Raymond Aron and the French Intellectuals

Author(s): Victor Brombert
Source: Yale French Studies, No. 16, Foray Through Existentialism (1955), pp. 13-23
Published by: Yale University Press
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and morerecently hisbookL'Opiumdes Intel- lectuelstendto provethispoint.VICTOR BROMBERT RaymondAron and the French Intellectuals Toynbee is bornto be unhappy. throughsuffering.1955).and thoughtheRightno longerenjoyscalling itselftheRight. Everbodyknowsfull well whomhe meanswhenhe writesthatthe intellectuals have been seducedby themythof theRevolution becausethatmythseemsto offera mystical community obsessedbythe"solitude to philosophers 13 This content downloaded from 128.theyare in the processof beingconverted to a new religion. rallyto thecause of theproletarianRevolution.Joyand generous clappingofhands fromthe traditional Righthave greetedhis perseveringeffortsat debunking.it wouldseemthatthehackneyed alternative stillfacestheFrench.leastof all Aronhimself. Needlessto say.Of course.theLeftis stillverymuchawareof beingtheLeft.and thereis muchtalk in France of a NouvelleGaucheand perhapsevensomenostalgiaforthegood old days of the FrontPopulaire.Most of his recentarticles.-Arnold An intelligentsia Karl Marx optimistically prophesiedthatat the decisivehour of of the bourgeoisworldwould the intellectuals the class struggle.In a way.an entireissueofLes TempsModerneswas devotedto the question. He wouldso muchhave likedto avoid whathe describesas the outworn betweentheRightand theLeft: he hopednot alternative to be pigeonholed.Yet. thoughsome have been a littledisturbedby Aron's scepticalconclusionsand wouldhavepreferred an evenmoreintran- sigentstand. Everybody knowshe is not certainly talkingof all intellectuals.235. Onlya fewmonths ago.Aron's personalview is thatthe intellectual belongsin theliterary ratherthan cafesof Saint-Germain-des-Pres withthedisgruntled workersof theParisianRed Belt. theyare seducedby thehistoric in whomtheyhail missionof theproletariat a new Messiah who.Aron'sfrontal attackon theFrenchintellectuals foolsno one.manyof whichhave been collectedin Polemiques (Gallimard. 22 Dec 2014 07:26:13 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .251. has assumedthe heroic role of a collectiveSaviourentrustedwiththe redemption of the Universe. notof a ThierryMaulnieror of the collaborators of La Table Ronde.160 on Mon.If we are to trust RaymondAron.this fatefulhour has come: the intellectuals of Franceconsiderthemselves destinedto guidetheworkers. Aron's positionis not an enviableone.

' How is one to accountforthestrangeattitude of theseintellec- tuals?How is it thatthesesupposedly clear-thinking. some of his articlesare outspokenly aimedagainstSartreand his group. But whyhas the hypnosisbeen so effective? Again.160 on Mon.Justas theesthetedenouncesthephilistine.that duringthe later 1940s and into the 1950s Sartre.revolution appearsto themexcit- ing and poetic.251.-But we cannot trace here Sartre'spolitical evolution. so the Marxistthinker denounces thebourgeois.well-meaning writersand journalists are so unsparing in theircriticismof the slightest shortcomings of thedemocracies.PhilosophicalLibrary.in theirquestforcerebralstimula- tionin politics.theydisplaya particular fondness forthe termas wellas fortheconceptbecause. 14 This content downloaded from 128. As for theintellectuals."recentlypublishedin trans- lation (Literaryand PhilosophicalEssays.the mythof theRevolution.The Com- munists veryshrewdly learnedearlyin thegamethe art of posing as therightfulheirsto eighteenth-centuryRationalistthought.Add to thisa certain nostalgiaforoutwornChristian dreams.scruples. Of course. Yale French Studies des consciences. the mythof the Proletariat-three mythsthathave mergedinto one Big Mythendowedwithhypnotic power.The fecundity of upheavalsis an idea withwhichmanya Romanticand post-Romantic mindhas toyed- and it is not surprising thatthe mythof the Revolutionshould serveas a refuge forutopianthought and playthepartof a mysteri- ous intercessorbetweentherealand theideal." forit givesthemtheillusionof perpetuating theirpast grandeur.according to Aron. or decide to what degree.is themythof theLeft." and his essay on "Materialismand Revolution. and withwhat particularqualifications.so rich in nuances. Artistand intellectual thus feelat one in theirfightagainsta commonenemy. 22 Dec 2014 07:26:13 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .Aron has readyanswers.and it becomesclear why theProletariat shouldhave replacedtheMessiahand givenriseto refreshed hopes.235. Ideologicalconfusionhas beentheresult. was a positive bugbearto them.far frombeingthe darlingof the Communists. theprestigeof theLefthas beenso greatin Francethatevenitsfoeshaveadopted itsvocabulary. however. The answer.Moral non-con- formism becomesa literary theme. They knewthattheFrenchin generallove theword"revolution.thereis also a scientific millenaristic It is only fair to recall.ambiguitiesand frustrations.L'Hurnanitedenouncedhis DirtyHands as "a dirtyplay. the term"fellowtraveler"may be applied to him today.and the notionof revoltone of thecommonplaces of art."In fact.theyare chronically attractedto extremes:reform seemsto themboringand prosaic.Ever sincetheRevolutionof 1789.1955). and so obstinatelyindul- genttowardrealcrimesso longas theyare perpetrated forthesake of an orthodoxdoctrine? These are the specificquestionsthatlie at the originof L'Opium des Intellectuels. can still awaken the enthusiasmof so stout an anti-Communist as William Barrett.

