AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
Byline: Carlin Romano
Like schoolyard stickball aces who long to rub shoulders with their big-league heroes, intellectuals drawn to politics rejoice _ if not swoon _ at the thought of hanging out with honest-to-God politicians and statesmen.
The respectable part of the impulse supposedly dates back to Plato. In his 60s, and at the urging of his devoted follower, Dion, the Greek philosopher made two famous visits to the court of the tyrant Dionysius II in Siracusa, then the wealthiest city-state in the Greek world. Plato hoped to reform Dionysius' despotic ways. He failed.
The less honorable part of the impulse attaches to far more intellectuals, and they share it with ordinary political wannabes: that naked thirst for the glow of power, and even wielding a delegated slice of it oneself. Here the historical examples include Henry Kissinger.
Almost all intellectuals, however, share a habit. When the flirtation or opportunity or period of corruption is over _ they write about it. And so Benjamin R. Barber has.
In the mid-1990s, Barber, whose books include "The Conquest of Politics" (1988) and the again timely "Jihad vs. McWorld" (1995), found himself …