"The more I study the history of intellectuals, the more they seem like a wrecking crew, dismantling civilization bit by bit — replacing what works with what sounds good." - Thomas Sowell
Sowell argues that intellectuals usually have thorough knowledge in their areas of expertise. And they often assume that "their specialized knowledge" qualifies them to guide others - even outside their field of expertise.
Their ability to influence others often stems from their "verbal virtuosity" - clever phrasing, vague euphemisms, witty quotes, deceptive labelling, name-calling and sneering asides to substitute for evidence, logic and analysis.
Consider some of the major societal and cultural shifts of the last few decades, and where the authority for these changes comes from.
"There is a way that seems right to a man,
but its end is the way of death." - Solomon
"Your kingdom come..."