- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Crown Forum; First Edition (stated) edition (September 21, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1400053552
- ISBN-13: 978-1400053551
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 73 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #205,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas Hardcover – September 21, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Flynn (Why the Left Hates America) takes aim at those he calls "intellectual morons," smart people who make themselves stupid by letting "ideology do their thinking"; stock or fanatical answers, bad logic and lies are all part of their putative arsenal. To make his case, Flynn lambastes a series of prominent leftist "gurus" and the ideological movements they inspired: Herbert Marcuse, Peter Singer, Margaret Sanger, W.E.B. Du Bois, Michel Foucault, Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky and Gore Vidal. (Ayn Rand and Leo Strauss, hardly leftists, if hard to classify together, come in for token baiting.) Flynn does not shy away from ad hominem argument: sex researcher Alfred Kinsey appears as a pervert; Betty Friedan was apparently richer than she let on. Flynn is on firmer ground when looking at actual claims, such as those of the late Guatemalan writer and activist Rigoberta Menchu. Amusing but not consistently enlightening, Flynn's book aims at foundations but glances surfaces.
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From the Inside Flap
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? <br>Why does Al Gore believe that cars pose “a mortal threat to the security of every nation”? <br>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?<br>In other words, why do smart people fall for stupid ideas?<br>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 spawnedideologues who do not care whether an idea is good or bad, true or false, but only whether it can serve their cause. <br>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. <br>In Intellectual Morons, Flynn reveals:<br><br>•How rabid anti-Americans simply parrot the delusional claims of a few gurus<br>•How the environmental movement, spawned <br>by a “scientist” whose doomsday predictions are almost always wrong, has bred fanaticism, stupidity, and dishonesty <br>•How the hero of the animal rights crowd is a crank who promotes infanticide and euthanasia<br>•How a scientific fraud—and pervert—launched the sexual revolution<br>•How abortion rights activists ignore (or cover up) the fact that their matron saint advocated eugenics and concentration camps<br>•How our universities have become hothouses of leftist ideology<br>•How historians and journalists have airbrushed history to turn a racial separatist into a civil rights icon<br><br>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.
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Flynn notes a definite cross-linking among them all. Those who champion one are very likely to support any of the others. To these leaders-supporters, he suggests that intentions count far more than outcomes. It does not matter if any ideology proves disastrously wrong; what counts is the fervor that each brings to the cause. And the fervor, of course, is based on a selective manipulation of fact to fit an equally selective manipulation of reality. Flynn begins with Herbert Marcuse, a German immigrant who began modern Leftist thought by insisting that toleration from the Left was to be balanced by intolerance toward the right. It is no surprise that Flynn begins with Marcuse, the man who popularized the now all-pervasive notion that Western civilization was instrumental in leading toward the victim ideology that constitutes the core curriculums of our colleges. His following chapters deal with how sexuality became distorted with Kinsey; how environmentalism under Ehrlich morphed into the belief that global warming is the New Armageddon; how animal rights under Peter Singer now trump human rights; how the clear fraud of the third world claims of Rigoberta Menchu even now is hidden from those who do not wish to see it; and how history under Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky "proves" that the United States was born in racism and grows in racism. Flynn does not omit feminism or literary theory to escape his claims that deliberate intellectual blindness is but the first step on the slippery slope to an intellectual depravity of thought that he terms moronic. And what of the so-called "smart" people who follow such beliefs even against all evidence? Flynn suggests that there is hope for a massive turnaround for those who wish to turn the United States into a clone of France. The trick he notes is for conservatives to eternally drag the lies and distortions of the Left into the disinfectant of the sun and let the newest generation see that the emperor truly has no clothes. This will be a long struggle but the future of this country is worth it.
This book really was a painful read for me, but it helps me to understand how it is that I and so many others got programmed to believe much of what we came to believe.
This book DOES NOT placate the right. Mr. Flynn blasts those who would be labeled conservative or right-wing as equally as he blasts those on the left. The unbalance, if you can call it that, is there are simply more targets to choose from on the left.
In the end we have a book that desperately tries to understand why certain people follow these individuals, no matter how fallacious their theories are. The book fails because it cannot answer the question as to why people will follow these intellectual morons. This, btw, was the fault of his first book not being able to answer the core question but that book brought much more substance to the table.
I guess if you are somewhat clueless as to what some of the radical intellectuals out there are lecturing on this book may be a eye opener otherwise if you are familiar with the names and ramblings of Singer, Chomsky, Du Bois, Rand, Sanger, Ehrlich, Straus, etc then you can essentially skip this book.