OK, I think it’s time to spell out just why so many people on the right come across as “anti-intellectual” or “anti-elite.” And the reason is based on one of the most fundamental rules of science.
Supporters of President Obama like to tout his intellectual credentials. Columbia, Harvard Law, Harvard Law Review Constitutional Law scholar, and so on. (Just don’t look too carefully for actual proof of his intellect — don’t ask for his grades, his writings, or stuff like that. Just take his success there at face value.)
They especially like comparing his resume’ to that of Sarah Palin’s — four schools, five years, one degree.
Obviously, Obama is a genius and Palin is a moron. Especially if you listen to them speak — one’s a gifted orator (especially with TOTUS at hand), the other’s a down-home country bumpkin hick.
Here’s where that fundamental rules of science kicks in:
Experiment always trumps theory.
Where Palin absolutely demolishes Obama is in reality. He’s go the fancy certificates; she’s got a Ph.D. from the School Of Hard Knocks.
Yes, she went to four schools over five years for her degree. That’s because she paid her own way through, worked various jobs to earn her tuition, and went where she could afford to.
Obama dabbled briefly in the private sector, a low-end drone at a trading house. Then he discovered the delight of the public payroll.
Palin, on the other hand, helped start a couple of businesses. She’s had to make — and live within — budgets. She’s had to make payroll.
Obama went into public service as a career. Palin went in because she saw things that needed fixing, kept finding more things that needed fixing, and walked away when her enemies found a way to threaten her family’s security.
Obama needs to be in office. Palin doesn’t.
The fundamental difference between a lifetime academician and theorist like Obama and a lifetime pragmatist like Palin is that Obama is fundamentally incapable of recognizing and admitting that his theories might be wrong. If they don’t work, then obviously he didn’t explain it well enough, he didn’t spend enough money, or the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy sabotaged it.
Palin, on the other hand, understands The First Rule Of Holes and The Definition Of Insanity. When something doesn’t work, she looks at it again and, if necessary, tosses it aside.
It’s not that the right is anti-intellectual. The right reveres great intelligence. But, to reveal my Dungeons and Dragons background, it also understands that Intelligence is different from Wisdom. And in a crunch, we’ll trust Wisdom over Intelligence — because Intelligence unchecked by Wisdom leads to hubris.
And in the hands of the powerful, hubris often leads to catastrophe. In Obama’s case, it’s clear that his inability to conceive that he might be wrong tends to make him “double down on stupid” — witness how his reaction to the overwhelming public disapproval of ObamaCare (to the point where Democrats who voted for it are refusing to acknowledge their support for it) means, to him, that he has to just keep on trying to “educate” us about how wonderful it is. He simply can’t grasp that a lot of us already know the details, and still reject it.
It’s not the intelligence that turns off conservatives. It’s arrogant, all-knowing intelligence untempered by wisdom and experience that turns us off. And we’re not that respectful of those who worship that strain of intelligence.
It’s a pity that the left can’t accept that there is a diversity of intelligence, and the best minds embrace more than one strain.