Intellectuals become leftists because their academic credentials — rewarded at school and at university — are under-valued and under-paid in the market economy; so, they turned against capitalism.
Intellectuals disproportionately support socialism, despite enjoying a more financially comfortable life in a capitalist society, than they would in either a socialist or a communist society.
Intellectual is therefore always an outsider, and on the margins of society. He or she speaks necessarily in public, and is properly on the side of the under-represented and the forgotten.
Maybe some highly educated person call themselves as intellectual, because of cultural misfit among common people and lack of acceptance by the system, according into their own “intellectual” standard.
So, if you’re being cynical and critical toward the system of society, while you’re not being able to have a likeminded circle friendship, then you can call yourself as intellectual, with pride.