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Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideasby Daniel J Flynn
Synopses & Reviews
Why do well-educated antiwar activists call the president of the United States “the new Hitler” and argue that the U.S. government orchestrated the September 11 attacks?
Why does Al Gore believe that cars pose “a mortal threat to the security of every nation”?
Why does the Princeton professor known as the father of the animal rights movement object to humans eating animals but not to humans having sex with them—and why does PETA defend that position?
In other words, why do smart people fall for stupid ideas?
The answer, Daniel J. Flynn reveals in Intellectual Morons, is ideology. Flynn, the author of Why the Left Hates America, shows how people can be so blinded to reality by the causes they serve that they espouse bizarre, sometimes ridiculous, and often dangerous positions. The most influential social movements have spawned ideologues who do not care whether an idea is good or bad, true or false, but only whether it can serve their cause.
It is startling how many Americans—and particularly how many media, academic, and political elites—fall for bad ideas. The trouble is, their lies become institutionalized as truth, and we all suffer as a result.
In Intellectual Morons, Flynn reveals:
•How rabid anti-Americans simply parrot the delusional claims of a few gurus
•How the environmental movement, spawned by a “scientist” whose doomsday predictions are almost always wrong, has bred fanaticism, stupidity, and dishonesty
•How the hero of the animal rights crowd is a crank who promotes infanticide and euthanasia
•How a scientific fraud—and pervert—launched the sexual revolution
•How abortion rights activists ignore (or cover up) the fact that their matron saint advocated eugenics and concentration camps
•How our universities have become hothouses of leftist ideology
•How historians and journalists have airbrushed history to turn a racial separatist into a civil rights icon
Filled with jaw-dropping lapses in common sense from even our most celebrated opinion leaders, Intellectual Morons is a welcome reality check for the glaring excesses of today’s political and cultural debates.
"This is a sophisticated pile driver of a book, guiding us through the wiles of great luminaries of the netherworld. And such liveliness in the writing, and such erudition. I was quite fascinated by Intellectual Morons."—William F. Buckley, Jr.
"Intellectual Morons is exceptionally aptly named. The thought of all that brainpower going down the intellectual drain is sad, but Daniel Flynn's description of it is hilariously on point. This is must reading."—G. Gordon Liddy
"Intellectual Morons is a delight—a wonderful intellectual history of the past hundred years. Flynn ably describes the purveyors of the bad ideas that have undermined our free society."—Burton W. Folsom, Jr., professor of history, Hillsdale College
"A famous bit of folk wisdom says, 'You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything.' Some of the crackpot notions now fashionable in academic circles, as here documented by Daniel Flynn, suggest that saying is an understatement. If you want to know how crazy, and scairy, intellectual morons can get, you have to read this book."—M. Stanton Evans, author of The Theme Is Freedom, contributing editor to Human Events
"Flynn (Why the Left Hates America) takes aim at those he calls 'intellectual morons,' smart people who make themselves stupid by letting 'ideology do their thinking'; stock or fanatical answers, bad logic and lies are all part of their putative arsenal. To make his case, Flynn lambastes a series of prominent leftist 'gurus' and the ideological movements they inspired: Herbert Marcuse, Peter Singer, Margaret Sanger, W.E.B. Du Bois, Michel Foucault, Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky and Gore Vidal. (Ayn Rand and Leo Strauss, hardly leftists, if hard to classify together, come in for token baiting.) Flynn does not shy away from ad hominem argument: sex researcher Alfred Kinsey appears as a pervert; Betty Friedan was apparently richer than she let on. Flynn is on firmer ground when looking at actual claims, such as those of the late Guatemalan writer and activist Rigoberta Menchu. Amusing but not consistently enlightening, Flynn's book aims at foundations but glances surfaces. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The author of "Why the Left Hates America" reveals how members of the liberal media, as well as political and academic elites, will say virtually anything as long as it serves their ideological dogmas.
Why have well-educated antiwar activists called George W. Bush "the new Hitler" and argued that the U.S. government orchestrated the September 11 terrorist attacks? Why does Al Gore believe that cars pose "a mortal threat to the security of every nation?" Why does the Princeton professor known as the "father of the animal rights movement" object of humans eating animals but not to humans having sex with them--and why does PETA defend that position? In other words, why do smart people fall for stupid ideas? This problem, says Daniel J. Flynn, is ideology: People can be so blinded to reality by their identification with a cause that they fail to question their beliefs. To the most devoted ideologues, it doesn't matter whether an idea is good or bad, as long as it furthers a political agenda. Filled with jaw-dropping lapses in common sense from people like Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky and organizations like Now, Intellectual Morons is a welcome reality check for the glaring excesses of today's political and cultural debates.
About the Author
Daniel J. Flynn is the author of Why the Left Hates America. A frequent campus speaker, he has faced off with book burners, mobs shouting down his talks, and officials banning his lectures. His articles have appeared in the Boston Globe, the American Enterprise, the Washington Times, Human Events, and National Review Online, among other publications. He has been interviewed on Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, and Court TV and has been a guest on several hundred radio talk shows. Before joining the Leadership Institute, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to training future conservative leaders, Flynn was the executive director of Accuracy in Academia and a program officer for Young America’s Foundation. His website can be found at www.flynnfiles.com. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife.
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