Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The GOP's drift to anti-intellectualism

...The Republican establishment acts as if this season’s goon squad of presidential candidates has come out of nowhere, an act of God — a tsunami that hit the party and receded, leaving nothing but nitwits standing. In column after column, conservative commentators lament the present condition, but not their past acquiescence as their party turned hostile to thought, reason and the two most important words in the English language: It depends.

If you ask me what I think of abortion, I’d say, “It depends.” It depends on whether you’re talking about the ninth month of pregnancy, the first, the health of the mother, the fetus — or, even, the morning-after pill. But in the Republican contest, the answer to the question is always the same: no, no and no again. Thanks for giving the matter such careful thought.

It is the same with taxes. Should they be raised? It depends. It depends on economic and fiscal conditions — and on whose taxes will be raised and by how much. The answer cannot be “No, never.” That’s not an economic position; it is an ideological one and exhibits a closed mind.

Similarly with global warming, GOP candidates are not certain it is exacerbated by industry, auto emissions and such. They take this position not because they have studied the science but because they are opposed to government regulations. They fear the solution more than they do the problem. Some also take a skeptical position regarding the theory of evolution — proof right there that there is something wrong with this theory.

This rampant anti-intellectualism is worrisome. The world is a complex place, but to deal with it, the GOP presented a parade of hopefuls who proposed nostrums or, in the case of Michele Bachmann, peddled false rumors about vaccinations. When this started I cannot say — the late Richard Hofstadter won the Pulitzer Prize for his “Anti-intellectualism in American Life” in 1964 — but the embrace of Sarah Palin by the GOP establishment has got to be noted. The lady has the gift of demagoguery and the required anti-elitism, but she knows next to nothing about almost anything — and revels in her ignorance.
Read the rest here.


Stephen said...

What a doofus. When was the last time you had a pro-life Democrat? 20 years ago? And this guy has to go back to 1964? Old and hoary. All parties work off a template, but between the two the Democrats are the more frozen. Let's face it, all the idea generation and back and forth is on the right (and mainly from Ron Paul) - what do we do with the Fed? Why should we maintain armed forces around the world, and if yes, how? What are the limits and extent of federalism?

More Tired Media preaching to their choir.

DNY said...

"Anti-intellectualism" in politics is often a good thing:

As George Orwell once commented that some ideas are so stupid only an intellectual could believe them.