So Much Passion, So Little Mind

“There is a growing and disturbing trend of anti-intellectual elitism in American culture. It’s the dismissal of science, the arts, and humanities and their replacement by entertainment, self-righteousness, ignorance, and deliberate gullibility.” Ray Williams, Wired for Success

Susan Jacoby, author of The Age of American Unreason, writes in an article for the Washington Post, “Dumbness, to paraphrase the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, has been steadily defined downward for several decades, by a combination of heretofore irresistible forces. These include the triumph of video culture over print culture; a disjunction between Americans’ rising level of formal education and their shaky grasp of basic geography, science and history; and the fusion of anti-rationalism with anti-intellectualism.”

Jacoby doesn’t have to tell us anything about dumbness. We see it all around us, in our uneducated offspring, in academia, in politics, in Congress, ad nauseam. Common sense has gone the way of the Do-Do bird. What we see before us is a world of angry dummies who feel that they have the right not to be offended, the need to be right about everything and the right to do whatever validates them. Our educational system, long controlled by left-wing forces, has brainwashed our children into submission, squashing their natural curiosity and robbing them of their individuality. By the time they enter college they are well trained little Stafford children and by the time they graduate all they can do is ape their professors’ own leftist ideas.

Take the latest left-wing assault on commonsense, so-called white privilege for example. It has become an article of faith, a dogma, a negative that, like the existence of God, can’t be disproved. It is the article of faith on which many other falsehoods depend. For example, implicit bias, which, while it does exist, just like white privilege is in most instances an irrational fallacy, a mad projection. It has the same unarguable logical structure as white privilege, that is to say, to shut down debate through emotive force for an unchallengeable demand for social justice.

Social justice is another dogma and its value also resides in sheer emotional impact to inflame the righteous mind with what it feels certain is the truth, while also obscuring the unpalatable complexity of things. So too is John Rawls insane work, A Theory of Justice in which he proposes the use of an “artificial device” he loves to call the Original position where everyone decides what the principles of justice mean to them from behind a ‘veil of ignorance’ which he claims will lead to equality for everyone. I’m ashamed to say we’ve already reached that “veil of ignorance.”

In a recent survey by the Brookings Institution of 1,500 current undergraduates, to the question of whether a student or group of students had the right to shout down or otherwise disrupt a speaker who they believe is “known for making offensive and hurtful statements,” 51% answered that they found such a tactic justifiable. Think about that – ponder the implications, especially as it regards America’s future.

Here is the coming monstrosity of power, the sentimental authoritarian mind. What happened to free speech, the freedom to disagree and therefore offend without which we cannot argue our way toward the best means of dealing with our never ending problems?

Our students, who are our future, instead of being taught to think for themselves, instead of nurturing the ability to learn from experience itself, whose greatest fruit is wisdom, now perceive reality in terms of theoretical deduction rather than observation or experience. To be sure, many of these students mean well; thinking they are on the side of social justice, standing up for the oppressed. So much passion, yet so little mind. They are like a high speed train without a conductor.

Freedom, whose endless challenges are complex, reflecting the very character of life itself, amounts to endless tradeoffs and compromises, not preconceived solutions. Freedom cannot survive when so many of the nation’s “educated” citizens are hell bent on making reality conform to their vain expectations.

John Adams, a keen psychologist like so many of the Founding Fathers, wrote: “Be not intimidated…nor suffer yourselves to be wheeled out of your liberties by any pretense or politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery, and cowardice.”  If we but walk in this illumination we will forever reserve patriotism and the common good  from the left’s self-destructive fantasy.

“The rise of idiot America today represents–for profit mainly, but also and more cynically, for political advantage in the pursuit of power–the breakdown of a consensus that the pursuit of knowledge is a good. It also represents the ascendancy of the notion that the people whom we should trust the least are the people who best know what they are talking about. In the new media age, everybody is an expert.” Charles Pierce, Idiot America

Source:  Anti-Intellectualism and The “Dumbing Down” of America by Ray Williams; Ordinary People Against the multiculturalist Intellectuals by Christopher DeGroot

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