Anti-intellectualism is a big movement among conservatives in the United States. This is movement that completely baffles me. Apparently they disagree that being smart and informed is good. Whaaa? Why would you think that being knowledgeable and informed is a bad thing?
People seek to be smart and informed because doing so improves their ability to make good decisions. The more you know about reality, the better you can plan to make thinks happen the way you want them to. Knowledge improves your quality of life! Knowledge is power!
The sick thing is that the people who started this movement are extremely smart and intellectual. They knew that by convincing the less intelligent people in America that being smart was a bad thing, they could better control and manipulate them. All they had to do was play on the idea of “smart people think they’re better than you”. Angry insecure idiots would keep the ball moving after the initial push.
This whole anti-intellecualism stems from an anti-elitism movement. Sam Harris wrote a wonderful article defending elitism here.
“Ask yourself: how has “elitism” become a bad word in American politics? There is simply no other walk of life in which extraordinary talent and rigorous training are denigrated. We want elite pilots to fly our planes, elite troops to undertake our most critical missions, elite athletes to represent us in competition and elite scientists to devote the most productive years of their lives to curing our diseases. And yet, when it comes time to vest people with even greater responsibilities [government], we consider it a virtue to shun any and all standards of excellence. When it comes to choosing the people whose thoughts and actions will decide the fates of millions, then we suddenly want someone just like us, someone fit to have a beer with, someone down-to-earth—in fact, almost anyone, provided that he or she doesn’t seem too intelligent or well educated.”