- Jul 19, 2012
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
There’s a certain strand of exasperation at conservative anti-intellectualism that seems superficially plausible. “Come on,” it runs, “you don’t have decades of experience in that subject, you don’t have a PhD in the relevant field, why can’t you just leave it to the experts, to the smart set? Astronomers don’t tell plumbers how to run their work.”
Sound superficially plausible, right? Except for one thing, which is the kinds of ideas the smart set have been known to defend.
In the late nineteenth century, all the Smart Set just knew that Eugenics was vitally necessary.
Then the Smart Set just knew that democracy and capitalism were over, and a centralized, collectivized economy was the way forward.
Then the Smart Set just knew that overpopulation was going to destroy the world and it was essential to cut off all food aid to the poorest parts of the world, and curb the birth rates of all those, y’know, brown people.
Then the Smart Set just knew that GM foods were wicked and needed to be stopped
Then the Smart Set just knew that climate change was so serious that the ‘temporary’ suspension of democracy was necessary…
People have a well founded fear of intellectuals running amok. They sense a danger when intellectuals say things like "Blacks have a shortage of MAO-A and will therefore always be inherently violent and crime ridden." You don't have to be a trained climatologist to smell danger when they say that "Anthropogenic climate change is warming the planet so therefore we must ramp up taxes, institute a command economy, stop development of the third world, suspend democracy, and jail people who object."
Both of these examples are about power, not science. It's not at all like letting the nuclear engineers run the nuclear reactors or letting the biologists do the research on evolution. It's about using the power of the state to coerce people. If they were about trying to solve the problem instead of bullying the rest of us there would be no problem, but people see these grabs for power for what they are and fight back with everything that comes to hand.