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When the president gets his primary information from talking heads on cable TV rather than intelligence briefings, we have a problem.
Until now, the relationship of the President of the United States to the TV had been predictable. The President made news, and satirists made fun of the President. The President did not watch the satirists because he had, um, more important things to do. Well, life comes at you fast. Today, perhaps the most reliable way to communicate with the President is to appear on a cable news show. The poor quality of these programs — especially their habit of featuring unqualified opinion in the interest of balanced reporting — has made maintaining an informed national conversation very difficult. And that was before the President was citing Joe Schmucko from Illinois! Adam Mansbach's most recent book (co-authored with Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel) is For This We Left Egypt?.
Nowhere is anti-intellectualism more warmly incubated or does misinformation spread faster than in the online community, which is why Facebook – the third most-visited website in the world – has such a weighty responsibility.\r\n
Perhaps we should subtitle all fake news with the facts, half-jokes French philosopher-activist Bernard-Henri Lévy. The anti-intellectualism movement has swept the United States and Europe in the last 12 months, but it has been a long time coming. Trump is not the author of it, but rather the product, notes Lévy. While intellectuals relish debate, the hashing-out and exchange of ideas is what the anti-intellectual movement fears most. "Debate now, truth tomorrow," says Lévy. It’s funny then that social media is the hotbed of modern debate, but it’s also a cradle of life for anti-intellectualist sentiment. Nowhere are idiots more warmly incubated or does misinformation spread faster than in the online community, which is why Facebook – the third most-visited website in the world – has such a responsibility to support verified information and not publicize fake news as equal on the platform. Trump may be the heart of the anti-intellectual movement, but social media is the mechanism, says Lévy. Bernard-Henri Lévy's most recent book is The Genius of Judaism.
One of the lesser-discussed but potentially most disastrous appointments is in education: Betsy DeVos. Her anti-intellectual agenda would take root in the nation's youngest minds, filtering down through descendant generations.
Richard Hofstadter is in vogue. Since Donald Trump’s ascension the term ‘anti-intellectualism’ has been used endlessly, in part thanks to the President's announcement that, “I love the poorly educated.”
Only two things will change the minds of science skeptics: appeals to their ego, or their wallets.
People do not want to give up their cherished beliefs, says author Margaret Atwood, especially the ones they find most comforting. What appears obvious and enlightening to atheists like Richard Dawkins, for example, it isn’t so straightforward for those whose identity and community is hinged on a certain set of beliefs. One person's liberation is another's nightmare.