The Harm Stemming from Anti-Intellectualism in the U.S.

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An intellectual is a person who uses intelligence (external - login to view) (thought and reason) and critical (external - login to view) or analytical (external - login to view) reasoning in either a professional (external - login to view) or a personal capacity (external - login to view).

‘Intellectual’ can denote three types of persons:
  1. A person involved in, and with, abstract, erudite (external - login to view) ideas and theories.
  2. A person whose profession (science, medicine, literature) solely involves the production and dissemination of ideas.[1] (external - login to view)
  3. A person of notable cultural and artistic (external - login to view) expertise whose knowledge grants him or her intellectual authority (external - login to view) in public discourse.
Regardless of the field of expertise, the role of the public intellectual is addressing and responding to the problems of his or her society as the voice of the people with neither the ability nor the opportunity to address said problems in the public fora. Hence, they must "rise above the partial preoccupation of one’s own profession . . . and engage with the global issues of truth, judgement, and taste of the time." [8] (external - login to view)[9] (external - login to view) The purpose of the public intellectual is debated, especially his or her place in public discourse, thus acceptance or non-acceptance in contemporary society.

(external - login to view)Intellectual - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (external - login to view)

This next bit is an excerpt I've typed out from "Nonsense On Stilts - How To Tell Science From Bunk", by Massimo Pigliucci. He makes a case for why Anti-Intellectualism kills our ability to have these non-partisan, non-profit, public figures who have been able to facilitate societal evolution in the past. The book as a whole has been pretty inspiring and I strongly urge anyone who has an interest in looking at the world from a macroscopic perspective to give it a read.


"Anti-intellectualism is not a single proposition but a complex of related propositions.. The common strain that binds together the attitudes and ideas which I call anti-intellectual is a resentment and suspicion of the life of the mind and of those who are considered to represent it; and a disposition constantly to minimize the value of that life." - Richard Hofstadter from Anti-Intellectualism in American Life (1963)

There are three fundamental kinds of anti-intellectualism - anti-elitism, instrumentalism and anti-rationalism.


As mentioned earlier, anti-elitism is complex and contradictory within American society, as this is a culture where elitism stemming from birth or intellect is seen with deep suspicion, and yet elitism based on money (itself highly culturally heritable) or physical prowess are elevated to mythical levels.

Americans have not yet accepted as a culture that the fact that people are born with different abilities (be they mental or physical) does not translate into the value judgment that they therefore ought to be accorded different status as human beings. Until they do, anti-elitism will in fact seriously limit the impact that intellectuals might have on the political and social discourse in the U.S.


Instrumentalism is another quintessential American ideology, although it is not an all-out anti-intellect position. The idea is that learning is to be encouraged if it is aimed at addressing practical concerns.

Instrumentalism makes less and less sense the more a society develops above the level of direct struggle for life. At the beginning of U.S. history, just as in many parts of the world still today—unfortunately—the imperative was first to survive from one year to another, or even one day to another, and then to lay the foundations for a more stable and prosperous society. But as soon as basic human needs are met and a minimum sense of security settles in, we begin to look for other ways to fulfill our lives, what Aristotle referred to as “flourishing.” A liberal education is not meant to provide people with the know-how for functioning in either an agricultural or industrial setting; its goal is to produce mentally sophisticated citizens, capable of critical thinking, who can be fulfilled members of a complex society in which labour is a means to many ends, not just to survival.

Within the context of our discussion, then, instrumentalism is one of the reasons why liberal education has been under constant attack from conservative politicians for decades, and it is why the National Science Foundation (which has a federal mandate to fund both basic—that is, not applied—scientific research as well as science education) tends to be among the least-funded science agencies in the country.


This one has profound religious roots, tracing back at least to the first “Great Awakening” that led to the creation of the evangelical movement in the U.S. during the early 1700s. Ironically, the Awakening was a revolt against what was perceived as the hyperintellectual flavour of early American Puritanism, characterized by ministers who spoke of abstruse theological issues in highly philosophical terms rather than addressing the emotional concerns of their very flesh-and-bone followers in the pews. It is not difficult to see how modern-day evangelical and charismatic movements are direct cultural descendants of that first revolt. This in turn has led to the rise of the extreme religious right in politics and to the never-ending battle between evolution and creationism in science education.

There are two major “currents” within anti-rationalism. In one current there is a tendency to see reason as cold, opposed to emotions, and therefore almost inhuman. One can think of this as the prototypical anti-Aristotelian position, since for the Greek philosopher, reason is the highest characteristic of humanity and ought in fact to keep emotions in check (though he would have also immediately added that this is a matter of balancing the two, not simply of repressing emotions.)

