The French admire intellectuals for their ideological principles, but the British don’t share their enthusiasm. As the poet W.H. Auden wrote: “To the man-in-the-street who, I’m sorry to say, /Is a keen observer of life/ The word intellectual suggests right away/A man who’s untrue to his wife.”
This mindset dates back to the French Revolution. Across the Channel, the British shuddered in horror when Parisian fanatics guillotined their political opponents by the thousands in the name of abstract ideas. Memories of the Puritan zealots who abolished Christmas and closed the theaters during the English civil war never faded either.