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  •  They ceded intellectuals to the left (1+ / 0-)
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    When Reagan's folk saw an exploit in attacking the culture of the expert, he was trying for American populism, but he took it toward its vicious doppelganger.  What is the difference between Will Rogers and Lonesome Rhodes?

    The press couldn't get enough of Reagan's "just regular folks" presentation, which was an old act, and so they ignored it when he picked up the reverse side of that act and went from, "I may not have a fancy college degree, but good old horse sense tells you that we need to watch those Ruskies" to "These ivory tower snobs have been running things for too long." He made it not just lip service to pretend to anti-intellectualism, but acceptable to be genuinely anti-intellectual.

    W. Bush, we all remember. He sneered at all the experts, and those he inspired were overt in saying that experts had no place in discussions of education, for example (the Texas Curriculum Board). What had begun as hostility toward liberal university culture in the 1960's had moved into opposition to the very idea of study. The brightest flower of the field was, without a doubt, Sarah Palin, who continues to boast of her lack of education.

    In the process, not just the "conservative movement" but the Republican Party cut off their old blue blooded, queasy intellectuals -- no more converts like Dos Passos, no more Buckley's, no more intellectuals of any sort. W. Bush's White House had numerous online degrees and diploma mill qualifications, because the content of the spirit mattered much more than the inventory in the head.

    You and I can stare incredulously, but we have to be honest: experts are under indictment for a reason. The concept of an expert knowing best is hard to swallow, if the process of expertise is closed to you (due to lack of education). It's even more suspect when the experts seem to always say, "Yes, but" rather than, "This is the way" or "That is the answer."

    Intellectuals tergiversate. :-) Our lucubrations yield dark matter.

    We learned, after our own disasters (eugenics, sterilization of "undesirables" as recently as the 1970's in North Carolina, "race science," Dr. Money's gender reassignment work) to be slow with blanket statements. That makes us seem pretty worthless to people who need a fix.

    Everyone is innocent of some crime.

    by The Geogre on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 02:09:46 PM PDT

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