Reading Christorpher Hitchens' Why Orwell Matters reminded me once again of the miserable record of the European intelligentsia in the 20th C. If one were to spread in a row the top three ideas shared by the elites in each decade and throw darts at it, I doubt you would hit a correct one all night.
They did very well on the secondary issues for improving society, and may even be credited with advocating for and obtaining much that we value in our lives today. But the large, animating ideas of both the trained intellectuals and the educated classes - from the Social Darwinism, nihilism, and racial imperatives of the 00's, through the Marxism, Socialism, and Fascism of mid-century, and on to the Coexistence, Postmodernism, and Multiculturalism of the 80's and 90's, they have simply been wrong at every point. There is almost a dependability to it: pick out a year and a country, say England in 1908 or Sweden in 1941 or Italy in 1977, and examine what the great thinkers of the culture were instilling in the university students. You are guarranteed to find great wisdom in all the small things of life, but absolute madness in the large ones.