They developeda philosophyof the lesserevil.More- over.160 on Mon. Afraid to take sideswithinjusticeand withthe privileged classes. But mostimportant perhaps (accordingto Aron) are someprivatepreoccupations: theintellec- tualshavefinancial (in Russiathereare Stateeditionsof difficulties writers'works).theycannotstandindifference.of the Soviet experiment. Romain Rolland. The Ligue des Droits de l'Homme seemedan unsatisfactory answer.manyintellectuals-andnot onlythe rank and fileof Les Temps Modernes and Esprit-have been attractedto the views oftheLeft.has drawnthe pathetic caricatureofyoungmenofhumbleorigins pushedby theirambitious parentsintotheteaching professionwheretheywouldfindmediocre and unstablepositions. theintellectuals becameincreasingly ashamedof theirapathy.theyare proud andcannotbearto see France'sculture contaminatedwithAmerican ideals. The symptoms areserious:distor- tionofmindand abdication to totalitarian modesofthinking. in spite of his cryin tyrannos! becameconverted to Bolshevism and wrote 15 This content downloaded from 128.theywouldliketo playa politicalrole. Thissocialandpolitical consciousness was further intensified by ideologicalstruggles and was brought to a climaxby crisessuchas theDreyfuscase which.compelledto fightforits bread. In 1860.235. 22 Dec 2014 07:26:13 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .hopeformaterialadvantageand a hidden. Unquestion- ably.251.Flatteredby the Communists. fromwhatNizan has called social original suffering sin.thisnew bohemelived.Eversincethemiddleof the nineteenth century. thoughactive.and finally led to syndicalist organizations such as theCon- federationGenerale des TravailleursIntellectuelsand the Com- pagnonsde l'Intelligence(foundedin 1921).and eventheextreme Left.a senseoffrustration. doseofmasoch- a little ism.of theirinefficiency in the fieldof political action.VICTOR BROMBERT questfora scientific accountofhistory.Jules Valles. struggled and hated like a trueproletariat. in the wordsof Thibaudet.ambition forpower.afraid above all to provetoo moderatein theirthinking. theywillinglyclosed theireyes to criminalmethods.if not by the results. impressedby the promises.Francehas witnessed a steadyproletarizationof itsintelligentsia.in spiteof his polemicswithHenriBarbusse(1921-1922). A trueintellectual proletariatthuscameinto being. PerhapsAron's analysisappearssomewhatover-simplified.Naiveutopianism. andcon- sequentlywelcometheprospect of beingpersecuted.was a real intellectualtempest.butfeelthat theyarepreachingina desert.thebrothers Goncourtalreadynotedwith some bitterness thatthe new generation of artistsand journalists no longerbelongedto thewell-to-do bourgeoisie(as did thegenera- tionof 1830) but that.aristocratic chauvinism-these are theravaging causes ofthemaladythatArondiagnoses.thediseasehe diagnosesis notreallya newone. in his trilogyJacques Vingtras.

