Intellectuals and Society

Front Cover
ReadHowYouWant.com, 2010 - Political Science - 668 pages
3 Reviews
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 those intellectuals. 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 proved 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.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - lisacronista - LibraryThing

This is the book that introduced me to mid-20th century history. I had no understanding of why the U.S. annexed Puerto Rico, why we jumped into WWI, why Europe appeased Hitler, or why it took us way ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - WhitmelB - LibraryThing

Thomas Sowell is one of my favorite writers and he does not disappoint this time. Intellectuals influence policy makers in powerful ways and yet bear no responsibility for the outcomes of their influence. They traffic in ideas but not action. Read full review

Contents

Knowledge and Notions
15
Intellectuals and Economics
55
Intellectuals and Social Visions
124
Intellectuals and the Law 197 Chapter 5 Optional Reality in the Media and Academia
263
Intellectuals and War
342
Intellectuals and Society 407 Chapter 8 Intellectuals and War Repeating History
477
NOTES
539
Front Cover Flap
632
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2010)

Thomas Sowell is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has been a professor of economics at leading American colleges and universities, and has lectured in Singapore, Israel, Switzerland, and Germany, as well as across the United States.

Bibliographic information