Anti-Intellectualism and the "Dumbing Down" of America

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  • PJ_SoulPJ_Soul Vancouver, BCPosts: 36,172
    edited June 2016
    I wonder if uneducated conservatives (or educated ones, for that matter) ever actually wonder why way more highly educated people are left wing than right wing? Do they ever think that maybe it's knowledge and development of critical thinking skills that makes people move away from right wing ideologies? Or do they think that liberals just don't appreciate the benefits of not getting an education? Or do they think education is actually anti-education? I.e. you enter university like them, and come out liberal and clueless, as though getting a higher education causes people to stop understanding how the world really works (as far as uneducated right wingers are concerned)? I don't want any of this to come off as condescending or as the suggestion that no Republicans are educated, as that's obviously not the case, but I think these questions and the statistics I'm talking about have to be mentioned when discussing this topic, no matter how uncomfortable, especially when confronted by articles like this:

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/201003/why-liberals-are-more-intelligent-conservatives
    Post edited by PJ_Soul on
    With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy. ~ Desiderata
  • Go BeaversGo Beavers Posts: 5,527
    jeffbr said:

    What would be dumb would be accepting that there's a "growing" anti-intellectualism in the country without scientific evidence to support the claim. This would include a valid definition of dumbing down as well as a valid measurement device/survey. This of course would have to be done longitudinally, over time, in order to see if there was a trend. Otherwise, all we have is someone with a Phd writing a Get Off My Lawn! article.

    Trump being the front runner isn't scientific enough for you? :disappointed: If it quacks like anti intellectualism, it is. Spare me the Gran Torino crap.
    Since Americans are so intellectual how come it has taken thus far to rid Trump?
    or should I say begin to rid Trump?
    I said there's no trend of growing anti-intellectualism. Trump isn't going to win if he's the nominee. People that are voting for him or saying they will are the ones who like him, the ones who vote R no matter what, and the ones who hate Hillary.
    What would be dumb would be accepting that there isn't a dumbing down without scientific evidence to support the claim. This would include a valid definition of dumbing down as well as a valid measurement device/survey.

    Or we could just agree that people are sharing opinions and empirical observations. We just happen to disagree. I am pretty confident that there is a growing anti-intellectualism based on things I've read and observed. Appealing to the lowest common denominator in politics, banning/limiting speech and expression on college campuses, Emmy award winning reality TV, the disappearance of newspapers in favor of 140 character tweets, are just a few of the many, many things I see that point to a dumbing down.
    I know I'm disagreeing with people, and I'm explaining why I disagree and the flaws in the linked article. The flaws in the article are more than my opinions. There's an actual scientific method that you apply to research. And yes, people are giving there present time observations, but like the ones you just listed, they have been present for a long long time, just in different forms.
  • SmellymanSmellyman AsiaPosts: 2,737

    What would be dumb would be accepting that there's a "growing" anti-intellectualism in the country without scientific evidence to support the claim. This would include a valid definition of dumbing down as well as a valid measurement device/survey. This of course would have to be done longitudinally, over time, in order to see if there was a trend. Otherwise, all we have is someone with a Phd writing a Get Off My Lawn! article.

    Trump being the front runner isn't scientific enough for you? :disappointed: If it quacks like anti intellectualism, it is. Spare me the Gran Torino crap.
    Since Americans are so intellectual how come it has taken thus far to rid Trump?
    or should I say begin to rid Trump?
    It's almost like you have no idea of this threads premise.
  • PJ_SoulPJ_Soul Vancouver, BCPosts: 36,172
    Smellyman said:

    What would be dumb would be accepting that there's a "growing" anti-intellectualism in the country without scientific evidence to support the claim. This would include a valid definition of dumbing down as well as a valid measurement device/survey. This of course would have to be done longitudinally, over time, in order to see if there was a trend. Otherwise, all we have is someone with a Phd writing a Get Off My Lawn! article.

    Trump being the front runner isn't scientific enough for you? :disappointed: If it quacks like anti intellectualism, it is. Spare me the Gran Torino crap.
    Since Americans are so intellectual how come it has taken thus far to rid Trump?
    or should I say begin to rid Trump?
    It's almost like you have no idea of this threads premise.
    Also, "to rid Trump" makes no grammatical sense.
    With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy. ~ Desiderata
  • MalrothMalroth broken down chevroletPosts: 1,449
    :dizzy:
    The worst of times..they don't phase me,
    even if I look and act really crazy.
  • seanwonseanwon Albany, NYPosts: 195

    seanwon said:


    I said there's no trend of growing anti-intellectualism.

