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The Forum > Article Comments > Palin appeals to American's anti-intellectualism > Comments

Palin appeals to American's anti-intellectualism : Comments

By Brendon O'Connor, published 17/10/2008

A limited knowledge of foreign affairs is no impediment to the White House, and in fact, can have a certain populist appeal.

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We did it first! She's Pauline Hanson II.

Anti-intellectualism misses the point itís all about identity.
Palin is the new pinup for those who can't or won't think, not everyone is emotionally or intellectually able to take a more meaningful opinion of the greater good or wider world perspective. Yet they need to feel that their opinions and therefore they are validÖa member of some group.

All demographics want or need someone they can most identify with. It's all a matter of self worth and identity; the masses need symbols simple explanations, to see 'leaders' they can identify with, someone who reflect their (limited) views i.e. Shock Jocks, national party, The greens, the family first,Fred Nile even the liberals and labour. It has little to do with class except in the concept in the conformity to an identifiable group. On one in any group will ever admit that their views are wrong because it denies their validity.

We tend to reject views we donít understand or donít conform with our view of the Ďgroup normí (what ever that is). Likewise we tend to choose candidates who agree with us. We all reject to some degree alien concepts that dominate our lives particularly those that limit us and benefit an Ďoutsiderí (one with whom we donít agree ).
A hang over of self-protection instincts safety in groups and never more so when we all share the same views. In short itís herd mentality, we all have one, some are more sophisticated than others..
Posted by examinator, Friday, 17 October 2008 9:21:20 AM
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That's a well balanced article. It's ironic, isn't it, that the American republic is founded on the highest ideals and influenced by the great Enlightenment thinkers - yet its politics are so debased by this spirit of anti-intellectualism.

On the flipside, the European disdain for American culture does tend to play into the hands of the incurious 'aw shucks, we're just small town people' element that Palin so cynically represents. America, of course, is a much more complex and nuanced society than that.

My own personal view (and I understand that many others would disagree) is that an Obama-Biden White House is what America needs right now. It is time for a more reflective American politics, one that engages with the world on more subtle levels and one that recognises that good, enobling ideas can be found elsewhere in the world.

I know that the vast bulk of people outside the United States like and respect Americans and wish them well. We just hope they can put behind them this period of ugly divisiveness and unresolvable culture war politics that stains the great traditions of their open, liberal, tolerant republic borne of reasons - the republic of Thomas Paine.
Posted by Mr Denmore, Friday, 17 October 2008 9:23:04 AM
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I had to read this twice to determine that it wasn't satire. Of all the former UK colonies, how many could accurately be defined as a Superpower? One. How many lead the globe in medical, technical, industrial and educational invention and innovation? One. How many have bailed out Europe during armed conflict, twice? One. Intellectualism is a past time that produces nothing, and would not be possible for the leisure class if it weren't for the pioneering productivity of those "regular folks" the intellectuals love to look down upon. If it wasn't for the largesse of the US, and its anti-intellectual citizens, countries like Australia and all of those in Europe would still be living in the 18th century...if they hadn't died off from disease, poor sanitation and ignorance. Typical jealous lefty dreck. I've spent considerable time in Australia and New Zealand. I wouldn't allow my daughter to marry an Aussie male...they fall into two categories: Limp Wristed "intellectuals" and drunken chauvinists...both pretty much useless...
Posted by Churchill, Friday, 17 October 2008 9:51:20 AM
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I'm torn about this. I'm a Yankee, a graduate in classics with a masters in Divinity from an Episcopal (Anglican) seminary. While I studied Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and have a little French, Italian, and Spanish, my fields of concentration were philosophical theology and liturgics. My career however has been more centered on pastoral psychology.

I have also run a small (by any standards, minute by Australian standards) flock of purebred sheep, worked in mountain search and rescue and as a law enforcement officer, and crewed in championship small boats.

What I have found is that mere intellectualism without being able to communicate in a language people understand and to show some practical ability pretty much disqualifies one for general respect and trust. But if you can shear a sheep, they'll forgive your being able to read Greek.

Palin is not stupid. Neither was Reagan. You don't get to be governor of Alaska or California if you're stupid. "Incurious" is a funny charge. It suggests a provincial standard of being able to afford a particular kind of life experience. I'd bet most of those making the charge are ignorant of most of their own country or of, say. dressing out game. So who's incurious?
Posted by Mad Dawg, Friday, 17 October 2008 9:55:39 AM
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I am a graduate of Columbia University in New York City. When I was tested in my youth I had an IQ of 158 on the Stanford Binet scale, which at that time was as high as the standard test went.

I think that Governor Sarah Palin is by far the best of the four major party candidates for President and Vice President. What she lacks in academic achievements, she more than makes up in honesty, courage, and executive ability. I regret that Governor Palin will not be taking the oath of office as President next January 20th; Vice president is the best we can do this time.

As for pseudo-intelectual snobs like Professor O'Connor, I'm sure they would also have mocked George Washington. And I personally lived through eight years of their ridiculous abuse of Ronald Reagan.

I have high hopes that on November 4th the American people will reject Obama and Biden, the communism plus plagiarism ticket, in favor of the sound choice of John McCain and Sarah Palin.
Posted by Doug9732, Friday, 17 October 2008 9:58:16 AM
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I quite like this reference which features a man who moved in the inner circles of the psychotic crazies who were/are the leaders of the "religious" right in the USA.

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/10/13/former_mccain_supporter_accuses_the_senator
Posted by Ho Hum, Friday, 17 October 2008 10:07:00 AM
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