Anti-Intellectualism in American Life

By Richard Hofstadter

Anti-Intellectualism in American existence was presented the 1964 Pulitzer Prize in Non-Fiction. it's a ebook which throws gentle on many positive factors of the yank personality. Its difficulty isn't basically to painting the scorners of mind in American lifestyles, yet to claim anything approximately what the highbrow is, and will be, as a strength in a democratic society.

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Four • to prevent a few risks to figuring out, it's might be essential to say paintings given single-mindedly to the exploration of any such topic as this needs to necessarily have the impact of highlighting its significance in a manner that may now not be warranted in a complete background of yankee tradition. i will basically say that i don't be afflicted by the myth that the complexities of yank historical past might be satisfactorily decreased to a working conflict among the eggheads and the fatheads. in addition, to the level that our heritage will be one among cultural and highbrow conflicts, the general public isn't easily divided into highbrow and anti-intellectual factions. The better a part of the general public, and an excellent half even of the clever and alert public, is just non-intellectual; it's infused with adequate ambivalence approximately mind and intellectuals to be swayed now this manner and now that on present cultural concerns. It has an ingrained mistrust of eggheads, but additionally a real craving for enlightenment and tradition. furthermore, a e-book on anti-intellectualism in the United States can infrequently be taken as if it have been intended to be a balanced overview of our tradition, any longer than a background of bankruptcies should be taken as an entire heritage of our company lifestyles. even if i'm confident that anti-intellectualism is pervasive in our tradition, i feel that it might not often be known as dominant. many times i've got spotted, as i am hoping readers will, that the extra light and benign sorts of anti-intellectualism turn out to be the main common, while the main malign varieties are came upon mostly between small if vociferous minority teams. back, this isn't, because it maybe may be, a comparative learn: my focus on anti-intellectualism within the usa isn't any greater than the results of a unique, and probably parochial, curiosity in American society. i don't suppose that anti-intellectualism doesn't exist in other places. i feel that it's a challenge of greater than usual acuteness right here, yet i think it's been found in a few shape and measure in so much societies; in a single it takes the shape of the administering of hemlock, in one other of town-and-gown riots, in one other of censorship and regimentation, in nonetheless one other of Congressional investigations. i'm disposed to think that anti-intellectualism, notwithstanding it has its personal universality, might be thought of part of our English cultural inheritance, and that it really is significantly robust in Anglo-American event. many years in the past Leonard Woolf remarked that “no humans has ever despised and distrusted the mind and intellectuals greater than the British. ”3 maybe Mr. Woolf had no longer given adequate suggestion to the claims of the american citizens to supremacy during this appreciate (which is comprehensible, because the British were drained for greater than a century of yank boasting); yet British highbrow goodbye pro and so good educated at the cultural lifetime of his personal kingdom can have made this kind of comment may possibly provide us pause. even supposing the placement of yankee intellectuals poses difficulties of targeted urgency and poignancy, a lot of their woes are the typical stories of intellectuals somewhere else, and there are a few compensating conditions in American lifestyles.

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