadiman

An ideologue may be defined as a mad intellectual. He is not interested in ideas, but—almost the exact contrary—in one idea. When he erects this idea into a system and forces the system to give birth to a way of life, confusion often results, usually to his great surprise. Two examples are Robespierre and Lenin. The intellectual is occasionally blamed for the work of the ideologue, which is like condemning the psychiatrist because he and the patient are both involved in the same thing, mental illness. The ideologue is often brilliant. Consequently some of us distrust brilliance when we should distrust the ideologue.... The ideologue is often more persuasive than the intellectual because he has a simpler line of goods to sell and never questions its value. Sometimes he achieves great success by attacking the real intellectual—Bryan is a good example.
Clifton Fadiman (b. 1904), U.S. essayist, critic. "Eggheads, Intellectuals, Ideologues, Highbrows," Any Number Can Play, World (1957).
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