How many intellectuals have loudly proclaimed that there is no real right and wrong, only to be appalled when people behave as if there is no right and wrong?
Once loosed, ideas originally proposed as personal rationalization or as the intellectual baubles of the arrogant cognoscenti will not be easily leashed again. Malcolm Muggeridge acerbically commented, "Previous civilizations have been overthrown from without by the incursions of barbarian hordes; ours has dreamed up its own dissolution in the minds of its own intellectual elites."
Ideas that become part of the cultural background will relentlessly seek their logical conclusion, regardless of whether their proponents have bothered to think them out. Most people, of course, largely accept the presumptions of their environment uncritically; we might call the percolation of ideas from the intellectuals to the masses "trickle-down philosophy."
Introduction to "A Christmas Carol"
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