Intellectualism and Anti-Intellectualism in the Age of Trump


Richard Hofstadter still looms large in any discussion of anti-intellectualism in America

Here is a taste of Adam Water‘s and E.J. Dionne‘s recent piece at Dissent: “Is Anti-Intellectualism Ever Good for Democracy?

Intellectuals are not entitled to special privileges, and “intellectualism” should not be seen as a superior way of life. But the intellectual project, involving the search for truth and understanding with some independence from the pressures of both the state and the market, must be defended. And it is a project that citizens who do not have any formal status in the academy or think tanks can join.

Intellectuals are integral to the battle against falsehood, but they need to work as part of a broad democratic enterprise involving citizens of every background who are concerned about what Trump and his cronies’ systematic denigration of facts means for the vitality of our democracy. There is no magical political strategy for building this coalition, and in the range of priorities for progressives, this would not rank as a central cause.

Read the entire piece here.

One thought on “Intellectualism and Anti-Intellectualism in the Age of Trump

  1. I don’t know anything about Adam Walter, but I have seen enough of E.J. Dionne to have my opinions about his thinking and his work. He presumably places himself in the intellectual camp. As one who is not an intellectual but has been exposed to plenty of them, let me politely say about E.J. that he is good at being middlebrow, but I won’t go a lot farther than that.


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