Synopses & Reviews
This much revised and reorganized edition of Intellectuals and Society is more than half again larger than the first edition. Four new chapters have been added on intellectuals and race, including a chapter on race and intelligence.
These new chapters show the radically different views of race prevailing among the intelligentsia at the beginning of the twentieth century and at the end-- and yet how each of these opposite views of race had the same dogmatic quality and the same refusal to countenance differing opinions among their contemporaries, much less engage dissenting opinions in serious debate. Moreover, each of these very different views of race produced flourishes of rhetoric and travesties of logic, leading to dire social consequences, though of very different sorts in the two eras. Other additions to this edition include a critique of John Rawls' conception or justice and a re-examination of the so-called "trickle-down theory" behind "tax cuts for the rich." There are other revisions, from the preface to the final chapter, the latter being extensively rewritten to bring together and highlight the themes of the other chapters, and to make unmistakably clear what Intellectuals and Society is, and is not, seeking to do.
How intellectuals as a class affect modern societies by shaping the climate of opinion in which official policies developon issues ranging from economics to law to war and peace
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.
In Intellectuals and Society, Thomas Sowell examines the track record of intellectuals in the things they have advocated and analyzes the incentives and constraints under which their views and visions have emerged. Ultimately, he shows how often intellectuals have been proved not only wrong but grossly and disastrously wrong in their prescriptions for the ills of society.
About the Author
Thomas Sowell has taught economics at Cornell, UCLA, Amherst, and other academic institutions, and his Basic Economics has been translated into six languages. He is currently a scholar in residence at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has published in both academic journals and in such popular media as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes magazine, and Fortune, and he writes a syndicated column that appears in newspapers across the country.