Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Intellectuals & Society

Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Society (New York: Basic Books, 2010)
After reading Sowell’s text, one wonders whether any intellectual has ever done anything worthwhile for society. Sowell dissects the mess intellectuals have made of economic issues, how they visualize society and its problems, the concept of truth, law and its function in our world, war and its causes, and how they view their own roles. Sowell believes that intellectuals have no accountability for their views or the consequences of their ideas at play in the world, and that they have offered up a lot of concepts that are both nonsense and dangerous. This is an interesting book to read for its criticism of the nature of ideas, information, and wisdom in our culture. Yet, one walks away from the task of reading this lengthy tome wondering what the world would be like without intellectuals (but Sowell never really addresses this in any depth) or, for that matter, universities where most intellectuals live. But that is ok; being an intellectual, we can follow his own views and just ignore him.

No comments: