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Intellectual Morons

How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas

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eBook published by Crown Forum (Crown Publishing Group)

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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


From the Hardcover edition.
Show less
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


From the Hardcover edition.
Product Details
eBook (272 pages)
Published: September 21, 2004
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Imprint: Crown Forum
ISBN: 9781400082698
Other books byDaniel J. Flynn
  • Why the Left Hates America

    Why the Left Hates America
    Exposing the Lies That Have Obscured Our...
    "The American flag stands for hatred, warmongering, and imperialism." "Our free-market system is responsible for killing and oppressing millions of people." "This country breeds racists and sexists." Is America really that bad? It is if you accept the lies and propaganda from the anti-American Left in our own country. This dismal, distorted view of the greatest, freest nation in history comes from a Left who would rather idolize Ho Chi Minh and Fidel Castro than honor George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who burn down businesses and destroy property to protest free markets, and who fight alongside radical terrorists rather than against them. They trample the Constitution while hiding behind the First Amendment, and their idea of displaying the American flag is setting it on fire and parading it through the streets. Yes, this is a Left comprised of people who truly hate their country, and they will stop at nothing to tear her down—smashing our liberty in the process. Why the Left Hates America punches a hole right through the thin veneer of political correctness that has long protected these anti-Americans—exposing their rotting, vacuous core. Author and commentator Daniel J. Flynn digs deep into the American Left and reveals why they blame every bad deed in the world on the United States, while ignoring her myriad contributions. This book cogently points out that, of course, all Americans have the right to speak their minds. But, all too often, the actions by the anti-American Left become destructive and anarchistic. You need not look any further than the explosive 1999 World Trade Organization "protests" in Seattle, campus book burnings, or even John Walker Lindh to see that factions on the Left are the worst perpetrators of anti-Americanism. And what may be most shocking is that many of these anti-Americans are at the same time teachers, professors, journalists, news reporters, and even judges and politicians. Probing and controversial—without devolving into jingoism—this book proves once and for all that what you see in the news and learn in school is often tainted by the anti-American Left, and it shows you what you can do to keep them at bay. From the Hardcover edition.

    A Conservative History of the American Left

    A Conservative History of the American Left
    From Communes to the Clintons Why does Hillary Clinton crusade for government-provided health care for every American, for the redistribution of wealth, and for child rearing to become a collective obligation? Why does Al Gore say that it’s okay to “over-represent” the dangers of global warming in order to sell Americans on his draconian solutions? Why does Michael Moore call religion a device to manipulate “gullible” Americans? Where did these radical ideas come from? And how did they enter the mainstream discourse? In this groundbreaking and compelling new book, Daniel J. Flynn uncovers the surprising origins of today’s Left. The first work of its kind, A Conservative History of the American Left tells the story of this remarkably resilient extreme movement–one that came to America’s shores with the earliest settlers. Flynn reveals a history that leftists themselves ignore, whitewash, or obscure. Partly the Left’s amnesia is convenient: Who wouldn’t want to forget an ugly history that includes eugenics, racism, violence, and sheer quackery? Partly it is self-aggrandizing: Bold schemes sound much more innovative when you refuse to acknowledge that they have been tried–and have failed–many times before. And partly it is unavoidable: The Left is so preoccupied with its triumphal future that it doesn’t pause to learn from its past mistakes. So it goes that would-be revolutionaries have repeatedly failed to recognize the one troubling obstacle to their grandiose visions: reality. In unfolding this history, Flynn presents a page-turning narrative filled with colorful, fascinating characters–progressives and populists, radicals and reformers, socialists and SDSers, and leftists of every other stripe. There is the rags-to-riches Welsh industrialist who brought his utopian vision to America–one in which private property, religion, and marriage represented “the most monstrous evils”–and gained audiences with the likes of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Madison. There is the wife-swapping Bible thumper who nominated Jesus Christ for president. There is the playboy adventurer whose worshipful accounts of Soviet Russia lured many American liberals to Communism. There is the daughter of privilege turned violent antiwar activist who lost her life to a bomb she had intended to use against American soldiers. There are fanatics and free spirits, perverts and puritans, entrepreneurs and altruists, and many more beyond. A Conservative History of the American Left is a gripping chronicle of the radical visionaries who have relentlessly pursued their lofty ambitions to remake society. Ultimately, Flynn shows the destructiveness that comes from this undying pursuit of dreams that are utterly unattainable. From the Hardcover edition.

