Magazine April 5, 2010, Issue

The Anointed

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Intellectuals and Society, by Thomas Sowell (Basic, 416 pp., $29.95)

It is a commonplace observation that very smart people often have no sense. Writers since Aristophanes have been making sport of their intellectual superiors. Jonathan Swift had the academicians of Lagado striving to extract sunbeams from cucumbers. Twenty years ago Paul Johnson wrote a fine book called Intellectuals, in which he tossed and gored such luminaries of 19th- and 20th-century deep-browdom as Emerson, Sartre, and Bertrand Russell. Roger Kimball covered some of the same ground more thoughtfully in Lives of the Mind. It is useful and necessary work to point out how silly and clueless the most brilliant people often

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Actor Sean Penn says that anyone who calls Hugo Chávez a dictator should go to jail. In Venezuela, Chávez is way ahead of him.

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