I recently found myself reading Thomas Sowell’s newest book, Intellectuals and Society
, a study of intellectuals — those who are dedicated to ideas and who, in his estimation, are growing in public influence but who are also woefully uninformed and wounding society. His complaint is basically that intellectuals are leftist, unaccountable to the public, immune to falsification and seemingly incapable of losing their reputation when they are (sometimes laughably) wrong. I’ve tried to read on both sides of issues, and Sowell is an uncompromised conservative — a wide-ranging intellectual himself, brilliant in capacity, and clear enough a writer to dispense his goods to non-experts. I suppose Sowell’s book could make many angry, angry enough to get up from their reading chair and march to DC and demand change. Instead, his relentless critique wearied me and depressed me and made me wonder why he can’t appreciate the genius and brilliance of so many intellectuals. So, I put him down and turned to…
Paul Johnson’s Creators: From Chaucer and Durer to Picasso and Disney (P.S.)
. I just might do a series on this book: such a refreshing and positive sketch of the brilliance of folks like Chaucer and Duerer and Picasso and Disney. That opening chapter, anchoring creativeness in God as creator and humans made in God’s image and the hard work involved and the courage it takes — with dips into creators in a variety of fields (art, music, writing). Johnson, formerly a leftist, is now on the right side of the political spectrum and is a conservative Roman Catholic, if also one with some moral confessions.