    Blue Collar Intellectuals

    Blue Collar Intellectuals
    When the Enlightened and the Everyman Elevated...
    Stupid is the new smart—but it wasn’t always so Popular culture has divorced itself from the life of the mind. Who has time for great books or deep thought when there is Jersey Shore to watch, a txt 2 respond 2, and World of Warcraft to play? At the same time, those who pursue the life of the mind have insulated themselves from popular culture. Speaking in insider jargon and writing unread books, intellectuals have locked themselves away in a ghetto of their own creation. It wasn’t always so.Blue Collar Intellectualsvividly captures a time in the twentieth century when the everyman aspired to high culture and when intellectuals descended from the ivory tower to speak to the everyman. Author Daniel J. Flynn profiles thinkers from working-class backgrounds who played a prominent role in American life by addressing their intellectual work to a mass audience. Blue Collar Intellectuals tells the fascinating story of:he unschooled hobo who migrated from skid row anonymity to White House chats with the president and prime-time TV specials. he scandalous teacher-student romance that spawned a half-century labor of love in writing the history of the world. he Ivy League Ph.D. who held neither a high school nor college degree, and fittingly launched a renaissance in reading the great books outside of formal schools. The scholarship student who experienced the free market firsthand waiting tables and peddling socks, and who became one of capitalism’s most influential exponents. The impoverished outcast who became the poet of the pulps, elevating millions of readers along with heretofore marginal genres. Guiding us through a world now vanished, Flynn causes us to look anew at our own digital age and its nostrums: Video gaming is just a new form of literacy, Reality shows . . . Challenge our emotional intelligence, and Who cares if Johnny can’t read? The value of books is overstated.Blue Collar Intellectualsshows us how much everyone intellectual and everyman alike has suffered from mass culture’s crowding out of higher things and the elite’s failure to engage the masses.   Praise forBlue Collar Intellectuals  “This book is not only an exciting story; it also corrects a terrible cultural mistake—the mistake of treating high culture, Great Books, and other canon-making visions of tradition as exploitative and spurious. Previous generations of intellectuals believed that our great cultural inheritance belonged to everyone, rich and poor, black and white and brown.Daniel Flynn’s profiles revive that belief, and they mark a vital alternative to the complacent relativism of contemporary cultural stewards.” —Mark Bauerlein, best-selling author ofThe Dumbest Generation   “Flynn’s case histories of a wonderful—and uniquely American—traditionof bringing learning to the masses offers us a morality tale in these times of spiraling tuition, esoteric publication, and an insular academia mostly cut off from wider society. Thefascinating portraitshere remind us how not so long ago an interest in making knowledge known beyond the campus was not antithetical to learning but the very essence of the true intellectual.” —Victor Davis Hanson, coauthor ofWho Killed Homer?andThe Bonfire of the Humanities   “Back in the middle decades of the twentieth century, millions of Americans supped at the table of high culture, learning history, philosophy, and economics from intellectual entrepreneurs like Will and Ariel Durant, Mortimer Adler, and Eric Hoffer.Daniel Flynn tells their story inBlue Collar Intellectuals—and tells us why we miss them today.” —Michael Barone, senior political analyst at theWashington Examiner, coauthor ofThe Almanac of American Politics   “Blue Collar Intellectualspowerfully evokes the lost era when the ‘everyman’ aspired to higher things and the defenders of high culture spoke and wrote in clear, accessible language.Flynn’s deft historical profiles remind us that popular culture and the life of the mind need not be adversaries.” —Brian C. Anderson, editor ofCity Journaland author ofSouth Park Conservatives  

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