HomeTEApublican Smack DownsPapantonio: Epidemic Of Anti-Intellectualism And Anti-Rationalism in America

Papantonio: Epidemic Of Anti-Intellectualism And Anti-Rationalism in America

Super Progressive radio host Mike Papantonio interviewed Susan Jacoby, author of the book The Age of American Unreason. The book is “A cultural history of the last forty years, The Age of American Unreason focuses on the convergence of social forces-usually treated as separate entities-that has created a perfect storm of anti-rationalism. These include the upsurge of religious fundamentalism, with more political power today than ever before; the failure of public education to create an informed citizenry; and the triumph of video over print culture. Sparing neither the right nor the left, Jacoby asserts that Americans today have embraced a universe of “junk thought” that makes almost no effort to separate fact from opinion.”

Papantonio said,

“Anti-intellectualism and anti-rationalism have become almost epidemic in America…Chances are, if you are one of those corporate media-following bone heads who still believe that weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, or Saddam Hussein blew up the Twin Towers, or Obama is a secret Muslim, or Obama wants to take your guns, or Obama has FEMA prison camps set up for Teabag Republicans, then search no further. You truly are the undereducated, child-like, impressionable, irrational, dangerous cog in America’s political system that puts Democracy most at risk.”

Multiple scientific studies confirm the correlation between low IQ and conservatism.



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  1. Raji the Green Witch

    Are WE the people pissed off enough yet?

  2. Canada is on some things worse then us, I repeat Canada is not better. Become friends with Occupy Canada on Facebook. They are doing a very good job of reporting what is happening coast to coast in Canada

  3. The more ground that the far right loses politically & culturally, the more extreme and belligerent they will get.

  4. Isn’t it interesting that the states where the cry for secession, in order to distance themselves from the “takers” in society are all states that get more back from the Federal government than they contribute?

    • I worked a temp. Job once at Idaho State U.and the full time employees that I worked with shocked me when they showed me their food stamp cards.

      • Yep, I have these hard right people telling me all the time how they are sick of paying taxes so all these lazy jerks can get food stamps and not have to work for it. They don’t seem to be able to grasp the fact that the majority of people receiving food stamps are working but don’t make enough to put food on the table.

        • About the food stamps. Yes, I’ve ssen that too. The far right, which is becoming…if it isn’t already there…the dominant and only voice of tha GOP don’t care. They really don’t. They scream about abortion and cut school lunches, child protective services, the list goes on. They don’t care and I don’t get Obama trying to make them care. Anyway, about food stamps, I’ve seem that too and know waitresses, etc in that position. That’s why I “tip” generously when I can. That’s their light bill or food for their kids. I feel it’s up to us to help out if we can.

  5. Nash Equilibrium. The more of the “Fox news bone-heads” we have, the more easily the profitable outcomes can be determined and projected. A capitalist democracy is just naturally weighted in this manner as a product of competition. Here is a simplified scenario; Say you have two companies, one doesn’t choose to exploit the gullible, the other does. The greater the gullible set, the higher the profits for those who exploit this segment of the market. It is rather like brand loyalty.

  6. I think we’re heading either toward another civil war…naybe decades from now, or more likely, we will eventually end up a fascist country. The gradual move through the electoral, legal, and financial influences on the US of far right wing ideology is coldly similar to what transpired in 1937 Germany.

    • We are going to go economically down the tubes without a doubt. The anti-scholarship and wresting on the glorifies pseudo-principles will sink us in a generation and a half. Yes, there will be those who’ll want to carve up the land and other resources. There won’t be a War of the States, per se, but it will get ugly and divisive. The loudest cries for succession will be the sorriest too ultimately.

    • I hadn’t thought about it quite that way, Ken, but you may be onto something here. One of the tools used by Hitler was to unify the populace against a common enemy, the Jews. Today in this country the far right is using Muslims in much the same way. What I find most telling is how they constantly call those who disagree with them “fascists.” Projection?

