Intellectuals and Society

Blackstone Audio Inc.

Narrated by Tom Weiner

11 hr 23 min

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 is 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 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 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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Additional Information

Publisher
Blackstone Audio Inc.
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Published on
Jan 5, 2010
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Duration
11h 23m 21s
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ISBN
9781483052175
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / History & Theory
Social Science / Essays
Social Science / General
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Eligible for Family Library

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Intellectuals and Race is a radical book in the original sense-one that goes to the root of the problem. The role of intellectuals in racial strife is explored in an international context that puts the American experience in a wholly new light.Intellectuals have played a major role in racial issues throughout the centuries. Though their individual views may differ, as a whole their views tend to group, and just over the course of the twentieth century, they have shifted from one end of the spectrum to the other. Surprisingly, these radically different views of race were held by intellectuals whose views on other issues were often very similar.Intellectuals and Race is not, however, a book about history, even though it has much historical evidence, as well as demographic, geographic, and economic evidence-all of it directed toward testing the underlying assumptions about race that have prevailed at times among intellectuals in general, and especially at their highest levels. Nor is this simply a theoretical exercise. Sowell's ultimate concern is the impact of intellectual movements on the larger society, both past and present. These ideas and crusades have ranged widely from racial theories of intelligence to eugenics to "social justice" and multiculturalism.In addition to in-depth examinations of these and other issues, Intellectuals and Race explores the incentives, the visions, and the rationales that drive intellectuals at the highest levels to conclusions that have often turned out to be counterproductive and even disastrous, not only for particular racial or ethnic groups but for societies as a whole.
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