Anti-intellectualism in American LifeBook - 1963
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Pg. 167--"The present Congress furnishes the worst specimens of legislators I have ever seen here. There is a large infusion who are not only without wisdom or knowledge, but have bad manners, and therefore we can have but little hope of good legislation." Attributed to Representative Robert Toombs of Georgia in 1850.
"This appears to be the first time in our history in which a direct appeal was made to the lower classes by exciting their curiosity, feeding the desire for amusement, and presenting what is low and vulgar as an inducement for support. Since that day the thing has been carried farther, until it is actually a disadvantage to...have inherited the name of gentleman", says Morgan Dix in 1829, a quote to be found on pg.166 of Hofstadter's "Anti- intellectualism in American Life".
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson, 1816, in "Anti-intellectualism in America". Richard Hofstadter, 1963.
Hofstadter included a quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson that sums up a special attitude in post-modern American life that contributes to a false sense of security in the rightly-ordered society most citizens are sure they occupy. Today's citizens need to feel that their viewpoints are part of an acknowledged consensus, lack many courages, including the intellectual--when challenged.
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