      • There was a program a few weeks ago on the History2 channel about how the National Socialist Party came to power in Germany through propaganda regarding what we are seeing here, demonizing, as ou said Muslims, but also anyone with any education, teachers, lawyers, liberals, moderate Republicans, yanking money from any entity that promotes critical thinking and questioning the far right. Texas even says now they will not teach critical thinking. Schools are so overwhelmed with testing and meeting obnoxious laws about “account!ility,” that they can’t teach courses in government and civics. We now have 47 percent of peple now who can’t name the VP. That’s the idea. Dumb down, intimidate, yank people’s money outof pensions etc and you can say anything to get them to vote your way. That’s what the program outlined on that channel. I watched it and thought, OMG.

      • He’s definitely onto something, I feel the same but the far right has a list of common enemies in our case, muslims, immigrants,the poor etc.

    • Just read what is written by some commentators to confirm the veracity of the reality described by you guys.

    • I think we’re a lot closer to living in a fascist country than most admit, the majority of right-wing ideologies ARE Fascist, and though we have a liberal in the White House,have control (for now) of the House of Representatives, make no mistake the ‘Powers that be’ (through the avenues that you named) are still in charge but only enraged because they are at least temporarily not in ‘complete’ control. Most all of the definitions of a Fascist country have existed for some time already.

  7. We are retired boomers and moving to Israel, where (ironically) religious fundamentalism doesn’t derail government.

  8. I am married to a man who sticks his head in the sand and does nothing to try to convince those who listen to the far right that they are giving up our democracy and all the guns and ammo they can stock up on won’t make any difference.

  9. I agree with the premise. I know that many people have already given up on our democracy. I am encouraging my offspring to leave the US permanently and emigrate to Canada (if they will have us).

    • That is not the answer! If enough of us give up they win. I, for one am not willing to give my country up to a bunch of jack booted thugs and will not surrender to them. Remember what Edmund Burke (ironically a conservative) said, “all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” These far right extremists are pure evil and I won’t let them destroy my country without a fight.

  10. Where is my first comentary?

  11. The Age of American Unreason (Vintage) [Paperback]

  12. And maybe this is next to violence and stress, the main problem in USA.

  13. 12 years ago comes to USA and then trancurrido time, I am still surprised of the low cultural level of the average poblacion.Sus rarely visited libraries are for students seeking a textbook that is dwarfed memorizar.El English language increasingly and students of this issue claim that only used 45% of este.La intelligentsia is reduced to tiny elites who, in relation to other countries, including the third world, proportionally represent less than half.
    Just remember saying Senator Marco Rubio: No ideas are needed (Poor Platon …) to get an idea of the magnitude and severity of the problem.
    Note: Example:You now….I get it….

  14. I know from first hand experience that this is all painfully true. I talk to these people every day and the things they “know” to be factual is beyond explanation, the only way to explain it is to accept the fact that they are either too stupid to be educated or are just not interested in being educated. It is not unusual to be belittled by them for using “big words” (usually not really all that big, just clear) and for thinking that I am “better than everyone else because of my education.” They routinely denigrate the very idea of education as something for snobs and “lefties.” What is really funny when they are telling me all of this is the fact that they don’t even realize that my formal education only goes as far as a little bit of college, I just didn’t stop educating myself when I stopped going to school and they think that is unnecessary.

    • Their distrust if scholarship, particularly peer-reviewed science, is astonishing. They are correct in estimating that the United States is going down the toilet – but it isn’t because of our lack of Christian observance, rather their disassembly of the intellectual infrastructure of our society, while the Third World unapologetically is gaining steam against us.

    • I agree Bob, I see all of these things as well, our country has always had a thread of ‘anti-intellectualism’ and ‘anti-rationalism’,varying some in it’s strength or region but what makes it so bewildering of late is that now people’s personal opinions (nothing wrong with having one) are allowed to carry as much weight or even more than an expert’s research and or knowledge. This is VERY dangerous thinking and permeates the ideology of the far right.

What do you think? PLEASE NOTE: AATTP has a no tolerance policy for comments containing racism, personal attacks, vulgarity, profanity or threats.

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