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October 02 , 2009

Intellectual Morons

How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas


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”?
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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.
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