A thinker’s virtues are liabilities in politics

Michael Ignatieff’s post-electoral-defeat observation applies equally to office politics:

Why theoretical acumen is so frequently combined with political failure throws light on what is distinctive about a talent for politics. The candour, rigour, willingness to follow a thought wherever it leads, the penetrating search for originality — all these are virtues in theoretical pursuits but active liabilities in politics, where discretion and dissimulation are essential for success. This would suggest that these theorists failed because they couldn’t keep their mouths shut when flattery or partisan discipline required it of them.

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