Anti-Intellectualism in American Life

Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 10 months, 3 weeks ago to Culture
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It is the patriots, in particular, who easily deny the Enlightenment that made possible the American Revolution and the political constitution that resulted from it. They did so in the 1800s and the 1900s, and do so today. But they are not alone. Radical progressives use physical force to deny access to campuses by those whose ideas they dislike. It is not just actual “hate speech”- though the Skokie Ruling long ago protected even that – but anything they seem to find worthy of their own hatred.

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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 10 months, 2 weeks ago
    It seems to me as the industrial revolution goes to the next phase, it's even more important to come up with creative ways to use tools to solve users' problems rather than just the practical matter of how to do calculations and use tools.

    But reading this article, I feel like there's a bigger elephant in the room. I think it's called post-modernism, although that may be the wrong word. I learned something of it in school. The idea goes we understand everything through paradigms; we're not saying the fundamental truth for all time. Our models could be wrong. They're often wrong in ways that reflect the power structure in which they were created in, generally the structures that came from Europeans developing technology first and dominating the world. Those power structures keep people oppressed, sometimes horribly. So let's not bother seeking the "truth". The truth is paradigm dependent. Let's focus on whatever models undo those patriarchal, eurocentric power structures.

    I came to think of this as the biggest anti-intellectualism issue. They're right about Europeans not respecting the rights of the hunter-gatherer societies they encountered and that that has repercussions hundreds of years later. But they're wrong in saying that's more important than the truth. I thought this idea is dying, but it has come back with a vengeance, or at least it feels like it because a hardcore denier of reality became president. President Trump gave an interview to the NYT a year ago, in which he suggested various stories they could run, which he said would work for their ratings and help him. The reporters said they would love to get those stories and would be so grateful for the sources to get them even started on digging up evidence so they could break the story. The president said you're basically saying you don't wanna run it. They said they did, but they needed evidence. President Trump said something like, "that's fine you don't want to do it, but I really think it would work for you if you did it." He apparently didn't even understand the very concept of reality. I think he has a much of supporters who think the same way. His worst critics are Sanders supporters who think essentially the same way. I swore I wouldn't get old and say this, but "what's the world coming to!?"

    It's hard for me to focus on your important points about the anti-intellectualism of only wanting to learn immediate job skills when I'm distracted by people who don't even believe in reality. If they don't have a job, it's all a question of what narrative, as in made up story, works best for them.

    Hopefully I'm just crotchety, and the pendulum will swing back. Because sometimes I think this is the Roman Empire. It's decadent, but you don't think about it every day. You go on making aqueducts and roads and other top technologies of the time. The massive borrowing and ignoring reality aren't immediate crises. Life is good. You still call it a "Republic". When you travel, many people already know your language.

    Thanks for reading all that crochetiness. :)
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  • Posted by  $  Dobrien 10 months, 3 weeks ago
    When campuses don’t include ideologically diverse voices and don’t engage seriously with dissenting ideas, students and scholars miss the opportunity for their thinking to be challenged. They don’t get the chance to figure out which ideas hold up within the crucible of open inquiry. Biases go unchecked. Critical thinking is abandoned.
    This might be where anti- intellectivism has some roots.

    Homogeneous: The Political Affiliations of Elite Liberal Arts College Faculty

    There is new evidence about something readers of Academic Questions already know: The political registration of full-time, Ph.D.-holding professors in top-tier liberal arts colleges is overwhelmingly Democratic. Indeed, faculty political affiliations at 39 percent of the colleges in my sample are Republican free—having zero Republicans. The political registration in most of the remaining 61 percent, with a few important exceptions, is slightly more than zero percent but nevertheless absurdly skewed against Republican affiliation and in favor of Democratic affiliation. Thus, 78.2 percent of the academic departments in my sample have either zero Republicans, or so few as to make no difference.
    My sample of 8,688 tenure track, Ph.D.–holding professors from fifty-one of the sixty-six top ranked liberal arts colleges in the U.S. News 2017 report consists of 5,197, or 59.8 percent, who are registered either Republican or Democrat. The mean Democratic-to-Republican ratio (D:R) across the sample is 10.4:1, but because of an anomaly in the definition of what constitutes a liberal arts college in the U.S. News survey, I include two military colleges, West Point and Annapolis.1 If these are excluded, the D:R ratio is a whopping 12.7:1.
    Why Political Homogeneity Is Troubling
    Political homogeneity is problematic because it biases research and teaching and reduces academic credibility. In a recent book on social psychology, The Politics of Social Psychology edited by Jarret T. Crawford and Lee Jussim, Mark J. Brandt and Anna Katarina Spälti, show that because of left-wing bias, psychologists are far more likely to study the character and evolution of individuals on the Right than individuals on the Left.2 Inevitably affecting the quality of this research, though, George Yancey found that sociologists prefer not to work with fundamentalists, evangelicals, National Rifle Association members, and Republicans.3 Even though more Americans are conservative than liberal, academic psychologists’ biases cause them to believe that conservatism is deviant. In the study of gender, Charlotta Stern finds that the ideological presumptions in sociology prevent any but the no-differences-between-genders assumptions of left-leaning sociologists from making serious research inroads. So pervasive is the lack of balance in academia that more than 1,000 professors and graduate students have started Heterodox Academy, an organization committed to increasing “viewpoint diversity” in higher education.4 The end result is that objective science becomes problematic, and where research is problematic, teaching is more so.
    credit bsmith51
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