I haven’t read this book yet but based on this review, I am adding it to my reading list:

In Intellectuals, Paul Johnson’s evisceration of Marx’s empirical work and discussion of Marx’s theories changed my thinking.

Arguments that have little factual or a priori support can have lasting and significant influence.

The key to attracting adherents is presenting the idea in poetical terms that inflame flaws in human nature. Marx had the ability to select clichés that resonated with envy and the wish to believe in miraculous solutions to the problem of scarcity and self-fulfillment. He assured believers his ideas were “scientific” and moral.

Republicans better consider this reality when confronting Obama’s “rich are not paying their fair share” argument.

Countering with “taxing the rich more will not appreciably reduce the deficit” or “this will hurt small business” or giving statistics showing the rich pay quite a bit already will be inadequate. Logic and facts are inadequate. Envy and scapegoating of the successful Americans will only grow as Obama’s policies devastate the poor. Republicans must counter with a similarly emotional argument (e.g. “Obama policies are enriching the Washington elite.”). The Republicans must also call Obama out for inflaming “envy and hatred” so the public cannot be comforted that taxing the rich is altruistic. Yelling “class warfare” is too sanitized to elicit a competing public emotion.

Republicans must also fight Obama’s idea of “a balanced approach.” Republicans must confront the argument that government spending helps the poor and therefore cuts must be offset by increased taxes. Point to all the programs that merely enrich the elite (e.g., NPR and windmills). Show how, under Obama, the Washington suburbs have grown wealthy while other places in the country have grown poor.

19 thoughts on “Intellectuals

  1. Hm. DonAmeche was saying this the other day.

    This will probably be an important line of inquiry in upcoming years. Clearly the stuff that has convinced me to think the way I do has not worked on my ‘prospects,’ as I have seen all my logic go to the wayside just by someone saying, “Paul Ryan is a liar and hates women.” During the Romney campaign, I was bringing the proverbial knife to a gun fight. Maybe I could dumb it down, try something more blunt, like, “Obama hates America.” “Obama kills babies.” “Obama is a thief.” “Obama hates poor people.” “Obama only pretends to care about you.” Hm. Has it really come to this? I guess it has.

  2. Hola Friends….Don Ameche is here…….Yes this is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about, Thanks Utah…..and thanks Justin for listening.

    Unfortunately it HAS come to this…….another Word-phrase we need to deal with effectively is the term…”Fairness”….It is the centerpiece for their religion of Re-Distribution…..the balance upon which the Liberal philosophy of envy is weighed.

    • What is “Fair”? Fair imparts someone’s point of view into the equation. There is no “fair” that is true, or the same for everyone.

      Equity. “just & right”.

      America was founded in the ideals equality for ALL and Equal Protection for all. NOT, some are “more equal” than others” and therefor get their own set of “special rules”.

      • Texas – surely you are not implying (for example) that the rich have to pay more in taxes than everyone else simply because they are different (ie, Rich), are you?

        Equality as humans was the intent of the US Constitution. Give the people their freedom, and let them decide the course of their lives from there.

        • Fair is used to Divide and subjugate.

          Turn into serfs/slaves.

          Not Free!

          Kneel and kiss the ring, and plead for “fairness” from them.

          Free peoples ignore them and walk bravely through the wasteland the marxists have created.

          Morally and humanly & spiritually bankrupt!

          They will now say, it’s not fair he or she won’t kneel, let’s “get them” …

        • Before you can argue over what is “fair”, one must determine what is the cost and to determine the cost, one must define the scope of government, for one to define the scope, one must identify the tasks that are required.

          None of which is done or even contemplated to be done.

          Then, and only then, can one start to cut the pie into “fair” slices.

        • Everyone should pay the same tax rate.


          Before being allowed to vote, Everyone should be required to have “skin in the game”.

          • “Before being allowed to vote, Everyone should be required to have “skin in the game”.”

            Not according to Greg, McPherson, CCF, and Drugsinotherthings. Oh no … 15% of nothing is too much to ask of America’s poor … even though 15% of nothing is nothing. On the other hand, 50%, 60%, or perhaps even 70% and beyond isn’t enough for folks like myself to pay.

            All they want is their free shit, and since they are unwilling to afford it, “fair” becomes “Augger must pay”. Yep, equal rights for all.

            So yeah, everyone should be required to have “skin in the game”, but I would expound by saying everyone should have the same piece of skin in the game.

    • @Don and Friends,
      Freedom is a hard sell, I just heard Limbaugh say. People look at conservatives as the people who stand in the way of freedom, and they look at government as the ones who will save the day. They hear that freedom entails hard work, and they don’t like it. On top of that, Christie and now Rubio are jumping ship, aiding and defending the Democrats. Conservative media, like that Economist article downplaying Benghazi, going down the tubes, the comments sections filled with people going, ‘WTF?.’ Is it just me, or is a massive new wave of progressivism now breaking over us?

  3. Probably worthy of it’s own separate thread, but fitting to this topic’s direction as well …

    “Today, of course, the mansions, armies of servants and yachts are back, bigger than ever — and any hint of policies that might crimp plutocrats’ style is met with cries of “socialism.” – Paul Krugman

    The New York Times has become so …Barbara Walters. Bring back 91% tax rate?

    The Twinkie Manifesto

    Do we really think we can overcome jealously, and spite?

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