Knopf.in variouscountries.Without her.1953."In thecountry of Diderot. Thephenom- enon was not limitedto any singlecountry.2theirreadinessto swallow the "Murti-Bing" pills importedfromthe East and scientifically preparedto soothethe anguish ofdecadent andtormented souls.Russia represented the greatest. 16 This content downloaded from 128. broad-shouldered workerof the Putilovfactories.251. StephenSpender attempted to curethemselves of theirsenseof socialguiltby deny- ingtheveryvaluestheyhelddear. gave up wearingties.theintellectual secretlyfeels or fearsthathe has no longeranything to contribute to art or thought. indigestiblepages of Les TempsModernes.the most powerful.VictorHugo and Jauresit is assumedthatcultureand politicsgo handin hand. the most fecundhope for modern Europe. he smells the odor of death. -Mort de la pense'ebourgeoise.deny theirfamily tiesandsetoutto forgeforthemselves a freshvirginity.and weretempted to submitto a partydisciplinewhichwouldgivethemreliefandsatisfy theirneed to bear witnessby providing an intellectualmartyrdom.in bourgeoissociety.Barelytolerated in theParty. The God thatFailed.The diseaseArondiagnoses was alreadydiagnosed.Paris.In a recentbook.byEmmanuelBerl: theintellectual is attracted to Communism because.Andre Gide.theyattempted in vain to imitatethe archetypal. Yet theydid not succeedinresembling theidealcomradeIvanIvanovich. Koestler describesthiscultof the "prolo.in Beauvoir'spost-war world. thatnot with- standingits errorsand even its crimes.that'sfin- 2 The CaptiveMind. CzeslawMiloszhas describedthe Polishintellectuals' nostalgiafor the masses."thisobsessionof all the Com- munistintellectuals. Manyadmirers ofSartrehavebeendisturbed bythenebulousness of his social metaphysics and appalledby the increasing boredom whichemanatesfromthe thicklycluttered. suffer fromthe stench.235. like Hugo- Raskolnikov in Sartre'sMains sales.made suretheirnailswere dirtyand did theirbestto castratetheirthinking. thattheimperialist coalitionwas trying to crushit. menlike ArthurKoestler.Grasset.a collectionof essaysby re-converted and redeemedconverts. Ignazio Silone. RichardWright.Athensno longerexists. Yale French Studies to the anarchistLibertairein 1927 thatRussia was in danger. Evensomecharacters in Simonede Beauvoir's Les Mandarinsprotestagainstthis apparentestheticabdication: Lambertobservesbitingly that Dubreuilh'sVigilance(read: Les TempsModernes)has givenup printing novelsand shortstories in orderto stuffits issueswithsocial documents and reportages.160 on Mon. Perhaps. in 1929.For a longtime Paris took itselffor Athens. New York.1929.3The verysons of the bourgeoisie.no liberty was thinkable! Hand in handwith thisnewfaithwenta tasteformartyrdom. 22 Dec 2014 07:26:13 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . amply demonstrates how.

And fora while it mightseemthatScriassinewas rightin statingthatthe French intellectualshad reacheda blind alley: Dubreuilhsees thatthe 17 This content downloaded from 128.160 on Mon.235. thatthe onlyhope lies in the social Revolution.he denies himselftheprivilege of divulgingdocuments thatrevealthe "con- centrationist"methodsof the Sovietregime. thetortured and dead comrades.He confessesto his wife:"My dutiesas an intellectual.therespectfortruth-theseare The onlythingthatcountsis to knowwhether all trifles.S.R. I do claimthatone has to deservetherightto criticize." Readers of Les TempsModernesmay remember Sartre'sironicanswerto Camusduringthepolemicaland insulting exchangeof open letters in the summerof 1952. bydenounc- ing the camps.251.thus. urbanworkers.Holdinghimself and his generation guilty. onecan at leastkeepone's mouthshut." This statement illumines theentirepolitical significantly positionofintellectuals such as Dubreuilh:theywantto assumethe role of an opposition.like Raymond Aron. a minority outsideof butalliedto theCommunist Party.The entirenoveldescribesthemoralplightof leftist writersafterthewarand theLiberation:theirearlyoptimistic dream ofpursuing theworkof theResistancemovement and ofperpetuat- ingtheunitedfront.Dubreuilhknowsthatprivatemorality and social morality are no longercompatible. as Dubreuilhsoon discovers. .The position is an untenableone.the atombombon Hiroshima-allthesesomehowconvinceDubreuilh (and to some extentPerron) thatthe morality of the