Intellectuals and Society

By Thomas Sowell
Read by Tom Weiner

11.38 Hours 01/01/2006 unabridged
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This title offers a withering and clear-eyed critique about—but not for—intellectuals that explores their impact on public opinion, policy, and society at large. The thesis of Intellectuals and Society states that the influence of intellectuals is not only greater than in previous eras but also takes a very different form from that envisioned by those like Machiavelli and others who have wanted to directly influence rulers. It has not been by shaping the opinions or directing the actions of the holders of power that modern intellectuals have most influenced the course of events but by shaping public opinion in ways that affect the actions of power holders in democratic societies, whether or not those power holders accept the general vision or the particular policies favored by intellectuals. Even government leaders with disdain or contempt for intellectuals have had to bend to the climate of opinion shaped by them. Intellectuals and Society not only examines the track record of intellectuals in the things they have advocated, but also analyzes the incentives and constraints under which their views and visions have emerged. One of the most surprising aspects of this study is how often intellectuals have been proven not only wrong, but grossly and disastrously wrong in their prescriptions for the ills of society—and how little their views have changed in response to empirical evidence of the disasters entailed by those views.

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Summary

Summary

This title offers a withering and clear-eyed critique about—but not for—intellectuals that explores their impact on public opinion, policy, and society at large.

The thesis of Intellectuals and Society states that the influence of intellectuals is not only greater than in previous eras but also takes a very different form from that envisioned by those like Machiavelli and others who have wanted to directly influence rulers. It has not been by shaping the opinions or directing the actions of the holders of power that modern intellectuals have most influenced the course of events but by shaping public opinion in ways that affect the actions of power holders in democratic societies, whether or not those power holders accept the general vision or the particular policies favored by intellectuals. Even government leaders with disdain or contempt for intellectuals have had to bend to the climate of opinion shaped by them.

Intellectuals and Society not only examines the track record of intellectuals in the things they have advocated, but also analyzes the incentives and constraints under which their views and visions have emerged. One of the most surprising aspects of this study is how often intellectuals have been proven not only wrong, but grossly and disastrously wrong in their prescriptions for the ills of society—and how little their views have changed in response to empirical evidence of the disasters entailed by those views.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Mr. Sowell builds a devastating case against the leftist antiwar political and intellectual establishment.” Washington Times
“Sowell takes aim at the class of people who influence our public debate, institutions, and policy. Few of Sowell’s targets are left standing at the end, and those who are stagger back to their corner, bloody and bruised.” National Review Online
“Narrator Tom Weiner paces the somewhat dense material well and handles the author’s often-inflated vocabulary with ease. Thus, Weiner is able to enhance the material in a way that might trip up lesser readers. While conservatives will likely embrace Sowell’s theories, even those who disagree should appreciate the well-written points and be left with much to ponder.” AudioFile

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and the author of A Personal Odyssey, The Vision of the Anointed, Ethnic America, and several other books. His essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, Forbes, and Fortune and are syndicated in 150 newspapers. He lives in Stanford, California.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/History
Runtime: 11.38
Audience: Adult
Language: English