Key players

Nothing is so foolish, writes Dalrymple,

that some philosopher has not said it, and no idea has been so discredited that it has not continued to be touted.

He points out that intellectuals are

particularly unsusceptible to refutation by experience, because they much prefer complex rationalisations to the patently obvious — which is a threat to their livelihood, for the patently obvious needs no priestly caste of interpreters. There is no experience that they cannot rationalise away.

Intellectuals who claim not only to be rationalists but rational are often drawn, Dalrymple notes

to gnostic doctrines that claim to reveal the hidden meaning not just of something, but of everything about human existence. Marxism, Freudianism, and, in its most recent form, Darwinism are examples of such doctrines. For many, they held, or hold, the key to reality as Mary Baker Eddy held the key to the Scriptures.

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