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Why The Perception Of Anti-Intellectualism?

Over in TheSophist’s thread, he concludes that the problem the GOP has with Asian Americans from the Northeast Triad has to do with the perception of the GOP as anti-intellectual.

To which KC Mullville asked:

What accounts for the perception of anti-intellectualism?

This is a good question. It should be addressed.

This perception is perva…

  1. Rachel Lu
    C

    In a nutshell, Fred, the problem is this: if you aren’t a simple-minded materialist, you will be labeled anti-science. Sweeping this or that group of oddballs under the rug will be of minimal help. Most Republicans believe in God; therefore they must be anti-intellectual, anti-science reactionaries. That’s how liberals tend to see it.

    Which is all very funny, of course, because the right has far more intellectual energy, and intellectual *consistency*, than the left.

  2. Mr. Bildo

    I am literally surrounded by liberals in my daily life. Everyone I work with is a flaming liberal, save one guy who admitted to me he’s in the closet about his politics. That’s the setup.

    Universally, without exception, the number one reason all the people I know think Republicans are anti-intellectual is because of religion. The perception is that *all* Republicans are bible-banging stereotypes. To them, science and religion cancel each other out.

    For many of my peers they don’t know anything about conservatism beyond the “god thing”. When I have discussed this with them politically, they just can’t wrap their head around any ideas espoused by people who believe in magic and the boogeyman. It’s futile to discuss anything with them if you are a Christian. You and your ideas are immediately dismissed. 

    A lot of the same people I work with now all worked at another place and my (ex)BIL, who is a SoCon would talk economics with them and they dismissed him out of hand. I would make the same points and they would at least accept them as rational. The exact same points.

    It’s all about perception.

  3. The King Prawn

    What you miss, Fred, is that the left elevates science to a religion. Those of us on the right aren’t anti-intellectual; rather, we practice a different religion than those on the left. We’ve seen how those religious wars go everywhere else in the world, why should here be any different.

  4. Fred Cole
    Rachel L.: In a nutshell, Fred, the problem is this: if you aren’t a simple-minded materialist, you will be labeled anti-science. Sweeping this or that group of oddballs under the rug will be of minimal help. Most Republicans believe in God; therefore they must be anti-intellectual, anti-science reactionaries. That’s how liberals tend to see it.

    But it doesn’t need to be that way.  Most religious people aren’t anti- science.  They need not be.  But public perception is fueled by the actions of politicians and pundits on the right pandering to the anti-science crowd.

  5. Fred Cole
    The King Prawn: What you miss, Fred, is that the left elevates science to a religion. Those of us on the right aren’t anti-intellectual; rather, we practice a different religion than those on the left. We’ve seen how those religious wars go everywhere else in the world, why should here be any different. · 1 minute ago

    I’m sorry, but this is the problem.  What you just said is a major cop-out because it created a false dichotomy.  Either science or religion, as though the two are the same thing.

    First of all, science is science.  Religion is the worship of a supernatural being.  Science doesn’t do that.  Science doesn’t worship anything.  Claiming that the left has made science into a religion is to damn science as being political.

    Science isn’t political.  It shouldn’t be.  Science is science.  No one political side has a monopoly on its practice or findings.

  6. R. Craigen

    There are two related problems, Fred.  

    One is a barrage of liberal talking points that have become accepted wisdom.  They are full of falsehoods and distortions, but through repetition seem real, often in the face of countervailing facts, even to those who ought to know better. Nowadays it is common to hear these lies forecefully asserted with no actual evidence, and the assertion alone is believed sufficient to close an argument.

    The second problem is well-intentioned conservatives who, of all people, should know better, who may winnow out one or two of these narratives but largely accept the lot.

    Your list suggests to me that you’ve got a foot pretty far into the second territory.  Consider your point 1.  You point out that the standard for boneheads is higher for conservatives.   But you seem to hold to this standard yourself, considering your examples.  Maybe Akin is a bonehead.  But unless you know something I don’t know, we have only one public statement to go on, one he has repeatedly tried to walk back. A clear example of manufactured narrative for reputation destruction — and you accept it.  Same with Palin.

  7. Severely Ltd.

    One of the key areas in which Materialist Liberals are consistently anti-science is the nature/nurture debate. The strong influence of genes on behavior is resisted by them, I believe, because they have no basis for a truly free will, and ceding ground to genetics just makes it all the more obvious and disturbing.

