Ideas Have Consequences, a book by Richard Weaver, has animated countless conservative intellectuals and professionals for over half a century. What a pity, then, that the book’s title expresses but a half-truth at best. Still worse: the missing half is by far the more important one. Conservatives of all stripes need to take a sober-minded look at this bromide.
The true half of the half-truth is this. Getting the ideas right is important. Having concepts and ideas that are empirically accurate, historically truthful, and philosophically sound—all of this is important. Motivated by this fact, countless idealistic young people have dedicated themselves to intellectual pursuits. They hope to contribute to The Cause by getting the ideas right. Clarifying, correcting, and advancing the ideas will, they imagine, have consequences.
This was certainly my experience as a young academic. Back then, I identified as a free-market libertarian economist. I imagined that I would contribute to advancing the Big Ideas of liberty. I was involved in, and mentored by, several think tanks that help young academics succeed in their careers. I attended many meetings and seminars and colloquia. I can honestly and sadly report to you: never once did I hear anyone say, “You know, we really need to start attending the Faculty Senate meetings. We should at least keep track of what our intellectual opponents are doing in our institution.” …
Read more here: https://americanmind.org/post/ideas-dont-have-consequences/