Anti intellectualism


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Anti intellectualism

  1. 1. Anti-Intellectualism In America
  2. 2. Definition <ul><li>Hostility towards, or mistrust of, intellectuals and intellectual pursuits often expressed as an attack on the merits of science, education, or literature. </li></ul><ul><li>Reflects the attitudes of “ordinary people” who take academic elitism and the pretensions of academics with a grain of salt. </li></ul><ul><li>Used to criticize an educational system’s placing little emphasis on academic and intellectual accomplishment, or a government’s tendency to formulate policies without consultation with authoritative scholarly study on the issues in question. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Sources of Anti-Intellectualism <ul><li>Anti-intellectual beliefs can come from a variety of factors. </li></ul><ul><li>These include: </li></ul><ul><li>Religion </li></ul><ul><li>Corporate Culture </li></ul><ul><li>Educational System </li></ul><ul><li>Youth Culture </li></ul><ul><li>Populism </li></ul>
  4. 4. Religion <ul><li>Although most religions have rich intellectual traditions, many rely on arguments from authority and reject secular critical traditions. </li></ul><ul><li>Evangelical or Fundamentalist forms of religion are a frequent source of anti-intellectual statements. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Corporate Culture <ul><li>Corporate culture is an occasional source of hostility towards learning with the belief that education is a costly and useless distraction from the more important business of making money. </li></ul><ul><li>It is also one of their concerns that intellectuals may acquire ethical and political ideas that may obstruct business. </li></ul><ul><li>Scientific and technological learning may be accepted, but the arts, literature and philosophy are all seen as wastes of time. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Educational System <ul><li>The schools and universities have often been criticized for being overtaken by overtly anti-intellectual trends. </li></ul><ul><li>Accused of not preparing the students properly to be members of society who would be cultured, prepared for challenging jobs, and capable of independent thought. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Youth Culture <ul><li>A major source of anti-intellectualism in America today is the youth culture that is often associated with those students who are more interested in social life and athletics than in their studies. </li></ul><ul><li>Youth culture is full of fads, and keeping up with the commercial trends is difficult. Their content is frequently criticized for being simple-minded and pandering to unsophisticated appetites. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Populism <ul><li>Intellectuals are portrayed as elitists and tricksters whose knowledge and rhetorical skills are feared because they may be used to deceive ordinary people. </li></ul><ul><li>The curiosity and objectivity of intellectuals about foreign countries and beliefs is perceived by populists as a lack of patriotism, and intellectuals are often suspect of holding dangerous opinions. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Anti-Intellectualism in the U.S. <ul><li>Historically, anti-intellectualism has played a prominent role in American culture. Some of it originated from the views of conservative Christians that education corrupts morality and religious belief. This view was validated by the spread of atheism and Deism among the educated during the 18th century intellectual movement in Europe, called the Age of Enlightenment. </li></ul><ul><li>A more important historical source of anti-intellectualism has been the 19th century pop-culture. At that time, a majority of the population was involved in manual labor, and an education which at that time focused on the classics, was seen to have little value. Back then, the self-reliant and self-made man, educated by society and by experience, was valued over the intellectual who was schooled through books and formal study. However, the once plentiful industrial jobs have disappeared and have been replaced with low-wage service and specialty jobs, which at most require a high school diploma. </li></ul><ul><li>The American educational system also promotes anti-intellectualism in its presumed failure to impart the necessary knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about the world to its students. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Abuse of the term by Politicians <ul><li>Accusations of anti-intellectualism are often made between political opponents. Liberals may claim that conservative beliefs about foreign affairs stem from ignorance, poor education and lack of awareness of the issues involved – and as such are anti-intellectual. The conservatives generally counter by claiming the exactly the same thing about liberals. </li></ul><ul><li>It may have been George W. Bush’s anti-intellectual style that got him elected, largely in part to the large amount of the population that believed he was more of a regular guy. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Skepticism of Authority <ul><li>For the most part, our skepticism of “experts” is derived from the idea that they may be an expert but can the claim be made without being subjective. After all, who’s to say someone else’s opinion is better than our own? </li></ul><ul><li>Experience is not the same as expertise. </li></ul><ul><li>Other times, the opinion of an expert is not only irrelevant, but useless for matters than cannot be known. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Why are we skeptical <ul><li>The resistance to expertise comes partly from our ideas of democracy, that all voices are heard and therefore must all have equal value. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Despite all of this we still trust the expert <ul><li>Perhaps this is because we want to be told what to do; to have that guidance that relieves us of the burden of being all knowing. </li></ul>