individual can no longerbe efficacious.theirfaithin Russiaas theincarnation of the socialistexperiment. . thattheonlyonescapableand worthy ofpreparing and fightingforthisRevolutionare the industrial. lifein theResistancemovement. points to the disease and denouncesthe heresy. Ergo ."I do not claimthatthe Partyis beyondcriticism. theirresentment and despairat findingthem- selves caughtbetweenthe "imperialistic" UnitedStates and the Russiaoftheconcentration camps. that theonlyorganization qualified to speakforand lead thisproletariat is the CommunistParty. the"dirt"duringtheGerman occupation.S.one worksfor or againstmen.if onefindsithardto agreewitheverything.. . The moralbackground of thenovelis a somberone: thefailure of theFrontPopulairein thethirties." Scriassine.havingto choosebetweentelling the truthor appearingas theenemyof theCommunists.France'sfall to the statusof a third-rate power.theirincreasing awarenessofdictatorial methods withintheU. if one cannot help actively. he prefersto remainsilent.VICTOR BROMBERT ished . . 22 Dec 2014 07:26:13 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Many of the arguments of thisthree-year old quarrelhave been transposed by Simonede Beauvoirin her novel.He prophesiesthatDubreuilh(read: Sartre)will abandonliterature. He is the articulateand horrified witnessof Dubreilh'scriminal silencewithregardto Sovietconcen- trationcamps.

he does notcapitulate.some of the premisesare morecomplexthanAron makesthemout to be. taken separately. white-collar prole- tarians. The moraldefinition failsto pointto the degreeof social responsibility involved.it comprises theartists. offers some definitions: in thebroadsenseof theword. Aronseemsto believethattheintellectuals are thosewho translate opinionsintotheories.thattheintellectual no longerhas any part to play.Yet he organizes anotherweeklypaper and goes to his inevitable doom.Only.whatis an "intellectual"? Aron.The philosophico-historical definition 18 This content downloaded from 128.thedefinition involves a problemof objectives(obviouslya professorof Law is more of an intellectual thana lawyer). Stillconvincedthatthereis no longerany salvation fortheindividual.In a narrowsense. is fullysatisfactory.thatnot one of thesedefinitions.butwantto thinktheirexistence. A professional definition does nottakeintoaccountthe senseofvocation.nor anything to say.it is limitedto the liberalprofessions (lawyers. It wouldseem. whoare notsatisfied withliving. butit is not merely thischronological coincidencethatsuggestsa juxtaposition of the twoworks.The problemis not quite as simpleas he seems to imply."Politically" speaking.however.235.Like a truetragichero. his generalizations are pertinent. RaymondAron'sbook and Simonede Beauvoir'snovelappeared duringthesame literary season (1954-1955). theconcernforvalues.160 on Mon.thestriving forobjectives: it neglects theethicalaspectof thequestion.Froma moralpointofview.251.Anyattempt at a social definition tendsto be arbitrary and evensectarian:it throws together withoutdistinction professionals. his pointof viewis thatof commonsense.teachers).A psychological definitionwould soon degenerate into caricature. If one is to applya social criterion.bureaucrats.fromtheeconomicpointof view.one feelsstrongly temptedto agree. hisis a lucidandpainfulawareness ofthehopelessness ofhisposition and thefutility ofhisaction.and reducesall thesecategoriesto a non-existent common denominator.andwithdifferent means.thecategory includesall the non-manual workers.fighting.thescientistsand thepopularizers of knowledge. Yale French Studies minority does nothavea chance. To beginwith.On different levels.one arrivesat still another definition.he knowshe is doomed.that literature has lostitsrights.The notionof a cultural6liteis muchtoo broada conceptwhenappliedto advancedcountries such as France.thatone can onlywritemeaningless or harmful books.In a stillnarrower sense.But in spiteof thistemporary defeatism.Aron'sfearsare verylegitimate. Dubreuilhonce morethrowsall his energiesinto thepoliticalbattle.doctors. it raisesthequestionof whether a "dilettante"shouldbe included.veryrapidly. thathe is powerless.theydiscuss verysimilarproblems-onlyBeauvoir'snovelis a usefulcorrective to Aron'sstudy. 22 Dec 2014 07:26:13 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .

OxfordUniversityPress." towardwhichhe feelsunequivocally responsible. now humiliated.gratuitous pursuitof truth." is 4A Studyof History.simultaneously.235. thepursuitof a humanitarian ideal. thetrans- missionor preachingof moralvalues. The son of VincentBergerdiscovers. The man- darin. can becometheguidingprinciple of life.thatan intellectual is notjust a personto whombooksare necessary.VICTOR BROMBERT (such as theone providedby ArnoldToynbee)provesto be alto- gether tooabsoluteand too detachedfromthepoliticalcontingencies of a givenperiod. the sensation.observes.a feelingof "not belonging" and of impotence. the unselfish.butanymanto whoman idea.Asceticin his cultof work.nevertheless resemble each other.sometimes even of anarchy. One hesitatesto undertake thismoralportrait."ofcourse.In spiteof failuresand humilia- tions.thehero of Malraux' Les Noyers de l'Altenbourg.251.the utilization of cultureas an instrument for criticizing tradition.now proud.accordingto Simonede Beauvoir.thatthesefacesso diversely and profoundly characteristicof the different nationsto whichtheybelong. during the symposium whichbringstogether philosophers fromvariouscoun- tries."But a "race.Nothingcould be morecharacteristic thanthescruplesof one Sartreanhero(Mathieu in Les Cheminsde la Liberte) whoblamesand eveninsultshimself fornotsuffering enoughforthefar-away. elementary thoughit may be. 22 Dec 2014 07:26:13 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and yet. jealousyof men of action.the cult of revolt.Perhapsevena certain brandof asceticism is the appanageof the intellectual.160 on Mon. 1939.the and particularly intellectual. but."My fatherdiscoveredto whatextentthe intellectuals constitutea race. faithin theefficiency of ideas as an organizationalforce in the tangibleworld.he obstinatelyreturns to his self-assignedtasks. anonymous victims ofthe Valenciabombing. of existing outsidethe social framework.nostalgia forthemassescoupledwiththecomplexesof a "filsde bourgeois" ashamedofbelonging to theprivileged classes-theseconstitute only some of the morepermanent traitsof thatstrangecreature."One cannotsuffer forwhatone wantsto.IV-VI. on thewhole.to the tuneof the 1940 defeat.the nearly obsessivefearof finding himselfon the side of injustice.is a kindof puritan:the veryidea of luxuryaffrights him. Sensibilitymodeled on thought. 19 This content downloaded from 128. of theFrenchsubspecies.whichis to be recognized through moralratherthanphysicaltraits.an obvioussympathy forthelaboringsegments of the countryand a consequentattraction to leftistpoliticalparties.4As forthepoliticaldefinition. it raisesa delicate question:do nottheintellectuals affirmtheirpoliticalstandbyreac- tionratherthanthrough adhesionto any givenpoliticalparty? Is therethenno commondenominator? VincentBerger.he provesto be equallyasceticin his relationswith fellowmen: not so muchwithconcretemen as with"humanity.

" He scornfully refersto thisacutesenseof social responsibilityas a sortof playing-at-God (He beingin exile) over everylittleaccidentor incident. JamesAgee mockingly describesthesepoor peoplewho have been badgeredhalfout of theirmindsby "the dailyobligationto stay aware of.In a symposium organizedby PartisanReviewon thesubjectof"ReligionandtheIntellectuals" (February-May 1950). hep to. asks him- self: "Whatdoes it mean.foritdoesnotenterintotheschemeofhispolemics. perhapsguilty.whatis an intellectual?" But the veryquestionimpliesthe answer:the intellectual is precisely the one who has decidedto speak.The mystical marriage withtheextreme of theintellectual Leftreallyrestson a 20 This content downloaded from 128. Dubreuilh.160 on Mon.who remainsto give an accountof humandestiny? Hand in hand withsincerescruplesand authentic humility goes an immensepride. The intellectual rediscovers the antiquemythof the redemption of the Universe through suffering.But it is a bitterremarkprecisely becausehis "role"as an intellectual seemsto incitehimto givean accountof man'stragedy. Maybe it is thisverypride-the prideof suffering and the pride of persecution-that explains. Since God is in exile. But one thingbothAgee and Aronseemto forget:to speakup forothersevidently also implies to suffer for and withothers-to suffer.the modemintellectuals' hybris. 22 Dec 2014 07:26:13 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .he too considersit somewhat pompousandillusory to worryat a greatdistanceaboutthepeasants of India who do not eat enough.ThoughRaymondAroncan hardlybe said to speakforthe Christian faithin thewisdomand mercyof God (and in theultimate reignof justice). the sufferings of people at a greatdistanceforwhomone can do nothing whatever. betweenthe intellectual Thereis anotheraspectof therelationship and theextremeLeftwhichArondoes notconsider-andrightfully so. withthe senseof virtueincreasing in ratioto thedistance.in Les Mandarins.the worker-priests affectedby the Papal decisionor the ex-Communists pursuedbyMcCarthy.251.Primarily a witness.guiltytowards.235.the intellectual also wishesto be a martyr. in the nameof humanity.activeabout. also considers theintellectual himself involved.the mistreated Negroesof South Africa.particularly whenthe suffering is distantand the victim Muchfunhas beenmadeofthissenseof"global" inaccessible. and sometimes even to expiate. Primarilya witness.the factthatman neverceases talking about himself?and whyis it thatsome men decide to speak in thenameof others:in otherwords.the undeniable attractionof themillenaristicdream-theories ofMarxism and the immanent sacrednessof the proletariat.betterthananyothersinglefact. responsibility.and speakup. Yale French Studies the bitterremarkof Mathieu. worked-upover.

