The Opium of the Intellectuals by Raymond Aron

Few works of economic and political analysis are worth reading 60 years after publication. The Opium of the Intellectuals (1955), by French intellectual Raymond Aron ( is one of them.

The author shows how noble ideas can slide into the tyranny of secular religion and emphasizes how political thought has the profound responsibility of telling the truth about social and political reality – in all its mundane imperfections and tragic complexities. He explodes the three myths of radical thought: the Left, the Revolution, and the Proletariat. Each of these ideas, Aron shows, are ideological, mystifying rather than illuminating. He also provides a fascinating sociology of intellectual life and a powerful critique of historical determinism in the classically restrained prose for which he is justly famous. This cool headed rational humanist richly deserves to be re-read as the world lurches towards violence in all directions in our own time.

388 pages in Transaction Publishers

ISBN 978-0765807007

Raymond Aron

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