    Yeah, I don't know. I seem to hear a lot of Conservatives attacking education in recent years. Telling people college is a waste of time because the professors are all "commies", and they are teaching all our kids to be "Socialists". I don't recall hearing that talk 10 years ago, it seems to be a somewhat recent thing.

    I'm a recent college grad and have been talked down to in political discussion for the fact that I graduated college. I went to school for engineering, yet some people still insist that my political views all came from my liberal hippy socialist professors..
    Yup, and it is never too long into the debate before you hear the "just because you have an education doesn't mean you're smart" card.

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  • seanwon said:

    seanwon said:


    I said there's no trend of growing anti-intellectualism.

    Yeah, I don't know. I seem to hear a lot of Conservatives attacking education in recent years. Telling people college is a waste of time because the professors are all "commies", and they are teaching all our kids to be "Socialists". I don't recall hearing that talk 10 years ago, it seems to be a somewhat recent thing.

    I'm a recent college grad and have been talked down to in political discussion for the fact that I graduated college. I went to school for engineering, yet some people still insist that my political views all came from my liberal hippy socialist professors..
    Yup, and it is never too long into the debate before you hear the "just because you have an education doesn't mean you're smart" card.

    It's true though.
    Some people can tell you the square root of a pickle jar but can't open it.
    Either we are alone in the universe, or we are not. Both ideas are overwhelming. AE
  • hedonisthedonist standing on the edge of foreverPosts: 17,980
    seanwon said:

    seanwon said:


    I said there's no trend of growing anti-intellectualism.

    Yeah, I don't know. I seem to hear a lot of Conservatives attacking education in recent years. Telling people college is a waste of time because the professors are all "commies", and they are teaching all our kids to be "Socialists". I don't recall hearing that talk 10 years ago, it seems to be a somewhat recent thing.

    I'm a recent college grad and have been talked down to in political discussion for the fact that I graduated college. I went to school for engineering, yet some people still insist that my political views all came from my liberal hippy socialist professors..
    Yup, and it is never too long into the debate before you hear the "just because you have an education doesn't mean you're smart" card.

    It's funny...well, not...as I've been looked down upon by some who do have degrees and make assumptions because after high school, I chose to work rather than attend more than one semester of college.

    And I'm doing pretty well on both the life and smart fronts.

    I'd rather reserve opinions of people and their brains, intellect and common sense based on their words and actions, vs a diploma.

    (Street-smarts go a long way too!)
  • gimmesometruth27gimmesometruth27 St. Fuckin LouisPosts: 15,913
    it is duming down the world.

    people who are educated and read books and studied sciences and use big words are attacked as being "elitists" or "liberals", while the less educated seem to resent them and even worse, celebrate their own ignorance.
    "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."- Hemingway

    "i'm not here to start the fire. i am here to fan the flames..."

    If you have never failed, you have never lived.
  • hedonisthedonist standing on the edge of foreverPosts: 17,980
    gimme, I'm not sure what liberalism (or political leanings in general) has to do with using your noggin.
  • gimmesometruth27gimmesometruth27 St. Fuckin LouisPosts: 15,913
    hedonist said:

    gimme, I'm not sure what liberalism (or political leanings in general) has to do with using your noggin.

    people who are more educated tend to lean more liberal and be less myopic. their positions are based on logic and science and date.

    people who are less educated tend to lean more conservative, be more evangelical, and be more focused on their own personal desires.

    i threw in "liberal" because that word is used as an intended slur on social media for people like myself and other progressives.
    "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."- Hemingway

    "i'm not here to start the fire. i am here to fan the flames..."

    If you have never failed, you have never lived.
  • hedonisthedonist standing on the edge of foreverPosts: 17,980
    Interesting. I mean, I know "studies" have been done on that, but I find it somewhat bull-shitty.

    Neither my husband nor I (nor many other so-called uneducated people we know) don't eschew logic, open-mindedness and the beauty of science; in fact, we embrace it.

    I do love giving in to my personal desires though! Doesn't mean it's to the detriment of others.

