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Anti-Intellectualism in America
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I read a paper for a class the other day that made the claim that the reason that Behaviorism as a movement in psychology was so popular for so long in the early part of the 20th century was due to America's inherent anti-intellectual streak (the idea being that Behaviorism is an intellectually lazy approach to the mind). This is apparently contrasted with the Gestaltists of Europe during the same period.

Now I don't have a problem with the premise that there's an anti-intellectual streak in America. Although I don't think it's as simple as all that. You can see the latent reverence for science and scientist even in the creationist attempt to parade PhDs as expert witnesses and dress religous beliefs in the clothing of hard science.

But I'd definitely agree with the idea that your average working Joe has a fundamental distrust and disdain for the stereotypical ivory tower intellectual, sitting on his satin pillow just thinking about high-falutin' crap all day long.

I do take exception with the idea that this is a uniquely, or even predominantly, American ideal. I've only ever lived in one other country, but I think it's fair to say that a general distrust and lack of reverence for intellectual elites is a cross-historical and cross-cultural phenomenon.

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