HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Editorials & Other Articles (Forum) » The GOP's Murderous Anti-...

Tue Jul 14, 2020, 09:59 AM

The GOP's Murderous Anti-Intellectualism - Bruce Bartlett/New Republic [View all]


Even those belonging to the conservative intelligentsia have used anti-intellectualism to pursue their agenda. William F. Buckley, the longtime editor of National Review magazine, said he would rather be governed by the first 2,000 names in the phone book than by the Harvard faculty. And like a comedian who will retell the same joke forever as long as it keeps getting laughs, Buckley repeated his line whenever the occasion seemed to call for it. Ironically, Buckley rose to fame largely due to his degree from Yale University, and throughout his life he exaggerated his intelligence by frequently using obscure multisyllable words and Latin phrases. Buckley wasn’t the only one to trade on his Yale degree to belittle knowledge and education even at the highest levels of government. Giving the commencement address at Yale in 2001, George W. Bush, also a graduate of the university, bragged about his modest academic achievements: “To those of you who received honors, awards, and distinctions, I say, well done. And to the C students I say, you, too, can be president of the United States!”

Although Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan also adopted anti-intellectualism as a political strategy, for them it was just a cynical way to cater to widespread distrust of expertise and learning as a brand of elitism. As president, they routinely deferred to experts, scientists, and other intellectuals in developing and implementing their policies. Nixon famously reached out to Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a professor of government at Harvard and well-known Democrat, to work for him in the White House. According to Reagan biographer Lou Cannon, he used the columnist George Will, who studied at Oxford and holds a Ph.D. in politics from Princeton, as a sort of emissary to the intellectual community. And George W. Bush had as his vice president Dick Cheney, a man who had pursued a doctorate in political science at the University of Wisconsin, where his wife, Lynne, got a Ph.D. in British literature.


Two recent academic studies have looked specifically at the Fox News effect on coronavirus knowledge and misunderstanding. “The Persuasive Effect of Fox News: Non-Compliance with Social Distancing During the Covid-19 Pandemic” found that increased Fox News consumption significantly reduced people’s willingness to stay at home during the pandemic. “Misinformation During a Pandemic” exploited differences in perspective between two prime-time Fox shows, one hosted by Sean Hannity and the other by Tucker Carlson. Early in the pandemic, Carlson took a much more serious approach to it and warned of its danger. Meanwhile, Hannity was dismissive, asserting that it was no more of a problem than the seasonal flu and that it was possibly just a Democratic hoax invented to embarrass Trump. The researchers found that the greater the exposure to Hannity’s show, the more likely people were to become infected and die.

There are many other ways in which the anti-intellectualism of Republicans and conservatives is life-threatening. They tend to be highly skeptical toward the existence of global warming, which will have catastrophic effects on weather systems, sea levels, and flooding. They also frequently associate themselves with those who won’t allow themselves or their children to be vaccinated, and refuse to accept any evidence linking gun ownership to mass shootings. They even delude themselves that public opinion polls showing a forthcoming defeat for Trump and Republicans in Congress are simply wrong based on nothing except faith-based disbelief.



4 replies, 715 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 4 replies Author Time Post
Reply The GOP's Murderous Anti-Intellectualism - Bruce Bartlett/New Republic [View all]
hatrack Jul 2020 OP
Bernardo de La Paz Jul 2020 #1
lagomorph777 Jul 2020 #4
empedocles Jul 2020 #2
lagomorph777 Jul 2020 #3