    Ah well. Interesting to see perceptions, whether my own or those of others.
  • PJ_SoulPJ_Soul Vancouver, BCPosts: 36,172
    It's all just speaking generally Hedo. Generally, these statements are true because there is a whole shitload of dimwits out there, and they are who these studies are about. But we all know that you are not among the dimwits, lol.
    With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy. ~ Desiderata
  • InHiding80InHiding80 Upland,CAPosts: 7,623

    hedonist said:

    gimme, I'm not sure what liberalism (or political leanings in general) has to do with using your noggin.

    people who are more educated tend to lean more liberal and be less myopic. their positions are based on logic and science and date.

    people who are less educated tend to lean more conservative, be more evangelical, and be more focused on their own personal desires.

    i threw in "liberal" because that word is used as an intended slur on social media for people like myself and other progressives.
    I just hope they didn't call you the homophobic slur like that one idiot did to Luke Wilson did in Idiocracy for reading.

    I'd tell those idiots that living and breathing are "liberal" if that's how they feel.
    RIP America (1776-2016)
  • Merkin BallerMerkin Baller Posts: 2,612
    I feel like it's not just America***

    Exhibit A: "Brexit"

    Am I the only person who finds these 'mash-ups' incredibly lazy and annoying or am I just nit-picking? (maybe a little bit of both?)


    *** In fairness though, we probably are leading the charge.

  • PJfanwillneverleave1PJfanwillneverleave1 Posts: 12,520
    edited June 2016
    hedonist said:

    Interesting. I mean, I know "studies" have been done on that, but I find it somewhat bull-shitty.

    Neither my husband nor I (nor many other so-called uneducated people we know) don't eschew logic, open-mindedness and the beauty of science; in fact, we embrace it.

    I do love giving in to my personal desires though! Doesn't mean it's to the detriment of others.

    Ah well. Interesting to see perceptions, whether my own or those of others.

    I like how the "educated" have no effect on you (perceived anyway).
    Post edited by PJfanwillneverleave1 on
    Either we are alone in the universe, or we are not. Both ideas are overwhelming. AE
  • SmellymanSmellyman AsiaPosts: 2,737
    edited June 2016
    hedonist said:

    Interesting. I mean, I know "studies" have been done on that, but I find it somewhat bull-shitty.

    Neither my husband nor I (nor many other so-called uneducated people we know) don't eschew logic, open-mindedness and the beauty of science; in fact, we embrace it.

    I do love giving in to my personal desires though! Doesn't mean it's to the detriment of others.

    Ah well. Interesting to see perceptions, whether my own or those of others.

    Anecdotal evidence does not mean truth. Exceptions to every rule.


    I mean there is a Canadian here who loves Trump. Go figure
    Post edited by Smellyman on
  • hedonisthedonist standing on the edge of foreverPosts: 17,980

    hedonist said:

    Interesting. I mean, I know "studies" have been done on that, but I find it somewhat bull-shitty.

    Neither my husband nor I (nor many other so-called uneducated people we know) don't eschew logic, open-mindedness and the beauty of science; in fact, we embrace it.

    I do love giving in to my personal desires though! Doesn't mean it's to the detriment of others.

    Ah well. Interesting to see perceptions, whether my own or those of others.

    I like how the "educated" have no effect on you (perceived anyway).
    I think your perception of what I said is off.

    People themselves affect - and have an effect - on me. What they've studied or not isn't necessarily a factor.

    Smelly, I'm just not fond of generalizations....in general. Ha! You did make me smile though, and for that I thank you.
  • hedonist said:

    hedonist said:

    Interesting. I mean, I know "studies" have been done on that, but I find it somewhat bull-shitty.

    Neither my husband nor I (nor many other so-called uneducated people we know) don't eschew logic, open-mindedness and the beauty of science; in fact, we embrace it.

    I do love giving in to my personal desires though! Doesn't mean it's to the detriment of others.

    Ah well. Interesting to see perceptions, whether my own or those of others.

    I like how the "educated" have no effect on you (perceived anyway).
    I think your perception of what I said is off.

    People themselves affect - and have an effect - on me. What they've studied or not isn't necessarily a factor.

    Smelly, I'm just not fond of generalizations....in general. Ha! You did make me smile though, and for that I thank you.
    How so?
    Either we are alone in the universe, or we are not. Both ideas are overwhelming. AE
  • hedonisthedonist standing on the edge of foreverPosts: 17,980

    hedonist said:

    hedonist said:

    Interesting. I mean, I know "studies" have been done on that, but I find it somewhat bull-shitty.

