Why Anti-Intellectualism Is Dumb


In 1642, the Puritan John Cotton said, “the more learned and witty you bee, the more fit to act for Satan will you bee.” Today, more than three and a half centuries later, sound science is questioned and the study of the humanities is ridiculed.

The golden eras of the great empires of Greece, Rome, China and India, were marked, in part, by artistic and musical expression, literary and poetic output and philosophical and scientific advancement. These ventures were funded by governments and the wealthy and were celebrated globally.

Today, nearly a quarter of adults in the U.S. believe that climate change is not happening. Twenty-eight percent haven’t read a book in the last year. And a third don’t believe in evolution. Disbelief may be relatively benign, but many, particularly in the GOP, actively deride and mock scientific theories and the study of humanities — an unsettling era of anti-intellectualism that has serious consequences in the struggle to keep our position as a country that innovates, creates, and discovers.

Origins of Anti-Intellectualism

In 1963, Richard Hofstadter wrote about anti-intellectualism in the U.S. In 2008, Susan Jacoby updated Hofstadter’s work, arguing that the GOP has made the word ‘intellectual’ taboo, much like “liberal” — odd for a country whose last 100 years is a history of awe-inspiring technological, scientific and artistic innovation.

This decline in support for education and for intellectual pursuits — both rhetorical and otherwise — isn’t so hard to believe in a country where a serious presidential contender — Rick Santorum — called President Obama a “snob” for wanting “everybody in America to go to college.”

[ Partial Reblog from HuffingtonPost.com | Thomas White ]

Read the whole article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thomas-white/why-anti-intellectualism_b_4842808.html