    Those of us that accept a transcendental basis for free-will can acknowledge the effect of genetics because we know it doesn’t trump our will.

  8. Severely Ltd.
    Fred Cole

    The King Prawn: What you miss, Fred, is that the left elevates science to a religion. Those of us on the right aren’t anti-intellectual; rather, we practice a different religion than those on the left. We’ve seen how those religious wars go everywhere else in the world, why should here be any different. · 1 minute ago

    I’m sorry, but this is the problem.  What you just said is a major cop-out because it created a false dichotomy.  Either science or religion, as though the two are the same thing.

    First of all, science is science.  Religion is the worship of a supernatural being.  Science doesn’t do that.  Science doesn’t worship anything.  Claiming that the left has made science into a religion is to damn science as being political.

    Science isn’t political.  It shouldn’t be.  Science is science.  No one political side has a monopoly on its practice or findings. · 9 minutes ago

    Science isn’t at odds with spiritual truth and while science shouldn’t be politicized, it certainly has been.

  9. R. Craigen

    You’ve been trained — trained! — by the media to focus on a small collection of things Palin has said, like the bit about vaccines.  To characterize her by these and ignore her remarkable accomplishments in public office is simple narrative-building.  ”Openly anti-inellectual and clearly uncurious”?  Again, you’re just buying the MSM-packaged version, which to me suggest of incuriosity on your part.

    I’ll leave your point 2 because theres some … some … substance to it.

    Your point 3:  Can you name a prominent example of “climate change denial”?  I happen to stay up on the AGW skeptic movement, and I don’t know of any principle figures there who deny that climate changes.  In fact, that’s the point — healthy climate changes, period.  It is alarmism they are skeptical of, and they hold — correctly in my view — that AGW is a small effect of little concern.  ”Climate change denial” is a ludicrous straw man constructed by their opponents.  As for the “broad scientific consensus” you claim to  accept, really?  Are you speaking of the same consensus that convinced the BBC guys?  (See Delingpole’s piece.)

    They have the narrative because we cede it to them.

  10. Guruforhire

    But the problem with AGW is that there is no actual science there based upon your own definition.  Its very bad and very flawed statistical analysis and computer models designed to produce a predetermined outcome and this has been known for about 20 years.

    There is not one single demonstrable repeatable phenomenon.  The entire “science” is a pascal’s wager wrapped around an untestable hypothesis.  This makes it religion.  It only took them 30 years or so to invent simony and indulgences.

    Its interesting, the more educated a conservative gets, the less likely they are to accept it.

  11. Mr. Bildo

    Last time I checked, Fred doesn’t own and dictate the perception of Republican’s. He simply pointed out that the perception exists and why he thought that was.

    It’s funny, but I haven’t seen anyone here deny that perception exists.

    In fact, most of you seem content with it…

  12. Schrodinger
    19

    For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”

    20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

     1 Cor 1:19-25

  13. R. Craigen

    Sorry to triple-post but I’ll make a positive comment inspired by Mr B here.  I recently had a faculty lounge conversation with a fellow professor, a “flaming liberal” as Mr B says.  It started with my advocacy work on math education, and he asked why so many educators accept the false premises that have gotten us into trouble.

    I said it is because of the use of language, and (stupidly) gave the example of the abortion debate and how terms like “pro-choice” and “pro-life” distract from the issues to frame discourse artificially.

    The conversation drifted into that field — not my intention — and I was shocked to find that although we were poles apart on it, we quickly found common ground.  Rather than getting into the details I’ll say that if we were opposing sitting members of parliament we could have agreed on the wording of a bill on abortion that was a reasonable compromise from both of our perspectives.  This was largely because we agreed to discard the stereotypes and talk about the actual issues.

  14. The King Prawn
    Fred Cole

    I’m sorry, but this is the problem.  What you just said is a major cop-out because it created a false dichotomy.  Either science or religion, as though the two are the same thing.

    First of all, science is science.  Religion is the worship of a supernatural being.  Science doesn’t do that.  Science doesn’t worship anything.  Claiming that the left has made science into a religion is to damn science as being political.

    Science isn’t political.  It shouldn’t be.  Science is science.  No one political side has a monopoly on its practice or findings. · 21 minutes ago

    Wrong. Both are statements claiming to be truth concerning the natural world. The right says both statements can be congrous. The left, however, states that they are mutually exclusive.