    Neither my husband nor I (nor many other so-called uneducated people we know) don't eschew logic, open-mindedness and the beauty of science; in fact, we embrace it.

    I do love giving in to my personal desires though! Doesn't mean it's to the detriment of others.

    Ah well. Interesting to see perceptions, whether my own or those of others.

    I like how the "educated" have no effect on you (perceived anyway).
    I think your perception of what I said is off.

    People themselves affect - and have an effect - on me. What they've studied or not isn't necessarily a factor.

    Smelly, I'm just not fond of generalizations....in general. Ha! You did make me smile though, and for that I thank you.
    How so?
    Really? You thought I'm unaffected by people who've earned degrees and whatnot.

    Not the case, and said so. It's more about character for me than anything else.

    Easy-peasy if you re-read!
  • InHiding80InHiding80 Upland,CAPosts: 7,623
    Smellyman said:

    hedonist said:

    Interesting. I mean, I know "studies" have been done on that, but I find it somewhat bull-shitty.

    Neither my husband nor I (nor many other so-called uneducated people we know) don't eschew logic, open-mindedness and the beauty of science; in fact, we embrace it.

    I do love giving in to my personal desires though! Doesn't mean it's to the detriment of others.

    Ah well. Interesting to see perceptions, whether my own or those of others.

    Anecdotal mean does not mean truth. Exceptions to every rule.


    I mean there is a Canadian here who loves Trump. Go figure
    And before he got bashed by him, his name was Ted Cruz.
    RIP America (1776-2016)
  • InHiding80InHiding80 Upland,CAPosts: 7,623

    I feel like it's not just America***

    Exhibit A: "Brexit"

    Am I the only person who finds these 'mash-ups' incredibly lazy and annoying or am I just nit-picking? (maybe a little bit of both?)


    *** In fairness though, we probably are leading the charge.

    Sounds like the name of an anti depressant or viagra drug. John Oliver said it sounded like the name of a healthy candy bar.
    RIP America (1776-2016)
  • rgambsrgambs Posts: 8,812
    edited June 2016
    I think focusing on higher education is getting off track from the point.
    Like Jedi Hedo I have no degree, yet I've never met anyone with any level of education that has also read the entire First Folio. I know as much about physics and biology, economics and history, philosophy, politics, and literature as any bachelor's or master's holder I know, including my wife, who is a physician.
    It's because we, Jedi Hedo and I, are not anti-intellectual. I know of people who have bach degrees that haven't read a book or serious article in decades... They don't learn and they don't want to learn, they just want to watch The Voice, CSI, sports or whatever other drivel it is that drips out of the television and seeps into their algae filled skulls.
    That is the dumbing down of America. Folks who's entire political opinion is formed from the ads the superpacs run during reality tv shows.

    It isn't about what you've learned in your past, it's about whether you are open to learning in your future, and whether you take the steps to do so or if you wallow among the Duck Dynasty fans. You show me a Duck Dynasty fan and I will show you someone who can't explain what E=MC2 means, or who can't recognize a bicameral legislature even though they are governed by one.
    Post edited by rgambs on
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  • hedonisthedonist standing on the edge of foreverPosts: 17,980
    gambo :clap:
  • rgambs said:

    I think focusing on higher education is getting off track from the point.
    Like Jedi Hedo I have no degree, yet I've never met anyone with any level of education that has also read the entire First Folio. I know as much about physics and biology, economics and history, philosophy, politics, and literature as any bachelor's or master's holder I know, including my wife, who is a physician.
    It's because we, Jedi Hedo and I, are not anti-intellectual. I know of people who have bach degrees that haven't read a book or serious article in decades... They don't learn and they don't want to learn, they just want to watch The Voice, CSI, sports or whatever other drivel it is that drips out of the television and seeps into their algae filled skulls.
    That is the dumbing down of America. Folks who's entire political opinion is formed from the ads the superpacs run during reality tv shows.

    It isn't about what you've learned in your past, it's about whether you are open to learning in your future, and whether you take the steps to do so or if you wallow among the Duck Dynasty fans. You show me a Duck Dynasty fan and I will show you someone who can't explain what E=MC2 means, or who can't recognize a bicameral legislature even though they are governed by one.

