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Anti-Intellectualism and the "Dumbing Down" of America | Psychology Today

Anti-Intellectualism and the "Dumbing Down" of America | Psychology Today


There is a growing and disturbing trend of anti-intellectual elitism in American culture. It’s the dismissal of science, the arts, and humanities and their replacement by entertainment, self-righteousness, ignorance, and deliberate gullibility.

..."Dumbness, to paraphrase the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, has been steadily defined downward for several decades, by a combination of heretofore irresistible forces. These include the triumph of video culture over print culture; a disjunction between Americans' rising level of formal education and their shaky grasp of basic geography, science and history; and the fusion of anti-rationalism with anti-intellectualism." There has been a long tradition of anti-intellectualism in America, unlike most other Western countries. ... describes how the vast underlying foundations of anti-elite, anti-reason and anti-science has been infused into America’s political and social fabric. Famous science fiction writer Isaac Asimov once said: "There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." ...We’re creating a world of dummies. Angry dummies who feel they have the right, the authority and the need not only to comment on everything, but to make sure their voice is heard above the rest, and to drag down any opposing views through personal attacks, loud repetition and confrontation.

Bill Keller, writing in the New York Times (link is external) argues that the anti-intellectual elitism is not an elitism of wisdom, education, experience or knowledge. The new elite are the angry social media posters, those who can shout loudest and more often, a clique of bullies and malcontents baying together like dogs cornering a fox. Too often it’s a combined elite of the anti-intellectuals and the conspiracy followers – not those who can voice the most cogent, most coherent response. Together they ferment a rabid culture of anti-rationalism where every fact is suspect; every shadow holds a secret conspiracy. Rational thought is the enemy. Critical thinking is the devil’s tool.

Keller also notes that the herd mentality takes over online; the anti-intellectuals become the metaphorical equivalent of an angry lynch mob when anyone either challenges one of the mob beliefs or posts anything outside the mob’s self-limiting set of values.

Stashed in: Stupidity!

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I'm not sure where I stand on this. It's good to find common ground, right?

yet you believe facts exist?

Of course, they only need to be revealed and discovered.  Often, they are hiding just underneath imaginary facts, which are not like imaginary numbers at all.  Yet it often takes imagination to see them.

Jared I do believe facts exist.

But I also fill this website with animated gifs.

And I understand how powerful belief is, even when it contradicts the facts. 

"But I also fill this website with animated gifs." #ftw

LOL pandawhale: where highbrow meets lowbrow.

Now where's that Arianny Celeste dressed as a Princess Leia dancing gif I saw earlier today on Reddit?

(goes to look for it)

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