Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on August 8, 2013

in Hubris and humility, Man of System

… is from pages 148-149 of John T. Flynn’s 1954 essay “Eggheads Through History,” which is reprinted in Forgotten Lessons: Selected Essays of John T. Flynn (Gregory P. Pavlik, ed., 1996):

The root idea at the bottom of this long history of reckless social blueprinting from Plato to Henry Wallace and the Americans for Democratic Action is that social planning is the peculiar mission of the poet, the essayist, the novelist, the professor, and the technician.  I do not by any means infer that all intellectuals are eggheads.  I merely suggest that eggheadism is an occupational disease of the intellectual, to which the shallow or the frustrated or the unsuccessful or the angry or vengeful intellectual, particularly if he has a passion for hatred or notoriety, is exposed.  I would also suggest that members of these crafts, if they are disposed to be sensitive to the problem of social reconstruction, are apt to offer a peculiarly hospitable incubation to these giddy ideas.  In these later years eggheadism has run like a scourge through our colleges and our journals of opinion.  The younger the thinker, the bolder his philosophy.

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