Anti-intellectualism in American Life (1964)
Maybe it is intrinsic to American core perception of egalitarianism that leads to this hatred of the smart people. On a Bell curve, anyone not in the middle is treated with contempt by those in the middle. People hare and fear “dummies” but their true venom is reserved for anyone smarter than themselves. So they actively work to bully, ridicule, and shame people who are smart and driven to get good grades, pursue extraordinary dreams.
Continue reading Anti-intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hofstatder
The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby, (2008 Large Type has a different cover image). Cover also says it was a New York Times Bestseller.
Well written and argued. Many people I know are mystified at the seriously problem of willful ignorance that has developed in this country. I thought W. had personified ignorance with his sanctimonious smirk and refusal to read newspapers because he didn’t want to be influenced by thinkers other than his staff who absolutely would not tell him anything he did not want to hear. And I had forgotten the case of decorum by the real president, Dick Cheney, who shouted at Senator Patrick Leahy to “Go fuck yourself!” on the Senate floor. (p. 40, 44) This provides the great contrast between the Founding Fathers, and especially the insults penned by Shakespeare. She cites an example of a better insult from the 1890s,
. . . Speaker of the House Thomas Reed took care of one opponent by observing that with ‘with a few more brains he could be a halfwit.’ Of another politician Reed remarked, ‘He never opens his mouth without subtracting from the sum of human intelligence.’ Americans once heard (or rather read) such genuinely witty remarks and tried to emulate that wit. Today we parrot the witless and halfwitted [sic] language used by politicians and radio shock jocks alike.” (p. 41)
Alas we have slumped even further into the abyss with Trump, Cruz, Walker, et al on the Republican side. And the anointed corporate puppet pick, Hillary, of the Bankruptcy Act treason of the people, and the Iraq war of the military industrial complex. She who cannot claim any bill or legislation passed that helped women or people of color.
Continue reading The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby