Sunday, March 9, 2014

David Masciotra: Historian Richard Hofstadter's Warnings About American Anti-Intellectualism are Still Relevant Today

David Masciotra's story at The Daily Beast is linked below.

The Persistence of American Anti-Intellectualism

"Anti-Intellectualism in American Life—one of Hofstadter’s best, among many great books – was a pile of dynamite in 1963, when it was first published and blew a sizable hole in the house of America’s self-comforting delusions of intellectual superiority. In 2014, one can only hope that some of its initial blast still reverberates, as media commentators, university administrators, and even the President, have exposed themselves as adherents to what Hofstadter indicted as the 'lowest common denominator criterion' of thought and 'technician conformity' of lifestyle. Suspicion, and often outright hatred, of ideas is making American culture as riveting as oatmeal. By reading Hofstadter, one learns that the resurgence of a new anti-intellectualism isn’t new, at all. In fact, Hofstadter identified the particularly poisonous strain of the virus that now infects the American mind and kills the imagination."
---David Masciotra, The Daily Beast 

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