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 pervasive. And it leads people like my cousin to put things like this up as their picture on Facebook:
And he really believes it. He believes that Republicans are anti-science and anti-intellectual. To be sure, people on the left can be anti-science too. This same cousin buys organic peanut butter and is against nuclear power.
But the perception persists and is widespread.
So what accounts for this? Why the perception of anti-intellectualism?
I have identified a few causes:
1. Very public boneheads. That clown Akin springs to mind, because he is recent. His comments showed an utter ignorance of science. No one with any background in science could have said such a thing. Or look at someone like Sarah Palin, who was openly anti-intellectual and clearly uncurious about the world around her and yet celebrated for being both.
You'll say that Democrats do that too. Indeed they do. But the standards are higher for Republicans. That means they need to play a tighter game. And that is not helped by people who furiously defend these boneheads, no matter what asinine comments pass their lips, because the alternative is "worse than Hitler."
2. Pandering to Young Earth Creationists. Witness Marco Rubio doing exactly that. Was it necessary? Do politicians need to pander to such a tiny number of very vocal people?
From the amount of noise they make, people assume that Young Earth Creationism is more common than it actually is. And yet politicians who should know better pander to them. To do so is to feed science denialism.
3. Climate Change Denial - There, I said it. I know its not a popular thing to say here, but climate change is real as far as the latest, best scientific consensus can determine.
(Please note: I am not saying "Climate change is real and therefore we must do X." I am merely accepting the broad scientific consensus.)
Denial of climate change is yet more science denialism. Claiming to be a "skeptic" of climate change, while refusing to engage in actual, you know, skepticism, does a disservice.
knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method
It is our method of rationally examining the facts of reality. Science denialism is literally denying reality.
4. Evolution Denialism - A lot of Republicans are religious. Fine. Many religious people are creationists. However, not all creationists are created equal. Different people believe different things, and believing God created the universe doesn't mean you need to deny evolution.
If you want to be religious, that's fine, but don't try to teach your creation story in science classes in public schools. "Intelligent Design" isn't science. It's religion. And constant evolution denialism and attempts (front door and back door) to get creationism into the classroom feed that perception of anti-intellectualism.
So long as Republicans and conservatives continue to give safe harbor to anti-intellectual politicians, science denialists, evolution denialists, and climate change denialists -- and as long as they pander to those elements of the public that engage in the same -- then people like my cousin will be able to post the above image and perpetuate the perception of anti-intellectualism.