Book To Watch Out For
Intellectuals and Society by Thomas Sowell, as reviewed by David Hogberg in the National Review, should be on your read list if you want to get a better understanding of the intellectual elite mindset and its presumptions. NRO TV has also produced a five chapter video on Uncommon Knowledge featuring Dr. Sowell discussing his new book.
Hogberg gives Intellectuals and Society a thumbs-up. I was intrigued right from the outset when he focused in on Dr. Sowell’s defintion of ‘intellectual’.
Sowell approaches his subject as an economist, analyzing the incentives and constraints intellectuals face. Sowell defines intellectuals as an occupation, as people whose “work begins and ends with ideas.” This includes academics, especially those in the humanities and social sciences, policy wonks, and, to a certain extent, journalists…As a result, intellectuals are free from one of the most rigorous constraints facing other occupations: external standards.
The key term here is external standards: accountability, not only to others outside the intelligentsia, but accountability to facts and consequences, those pesky realities that us peasants must live with each day. This book should provide, not only a clearer understanding of the intellectual elite, but also offer a needed fact-checking on some of those big blunders of western culture, all aided and abetted by the tyranny of intellectual masturbation.