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February 2010
 
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Mon, Feb. 18th, 2008 10:10 am
The intellectual is not one of us

78CommentReply


(Anonymous)
Mon, Feb. 18th, 2008 01:47 pm (UTC)

I don't see religion as being the problem here. The democratic spirit is the problem. The country has placed such a high value on equality that people get offended whenever someone tries to rise above the general level of the masses. Republicans have just embraced and exploited this tendency for political gain. They even attack their own intellectuals. When the folks at the National Review poo-pooed the Harriet Miers nomination (because she wasn't qualified enough), the Populist Right went up in arms over out-of-control intellectual elitism.


ReplyThread
polocrunch
polocrunch
Polocrunch
Tue, Feb. 19th, 2008 12:13 am (UTC)

Alexis de Tocqueville made the very same connection 150 years ago, and it really has held true throughout. The levelling effect of American culture that prevents tyranny and oligarchical rule (well...) also reduces respect for intellectuals and sophistication. The sheer size of America has the effect of making minorities, which would in other countries be quite small groups, potentially very significant. The effect of straddling half a continent also reduces the chance of many inhabitants ever leaving the country - that many Americans don't have passports is a popular and often-repeated fact.

But anyway, let's not buy into Momus' polemic or de Tocqueville's 'observations' (if a collection of anecdotes can really be called such) too much. The supposed 'anti-intellectualism' he quivers at is far more a construction of overly-defensive intellectuals and a slim stratum of canny operators on the right far more than it is a genuine problem in America's 'grassroots'.


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Feb. 19th, 2008 12:45 am (UTC)

"Anti-intellectualism is an intellectual construct devised by defensive, pointy-headed intellectuals. Salt-of-the-earth grassroots red-blooded Americans don't worry about such things, or people."


ReplyThread Parent
polocrunch
polocrunch
Polocrunch
Tue, Feb. 19th, 2008 12:57 am (UTC)

Well done for anticipating my response. Since neither of us has much evidence beyond the anecdotal for our views, I suspect we'll both go away from this with our minds unchanged.

But come, do you have any solid examples for your case? I read this today, which might explain my cynicism about 'anti-intellectualism'.

The media and the rest of popular culture weren't recording people's reactions to 9/11; they were forcing made-up reactions down people's throats. - The Terror Dream reviewed at The Guardian.


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