For the ages For Hofstadter, pictured here in , anti-intellectualism was an unavoidable part of a democratic society. (Erich Hartmann / Magnum Photos). Anti-intellectualism in American Life was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Non- Fiction. It is a book which throws light on many features of the American. Tonight I began a six-week session leading a Newberry Library seminar on Richard Hofstadter’s Anti-Intellectualism in American Life.

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Anti-Intellectualism in American Life

Hofstadter argues that, since the s, fundamentalism has become a fixture of the extreme political right, and from there, infused itself in the American worldview Towards the end of his analysis of evangelism in the U. When may we look less of true originality he asked than at a time when every child is taught to anti-intelletcualism this inane self-laudation and all distinction of individual thought is lost because no man has room for anything else than a barren idea of progress, a contempt for the past and a blinding reverence for an unknown future?

America has long, deep-rooted traditions that downplay and push away intellectual thought, something that in Europe is, at least, more appreciated in an overall sense. That underfunding reminds those of us in the MUS professoriate of our place. Parents saw the world demanding more anti-intellectulism skills. These may seem strange attributes for intellectuals who might well be atheist scientists or equally might be engaged in work of the utmost solemnity.

The intellectual turns answers into more questions.

But he does plot some of the baleful consequences of an exclusive commitment to egalitarianism as manifested in public schools, for example. Intellectualism declined sharply in stature after its heyday in the early American Republic. Being uneducated, they couldn’t see what the intellectuals were doing, and financed the war hofstaeter them [by donating large sums of money to universities and education].

I was surprised at how much of the information in the book sort of ingratiated itself into my mind and became natural, like a re-interpretation of common knowledge.


I hofstadtef up hofdtadter this up a couple of years later. Eggheads make good targets for myriad frustrations and hostilities. I dunno, maybe I just had the wrong idea about what this book was setting out to do to begin with, as, like I said above, I thought it was going to focus much more on the really nasty nativist, racist, patriarchal, etc strands of Hotstadter anti-intellectualism than it did. Intellectuals doubt their own reason and anti-intellectuals have no doubts in their own certainty.

Aug 01, Shelley rated it liked it Shelves: The intelligent person has clear goals that can easily be appreciated by anyone.

Tim Lacy March 2, 2. The big question that has stayed with me is the question of different definitions of equality that turns up in the book, particularly in the opposition that some make between democracy and intellectualism. Success depended on skilled recruiting and religion that was readily accessible. In the succession of scapegoats chosen by the followers of this tradition of Know-Nothings, the intelligentsia have at last in our time found a place.

It traces periods of intellectual flourishing as well as the reactions against them, from the deeply intellectual Founding Fathers to the incoherent and incandescent anti-intellectual aggression of the McCarthy era. Anti-untellectualism that Trump, that “stable genius,” is our president, perhaps I should read it again. In early 19th century a second wave of evangelicalism changed Protestantism in America.

His objection to big business was more to help small business than the working man. As a long-term employee of what was called, for nearly half a century, Montana State Normal College, I find Hofstadter’s critique of public and higher education particularly painful. Better to bring your son to work than to read to him. Hofstadter makes the case, for example, that Dewey’s definition of education as growth of the child without end or hofstadyer is fraught with problems, and that his conception of curriculum remained, of necessity, vague.

And the history presented shows that America will continue to deal with bias against some of the most intelligent member of society for many years to come. Looking for More Great Reads? Lists with This Book. That’s how I see it. They shy away from any taint of elitism, one result of which has been, in the past generation, a significant shift to private schools or hofstadteer schooling.


Anti-Intellectualism in American Life | work by Hofstadter |

According to this conviction, positions of power presumably corrupt the intellectual more than others–you know, those regular guys at the bar.

Nov 09, Jonathan rated it it was amazing.

Want to Read saving…. This anti-intellectualism has had a long history and staying power. Colleges have been accused of turning out socialists for years. That “widely felt” is the giveaway, particularly at polling booths.

In many sections of these chapters, the eyes of the non-specialist might glaze over, or at least begin skimming, yet the cumulative evidence concerning those patterns convinces the reader. I feel only marginally better studying Hofstadter’s history of the big anti-intellectua,ism between our deep-rooted valuation hofstaster a common school system and the chronic calls for educational reform.

Certainly Anti-Intellectualism earned Hofstadter high praise, and remains one of the definitive words on the subject. What I fear is a government of experts.

If the myth of the common man’s wisdom explains the marginalization of intellectuals in most of our federal history, the “mystique of practicality,” which Hofstadter calls “spiritually crippling”explains the traditional polarity between the realm of business and the realm of the intellect. As a result of misapplied Deweyan progressivism, itself fundamentally inconsistent, public education has pushed the smart ohfstadter aside: Hofstadter certainly does not say this, but he did make me think it: That lower ranking is not unrelated to Hofstadter’s conclusion in one of his education chapters: From Washington through the John Quincy Adams administration, men of learning and accomplishment were sought for government work.