Far fromacceptingthem. theyaskedforthe exclusionof all intellectuals. referto themas cowardlymenialsof the counter-Revolu- tion. refused all hislifeto be consideredan intellectual.They are contrasted to the manualworkersand accusedof plotting to use theignorant proletariat as an instrument for selfishgains.Accordingto him.VICTOR BROMBERT basic and mutualmisunderstanding. one of the raresocialistwriters to have comefromthe lowerclasses (thoughMarx calledhima petit-bourgeois socialist). Bakuninrepeatedlyaffirms the impossibility of converting to socialismthe arrogant and cast-conscious "aristocrats of the intellect. Paul Lafargue goes even further. possess neithera sense of bluntlystates that the intellectuals nor civic courage. the bitternesstowardthe intellectual remains a constantfact. as phonographs to propagatethe wishesandthedecisionsoftheproletarian movement.The workerswerethe "Aryans"of the Party. ambitious and privileged schemers. in 1907. HubertLagardelle.235.Nevertheless.usingpoliticsforselfish aims and devoidof a practicaleducation.withbourgeoissympathies and con- temptfortheworkers. aftersome GeorgesYvetot resoundingarticlesin the Bataille Syndicaliste.as self-satisfied narcissienamouredof the dung-heapsthat surround them?The violenceofthetonecorresponds to theblackest phaseof thereactionaftertheruthless crushingof the 1905 insur- rection. Did notLenin.the revolutionary Left tendsto considerthemas enemiesor as subversives. (Confederation Generaledu Travail) underpretext thattheybelongto secondary 21 This content downloaded from 128.251. refersto the intelli- gentsiaas a "floating" group.T. in searchof power.In 1912. If one examinesthatmarriage moreclosely. This attitudeis not a new one.160 on Mon. No lesssignificant was theattitude oftheFrenchdelegatesto theFirstCongressof the WorkersInternational in Geneva (1866): pointingto the danger oftheorganization beinginvadedand underminded byunscrupulous."Karl Kautskyadvisesthe Partyto protectitself againstthesesuccess-hunters." ArthurKoestlerdescribes withgreat vividness theatmosphere of suspicionthatreignedin thepartycells and thementaltortures undergone by himand his fellowintellec- tuals:barelytolerated. theirpositionwas somewhat akinto thatof the "usefulJews"duringtheHitlerregimewho werepermitted to surviveand worespecialarmbandsto preventtheirbeingsentto a gas chamberby mistake. It is verycharacteristic that Proudhon.they can onlybe used as spokesmen.G.one soon discoversthatthe proletarian and revolu- tionary elements of theLeftneverceased expressing theircontempt and distrust of the"egg-head. and in Le Socialisme et les Intellectuels(1900). 22 Dec 2014 07:26:13 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .in a speechdeliv- eredto a groupof socialiststudents in 1900. decidedto excludetheintellectuals fromtheC.that theyare merelyfitto be the solidarity clownishentertainersof a payingclientele.