    And I didn’t say science worships anything. I said the left worships science. There is a difference.

  15. Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr.

    Fred, I had exactly the same reaction to TheSophist’s post, and considered posting something similar here. I’m becoming convinced that this anti-intellectualism label is by far the most important issue the Right needs to address — not just for Asian-Americans, but for everyone.

    (My only disagreement is with some of what you say about climate change. I agree with you that climate change is real. The debate, in my mind, is about anthropogenic climate change. About that I am not convinced.)

    There’s a reason Republicans are the butt of jokes among smart, Internet-savvy young people. The stereotypes are unfair, but they aren’t created out of thin air. We will never win these people over as long as they believe that conservatives are irrational and stupid.

    There is a long, long tradition of real scholarship among the religious. (Indeed, for most of human history, “scholarship” and “religion” were the same thing.) One aspect of this tradition is the ability to reconcile religious belief with science, by acknowledging that religion is outside the realm of science. It should be outside the realm of government and politics. (See also: Amendment One.)

  16. Edward Smith

    I am a proud Anti-Intellectual.

    Because too many of the Intellectuals I have met are Merely Clever.

    They ponce around showing off all the Information they have stored up like Smaug with his gold and jewels, but that’s all they ever do with the Information.

    This is the weakness of the Liberal Intellectual.  And can be the strength of the Conservative Ant-Intellectual.

    They say we don’t know as much as them, that we don’t want to learn. 

    I say that I have learned and cast aside as useless more than they can ever know.

  17. Guruforhire

    That said, I think the broader challenge and root of the whole thing is the liberal faith in the social sciences and technocracy.  They fundamentally believe that society can be engineered, and that people are machines that need maintenance, and that society is a system that can be manipulated towards their own ends.  Failure to submit to the technocracy is called anti-intellectualism, even though it is an intellectual position that is and has been defensible for as long as young earth creationists believe the world has been around.

    You are putting liberals on a pedestal, Fred.  They are prone to their own conceits, they just believe their conceits are intellectualism.

    Liberalsim = intellectualism.  Their thinking and self image is really that simple.

    Disagreement about anything = rejecting science and reality.

    They honestly believe that petty tax increases and ending the wars will make government affordable.  They are smart and conservatives are stupid and therefor 1.2 trillion a year can be resolved because Rachel Maddow says it can be resolved by inconsequential tax hikes and 200 billion in defense cuts.  They don’t have to KNOW things.

    And they call this math.

  18. Fred Cole
    R. Craigen: 

    One is a barrage of liberal talking points that have become accepted wisdom.  They are full of falsehoods and distortions, but through repetition seem real, often in the face of countervailing facts, even to those who ought to know better. Nowadays it is common to hear these lies forecefully asserted with no actual evidence, and the assertion alone is believed sufficient to close an argument.

    Talking points are a disgusting phenomenon, but they’re not limited to the left, the right uses them too.  Listen to Sean Hannity and you’ll get them, point by point.  Some have some grounding in reality, some are stupid.  But people on the right do that too.

  19. Austin Murrey

    Fred, you can’t claim science is science in the comments and mention scientific consensus as a determining factor about “climate change” (or global warming or global cooling as it used to be called).  Saying science is settled because a number of people calling themselves scientists agree with a supposition is utterly nonsensical.

    To give you an example I point to plate tectonics (I have a Geology degree so this is my go-to area).  Until the 1960′s anyone who took plate tectonics seriously was considered a crazy in the Geology world – a small number of people persued the theory and finally proved it out, but the consensus up to that point was wrong.

    If consensus settled science you’d be going to the apothecary to have excess humors drained whenever you had a headache.

  20. Fred Cole
    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr.: 

    There is a long, long tradition of real scholarship among the religious. (Indeed, for most of human history, “scholarship” and “religion” were the same thing.) One aspect of this tradition is the ability to reconcile religious belief with science, by acknowledging that religion is outside the realm of science. It should be outside the realm of government and politics. (See also: Amendment One.) · 2 minutes ago

    Seconded.  You’re wrote it better than I could have.

    So long as pundits and politicians on the right pander to the anti-intellectuals, then people on the left will continue to be able to ignore that history of Christian scholarship and smear all Christians as YECs.

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