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It would be nice to have an actual article here... I think I might stub it up really badly right now! ħumanUser talk:Human 21:24, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

Not really a movement-[edit]

It's hard to call this a movement, in that people don't really self-identify as being "anti-intellectual," and there isn't a core set of beliefs that bring people together under a banner. Not only is it more like an attitude, it's a interesting one for a few reasons. Some folks that I consider anti-intellectual because they don't read what I read might think the same of me because I don't read the Bible. also, there's a class dimension at work here, or at least a question of cultural capital. While it takes as much smarts to fix a transmission as it does to read Foucault, who's more likely to get called an "intellectual"? And not to make this CP-centric, I remember on more than a few occasions TK calling out one of my socks for elitist intellectual pretensions (moi?!?!?)-- this on a blog owned by a Princeton/Harvard grad. P-Foster (talk) 22:26, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

No, it's definitely not a movement in itself, but it tends to be the glue for a lot of them. Ironically, anti-intellectual movements tend to be populist and "anti-elitist," yet they always produce the most authoritarian, batshit insane leaders (see Hitler, Pol Pot, etc.). I guess once you stop thinking, truth is about whoever yells the loudest.
Also ironically, the "anti-intellectual card" is a useful one for academic bullshitters. I recall Chomsky being denounced by the post-modernists as "anti-intellectual" whenever he called them on their bullshit.

Re, the Bible, I don't know if I'd go so far as to say it's anti-intellectual not to read it, but it's definitely a huge cultural literacy fail. If someone said, "I won't read the Bible, it's just a book written by Iron Age morons about their imaginary skydaddy!" that sounds about the same to my ears as "Durr, I won't read that Richard Dawkins stuff, he's a CommuNazi atheist!"Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 23:36, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

biased strawman arguments[edit]

the entire first sentence sums up the entirety of this biased strawman argument. take it from the horses mouth and look at what they actually say

Liberal ideology, and liberal arguments, have their greatest appeal with intellectual wannabees: people who are long in academic degrees but short in intellectual achievements of their own. Perhaps they genuinely fall for the superficial, fallacious liberal logic, or perhaps they just enjoy the attention and extra income in being pseudo-intellectuals and media-promoted experts.

Sounds to me a lot like hitting all 4 examples given in this article of what isn't anti intellectualism.

The fact that the only concrete examples on this page are "George W. Bush" and "Rick Santorum" as telling as well. Aside from the horrible political angle, there is the issue that no actual quote is held up as an example statement, rather individuals are held up. This is as ridiculous as an article titled "evil" and having its sole concrete example be "Adolf Hitler" (with no explanation of why or how, and note that obvious he was evil, I am criticizing the quality of the hypothetical article). But the heavy political bent of this actually makes it more likely that the examples would be contemporary politicians rather than hitler

Stigma against JAQing off and trolling[edit]

Is the stigma against JAQing off and trolling anti-intellectual? Skepticism might be described as an attitude that includes a questioning mind, being alert to conditions which may indicate possible misstatement due to error or fraud, and a critical assessment of evidence. Yet these are exactly the kinds of qualities and behaviors that are often dismissed as JAQing off and trolling. A devil's advocate is basically a troll; his whole point is to go into an assembly and state a dissident opinion that everyone else is afraid to voice lest it offend someone.

Maybe RationalWiki should elect devil's advocates (DAs) to counterbalance the influence of the elected moderators. The DAs would be immune from being banned for JAQing off or trolling, and their job would be to go around stating and defending unpopular views, and attacking the mainstream views. People could tag articles and statements within articles as being in need of a DA to challenge groupthink (kind of like how any member of Congress can request a GAO investigation into a matter). Probably the DAs should be elected for some lengthy term, kinda like how the Comptroller General of the United States serves for fifteen years. Basically this position would be like an independent inspector-general.

An alternative is for someone to create another wiki to criticize from the outside, but no one feels anymore like going to the trouble to do that, so that won't happen. Landmartian (talk) 04:28, 8 May 2015 (UTC)

Are you trolling? ;) (talk) 04:32, 8 May 2015 (UTC)
(ec with a trolltroll) While not for your more specific reasons of choice, this isn't a theoretically awful idea; that said, I have little desire to attempt its practice. WalkerWalkerWalker 04:33, 8 May 2015 (UTC)
Maybe RationalWiki should elect devil's advocates (DAs) to counterbalance the influence of the elected moderators. What influence? And We can't even be asked to get a mod election running and the BoT election was a shamble til the deadline was pointed out, a third election is not happening. As to your idea, that isn't what Devils Advocates are for (hint: in no shape or form what you say), and all you want is the right to demand we consider Child sex Abuse, Legitimate rape, and other stupid positions you've sided on more favorably. Not happening. --Miekal 04:46, 8 May 2015 (UTC)

Possible distinction[edit]

Anti-intellectualism as believing that higher education is generally nonsense ("no one needs that Calculus anyway" or in earlier days "she just needs to go to college to find a husband") stems from ignorance. Scepticism toward (public) intellectuals/pundits, especially when famous only for their media appearances and rather ignorant about subjects they pontificate about can be well justified, if

  • the person has low intelligence (often found in the humanities/social sciences)
  • knows not quantitative methods:
"It's a legacy of sensitivity of a scientifically incapable elite - who is aghast if someone does not know Milton, but happy about its own inability of basic math and science. I have - without success - tried to make statistics and logic
compulsory for admission to Harvard" - Steven Pinker (source

war being caused by resource shortage (see the answers here:

  • rely on moral accusations (especially bad with historical analogies), as in the inane idea that opponents of the Iraq war are appeasers, thus similar to supporting Hitler and perhaps fascists at heart :|
  • are unaccountable for their ideas. This is a bit like listening to stock market experts who might just be interested in making a few sales.

Some of these concerns are summarised in "Intellectuals and Society" by T. Sowell (, just so that I'm not accused of plagiarising. (talk) 20:13, 20 June 2016 (UTC)

While social sciences are easier than real sciences, the people that go into them are still above average. StickySock (talk) 20:19, 20 June 2016 (UTC)

Useless Fields?[edit]

Is it anti-intellectualism to believe that not all knowledge is equal? That is, some degrees add more to society than others? CorruptUser (talk) 03:41, 25 July 2016 (UTC)

Conservatism and high culture[edit]

This article exemplifies the vision that American conservatism has about culture: — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Richard Hofstadter[edit]

@Bongolian I am wondering if this article might be made to conform to the POV of Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, by Richard Hofstadter. Winner of the 1964 Pulitzer Prize for General Literature, this book is often regarded as the first significant attempt in understanding anti-intellectualism. From the Columbia Journalism Review: "When somebody mentions “anti-intellectualism,” Richard Hofstadter’s book usually comes to mind as the place where the problem was defined. " Ariel31459 (talk) 20:12, 15 March 2020 (UTC)

It sounds good to me. I have no familiarity with the book though. Bongolian (talk) 20:17, 15 March 2020 (UTC)