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Intellectuals and Society

by Thomas Sowell

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5831640,095 (3.98)5
History. Politics. Nonfiction. HTML: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 â?? and how little their views have changed in response to empirical evidence of the disasters entailed by those vie
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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
This is a cogent and articulate expression of ideas by one of America's prominent thinkers. Intellectuals are dedicated to 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. As a recovering academic, I understand at first-hand how the author shows that usually intellectuals have been proved not only wrong, but grossly and disastrously wrong in their prescriptions for the ills of society.
  gmicksmith | Jan 6, 2024 |
9-2-23 Book title and author: Intellectuals and Society: Revised and Expanded edition.

Why I picked this book up: the first Sowell book I read hooked me so I bought 3 more at an inexpensive price and this was my next Sowell book.

Thoughts: Intellectuals and Society examines the record of these (intellectuals) defined as “idea workers” and the conditions, methods and incentives driving their points of view that, according to Sowell, have often resulted in disaster for societies where intellectuals have been allowed "undue influence". Sowell is a fantastic, in depth and also broad reader with deep understanding and was very educational for me and as a Libitarian conservative and me being a conservative we were on the same page a lot.

Working with ideas only, lack of real accountability, narrow and specialized knowledge they attempt to influence society, public opinion, media, sports stars for example, Intellectual climate of distortion and misinformation, he is great as pointing out historical examples, he shows what I took as reasoning and evidence of what has been going on and we do not know from where this all comes, from society, from politics or maybe it is circular?

Why I finished this read: I appreciated his mind, writing style and rhe expectations of how this has been happening.

Stars rating: 5 of 5 stars. ( )
  DrT | Sep 6, 2023 |
What can you say about this book? It changes the way you think. ( )
  DaveReadsaLittle | Jan 30, 2022 |
I defy you to not discover more things to think about after reading Sowell.

My most pressing question is: How does this man sleep at night without paying for special security? He is utterly unafraid of giving offense. And, in some ways, it is refreshing. You feel like you know the man.

I would also like a frank chat with him regarding the Kavanagh confirmation. I'd like his opinion on some things he hasn't covered. ( )
  OutOfTheBestBooks | Sep 24, 2021 |
Immensely quotable.
  themulhern | Sep 22, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Let’s get my judgment of Thomas Sowell’s new book out of the way first. There is not a single interesting idea in its more than three-hundred pages.
 
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History. Politics. Nonfiction. HTML: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 â?? and how little their views have changed in response to empirical evidence of the disasters entailed by those vie

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