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Education Reporter

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Hoodwinked: How Intellectual Hucksters Have Hijacked American Culture (Hardcover), Jack Cashill, Nelson Current, 2005, 273 pp., $24.99.

The premise of Hoodwinked is a familiar one: that members of the "cultural establishment" — a cadre of intellectuals comprised of professors, journalists, novelists, playwrights and scientists — hold views that are more liberal than those of most Americans and use their influence to persuade the masses, or at least college students, to agree with them. In pursuit of their goals, many of these intellectuals have abandoned their commitment to the truth. Faith in the "progressive" creed and their eagerness to proselytize the rest of us have made them careless and even unscrupulous. This book documents the most egregious cases of duplicity by these self-proclaimed guiding lights of society.

One area in which progressive academics have often sacrificed truth for propaganda is sexual morality. Throughout the twentieth century, the leftist establishment has supported sexual freedom, and consequently it has embraced any scientist whose work seems to provide a justification for promiscuity or homosexuality. Some of these scientists, it turns out, biased their data so much that their results cannot be taken seriously.

For instance, in his famous study of male sexuality, Alfred Kinsey collected data from the gay underworld of Chicago and mixed it indiscriminately with the data he had obtained earlier from random samplings of Indiana University students, thus skewing his results to suggest that homosexuality was more common than it actually is. Kinsey was guilty of worse things than bad science, however, including condoning the abuse of hundreds of children. Yet in spite of various exposés, the cultural establishment has remained favorably disposed towards him: in a New York Times review of the recent sympathetic film Kinsey, this pseudo scientist is hailed as a "Promethean figure, liberating Americans from ignorance, superstition and hypocrisy."

This and numerous other cases of academic dishonesty, including the works of Margaret Mead, Alex Haley and Ward Churchill, fill the pages of Hoodwinked. The perpetrators are different in each instance, but the stories share a common theme — the willingness of progressive "luminaries" to condone mass deception if it will promote their agenda.

The value of this book lies not so much in its thesis, which is widely accepted by conservatives, but rather in its meticulous assemblage and documentation of the worst cases of intellectual malfeasance. Hoodwinked is passionate about the importance of truth in academia and public discourse.

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