Richard Pipes RIP

He wasn’t anywhere near as well known in this country as Orlando Figes, but he should have been. I suppose you could describe him as an intellectual who was wary of a certain kind of intellectual. As he puts it in “The Russian Revolution”:

Although the intelligentsia likes to see itself as selflessly dedicated to the public good, and hence a moral force rather than a social group, the fact of its members sharing common values and goals inevitably means that they also share common interests – interests which may well clash with their professed ideals. The intelligentsia has difficulty admitting this. Its profound aversion for sociological self-analysis – in such contrast to its penchant for analyzing all other social groups and classes, especially its main obstacle to power, the “bourgeoisie” – has resulted in a striking paucity of works on the subject. The sparse literature on the intelligentsia as a social and historic phenomenon is entirely disproportionate to that group’s importance.

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