theysuffer fromthe contempt in whichtheyare held.fortheRight as well as the Left. ella giammai m'am6!"thatawarenessof the gulfthatseparatesthemfromthe proletariatechoesin theirmindsand contributes verylargely to what Aroncalls the estrangement of the intellectuals. theirattitude is evenmoreviolent.160 on Mon. But the sharpcriticism leveled at the intellectuals by socialistsand Communists alike. Les Mefaitsde l'Intellectuel but significant (1914): comparing theintellectuals andpedanticschool- to ignorant masters.rationalist thoughthas been forthe bourgeoisworldan instrument of liberation. To be sure. .To be sure. remembering thelow esteemin whichhe is held byartistandphilosopher sincethenineteenth century. In the wordsof Sartre'shero Mathieu. ." Is Brunetnot there to remindhim that he is only a watchdogof the bourgeoisie? But strangely enough.The bour- geoisiedisplaystowardthe intellectual an ambivalent attitude:the veryintellectuals whomostardently combatMarxismare considered withsuspicion. changedthe tuneconsiderably.Like King Philip'shaunting wordsin Verdi'sDon Carlo ".thedangerof fascism. gaveventto thisviolence in a long-forgotten book.There exist.religious.even Brunet.but this veryrationalist thought is also a double-edged weapon." saystheCommunist Gaigneuxto hispartycomrade.the Communist.114)." "You are not one ofus.251. considers them as non-conformist. shows thatthe bourgeoisie also distruststhe intellectual. arrogant. too severeand too indulgent.bourgeois theorizers.theyfeel "innocent and guilty. deniesthe and nationalistic military age-oldheroic.thosewhomtheMarxistsdisparagingly call the peddlersof illusion. rankledin theirconscience.The "solid" citizen (Sartre'ssalaud). Tryas I may.Consideredfaithless. The word"intellectual" easilyassumes.we willneverhavethesamememories. ready forcompromise. prodigalsons. the youngprofessor Jourdan(in Marcel Ayme'sUranus).an ardentroyalist andsympathizer withtheActionFranqaise. values.As for the more outspokenly reactionary elements. 22 This content downloaded from 128. 22 Dec 2014 07:26:13 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . boundup witheveryone and rejectedby all. Yale French Studies professions."Separated forever. powerless and responsible.foreveron the vergeof denying theirorigins. issues112-113.he seesin theman anti-heroiccastethatattempts to impose on the modernworldnauseatinghumanitarian ideals.in an articleon contemporary rightist thought (Les TempsModernes. Simonede Beauvoir.EdouardBerth. Estrangement fromall quarters:theattitude oftheRightis hardly morefavorable.235. a pejorativemeaning." he mutters to himself.Bourgeois. and in particular theSpanish civilwar. displayno groupinterest.and strives to replacetheseby a morality of cowardice.of course. and havenotsuffered enough. feelsuneasy: "Intellectual.

that revolutionariessuchas Sartrehave neveryetdisturbed thesleepof anybanker. in an articlefortheFigarolitteraire (September 27th. And it is perhapsthe causes of this unhappiness thatRaymond Aronhas failedto analyzein his book. be as justified in hisalarmas he is in hisironicstatements aboutthe incorrigiblenaiveteof thosewho willalwaysbe thefirstto fillthe concentration camps. Butthathybris is onlyone aspectofthemodemPrometheus.Perhaps. 22 Dec 2014 07:26:13 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .160 on Mon.afterall.Severetowardhimself. yetnecessary.The ironymaybe prophetic. and throughthis choice only provokesfurther tensionbetweenextremes. a kindof Promethean hybrischaracterizesthe modemintellectual.he suffers frombeingmisunderstood and frompro- vokinghostility.he.to defineand situate himself.1952)." writesArnoldToynbee. Caughtup in a dramaof ideas.Politically he mayerr-and Aronmay speaking.he nevertheless feelsisolatedand lonely. thisis not a politicalproblem? 23 This content downloaded from 128.Like Vigny'sMoses.251. In a worldin whicheverything is beingcategorized and defined.235.He choosesto take sides. But is thealarm reallyjustified? Thatis anotherquestion. he findsit difficult.make him an easy preyto imaginary scruplesand arbitrary solutions." Unquestionably.VICTOR BROMBERT "An intelligentsia is bornto be unhappy.his quest for absolutes. he is awarethathis tragedy is notexclusively a personalone. and hisfollowers. His idealism. The social metaphysics of Sartremaybe nebulous.Aronhimself has written. maybe too quickto denouncerelativeills and too readyto ignoreconcreteproblems through a "proudwillto thinkforall of mankind. For he is also sincereand profoundly humble.