I dream of a world where the truth is what shapes people’s politics, rather than politics shaping what people think is true. Neil deGrasse Tyson on Twitter*
Anti-intellectualism Is Killing America, says the headline in this recent Psychology Today story. The subtitle reads: Social dysfunction can be traced to the abandonment of reason.
I wrote about anti-intellectualism as the new elitism back in late 2013. Since then, it seem the trend has not only increased dramatically, but the backlash against it has grown. However, the opposition trying to restore reason is neither organized nor has the same sort of shiny baubles to attract adherents the anti-intellectual side has. Cold reason cannot compete for attention against the Kardashian derriere or UFOs on Ceres.
The article’s author, David Niose, wrote:
America is killing itself through its embrace and exaltation of ignorance…
I read that the same hour I read a press release that starts, “James Van Praagh Opens His New School of Mystical Arts.” It opens:
Talking to Heaven has just been brought closer to home. After thirty-five years of talking to the dead on television, radio, and through live demonstrations, New York Times bestselling author, psychic medium and spiritual teacher James Van Praagh is making dreams come true for his students and fans. In May of 2015, Van Praagh launched The James Van Praagh School of Mystical Arts, an online academy where students can tap into their psychic, intuitive, healing and mediumistic abilities, and be personally guided and mentored by the popular medium.
Clearly when this sort of egregious claptrap garners any uncritical attention, the anti-intellectual side is winning. And if anyone is daft enough to shell out $1,600 USD for an eight-week course on fairy dust, they have already lost their ability to think critically and clearly. Or perhaps they never had it – the skills of logic and reason are, apparently not taught in public school.