(Denver Post, Oct. 24) “Beware intellectuals. Not merely should they be kept away from the levers of power. They should be objects of suspicion when they offer collective advice. Intellectuals habitually forget that people matter more than concepts and must come first. The worst of all despotisms is the heartless tyranny of ideas.” So writes British historian Paul Johnson on the last page of “Intellectuals,” his 200-year survey of the damage done by brainy elites in public life.
That was in 1988, and the hit parade hasn’t stopped. A sequel could chronicle Hillary Clinton’s debacle as health-care czar, Al Gore’s phony climate panic, the failed presidential candidacies of uber-smart guys Michael Dukakis and John Kerry, and Barack Obama learning the hard way that being president requires different skills than being, in Sarah Palin’s words, “a professor at a lectern.” […]