    Duck Dynasty is a nice break from reality.
    I :heart: Duck Dynasty so hard.
    Those guys are the smart ones making money with their own show.
    Either we are alone in the universe, or we are not. Both ideas are overwhelming. AE
  • There's formal education, but it's not the only form of education. Hedo, RG, and Drowned are three, self-professed 'uneducated' people that are as smart as anyone.

    The mind needs to be exercised and the aforementioned work their's. Some people shut the door a long time ago- stagnation and regression occurs. In essence, just as sedentary lifestyles result in fat and useless bodies... intellectual laziness results in an unfit mind that becomes dangerous in a democracy (the need for exercise speaks to the value of places like the MT).

    I think technology is making us dumb. I could list countless items that demand less of us, but I'll only mention one to make my point: GPS. No map reading... just listen to the voice idiot.
    "My brain's a good brain!"
  • PJfanwillneverleave1PJfanwillneverleave1 Posts: 12,520
    edited June 2016

    There's formal education, but it's not the only form of education. Hedo, RG, and Drowned are three, self-professed 'uneducated' people that are as smart as anyone.

    The mind needs to be exercised and the aforementioned work their's. Some people shut the door a long time ago- stagnation and regression occurs. In essence, just as sedentary lifestyles result in fat and useless bodies... intellectual laziness results in an unfit mind that becomes dangerous in a democracy (the need for exercise speaks to the value of places like the MT).

    I think technology is making us dumb. I could list countless items that demand less of us, but I'll only mention one to make my point: GPS. No map reading... just listen to the voice idiot.

    I agree technology is making us dumb.
    I disagree that Hedo, RG are "uneducated", they have exquisite opinions and have a keen sense of the outside world.
    Either we are alone in the universe, or we are not. Both ideas are overwhelming. AE
  • hedonisthedonist standing on the edge of foreverPosts: 17,980

    rgambs said:

    I think focusing on higher education is getting off track from the point.
    Like Jedi Hedo I have no degree, yet I've never met anyone with any level of education that has also read the entire First Folio. I know as much about physics and biology, economics and history, philosophy, politics, and literature as any bachelor's or master's holder I know, including my wife, who is a physician.
    It's because we, Jedi Hedo and I, are not anti-intellectual. I know of people who have bach degrees that haven't read a book or serious article in decades... They don't learn and they don't want to learn, they just want to watch The Voice, CSI, sports or whatever other drivel it is that drips out of the television and seeps into their algae filled skulls.
    That is the dumbing down of America. Folks who's entire political opinion is formed from the ads the superpacs run during reality tv shows.

    It isn't about what you've learned in your past, it's about whether you are open to learning in your future, and whether you take the steps to do so or if you wallow among the Duck Dynasty fans. You show me a Duck Dynasty fan and I will show you someone who can't explain what E=MC2 means, or who can't recognize a bicameral legislature even though they are governed by one.

    Duck Dynasty is a nice break from reality.
    I :heart: Duck Dynasty so hard.
    Those guys are the smart ones making money with their own show.
    Ah yes, like the Kardashians and the Duggars and that coddled Boo-Boo girl and her family.

    Capitalizing on whatever they can - which is great, the freedom to do that - but are they smart? Not so sure.

    Thirty, thank you :) And agreed about technology...progress laced with ramifications...and much of the latter is being revealed over time. You mention GPS and make me think of where our autos are going.

    I don't want my car to "drive" itself, and I don't want my car making decisions for me. I can check my side and rearview mirrors myself, I can drive defensively, I can parallel park myself, I can back up myself without beeping sensors.

    I can just pay attention while manning a machine that potentially can kill.

    (And of course technology plays a huge positive role in modern life; I just think in many ways, we're relinquishing the ability to think for ourselves. Je refuse!)
  • PJ_SoulPJ_Soul Vancouver, BCPosts: 36,172
    I don't think the argument is about a lack of formal education or smart folks without it (i work at a university, and God knows I am aware that some people are education elitists, and it is super irritating and not rooted in logic, I totally agree). It's about attitudes towards the formally educated, I.e. a specific rejection of knowledge resulting from education used as a defense against ignorance.
    With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy. ~ Desiderata
  • amethgr8amethgr8 Posts: 490
    Its the rising of the ego.
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