The other current pits absolutism against relativism, particularly when it comes to moral problems. The fear that strikes the creationist’s heart, for instance, when he contemplates what philosopher Daniel Dennett called “Darwin’s dangerous idea” is that the modern scientific account of the origin of humans and of all other species directly contradicts the accounts in Genesis. And if Genesis turns out to be wrong about factual matters, how can we trust it when it comes to questions of morality?

Considering, as we have so far, the decline in quality if not quantity of intellectualism in the U.S., as well as developing a better appreciation of just how dep the roots of anti-intellectualism are in the American culture and history, should make it clear why the task for scientists who wish to do their part as public intellectuals seem daunting indeed.
TV says otherwise.
I will be updating this periodically with the 'intellectual du jour'. Not everyone will be nice, respected or even that goodwilled - but this is merely to educate people on some of the more recent, active intellectuals and their contributions.

Muhammad Yunus

Muhammad Yunus (Bengali (external - login to view): মুহাম্মদ ইউনুস, pronounced Muhammôd Iunus) (born 28 June 1940) is a Bangladeshi (external - login to view) economist (external - login to view) and founder of the Grameen Bank (external - login to view), an institution that provides microcredit (external - login to view) (small loans to poor people possessing no collateral) to help its clients establish creditworthiness and financial self-sufficiency. In 2006 (external - login to view) Yunus and Grameen received the Nobel Peace Prize (external - login to view).[1] (external - login to view) Yunus himself has received several other national and international honors.

He previously was a professor (external - login to view) of economics (external - login to view) where he developed the concepts of microcredit (external - login to view) and microfinance (external - login to view). These loans are given to entrepreneurs (external - login to view) too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans (external - login to view). He is the author of Banker to the Poor (external - login to view) and a founding board member of Grameen America (external - login to view) and Grameen Foundation (external - login to view). In early 2007 Yunus showed interest in launching a political party in Bangladesh named Nagorik Shakti (external - login to view) (Citizen Power), but later discarded the plan. He is one of the founding members of Global Elders (external - login to view).

Yunus also serves on the board of directors of the United Nations Foundation (external - login to view), a public charity created in 1998 with entrepreneur (external - login to view) and philanthropist (external - login to view) Ted Turner (external - login to view)’s historic $1 billion gift to support United Nations (external - login to view) causes. The UN Foundation builds and implements public-private partnerships (external - login to view) to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the UN.[2] (external - login to view)

In March 2011, after months of government scrutiny, the Bangladesh government fired Yunus from his position at Grameen Bank, citing legal violations and an age limit on his position.[3] (external - login to view) Bangladesh's High Court affirmed the removal on March 8. Yunus and Grameen Bank are appealing the decision, claiming Yunus' removal was politically motivated.

Grameen Bank

In 1976, during visits to the poorest households in the village of Jobra near Chittagong University (external - login to view), Yunus discovered that very small loans could make a disproportionate difference to a poor person. Jobra women who made bamboo (external - login to view) furniture had to take out usurious (external - login to view) loans for buying bamboo, to pay their profits to the moneylenders. His first loan, consisting of US$ (external - login to view)27.00 from his own pocket, was made to 42 women in the village, who made a net profit of BDT (external - login to view) 0.50 (US$0.02) each on the loan. Accumulated through many loans, this vastly improving Bangladesh's ability to export and import as it did in the past, resulting in a greater form of globalization and economic status.[5] (external - login to view)

The Grameen Bank started to diversify in the late 1980s when it started attending to unutilized or underutilized fishing ponds, as well as irrigation pumps like deep tubewells.[16] (external - login to view) In 1989, these diversified interests started growing into separate organizations, as the fisheries project became Grameen Motsho (Grameen Fisheries Foundation) and the irrigation project became Grameen Krishi (Grameen Agriculture Foundation).[16] (external - login to view) Over time, the Grameen initiative has grown into a multi-faceted group of profitable and non-profit ventures, including major projects like Grameen Trust and Grameen Fund (external - login to view), which runs equity projects like Grameen Software Limited, Grameen CyberNet Limited, and Grameen Knitwear Limited,[17] (external - login to view) as well as Grameen Telecom (external - login to view), which has a stake in Grameenphone (external - login to view) (GP), biggest private sector phone company in Bangladesh.[18] (external - login to view) The Village Phone (external - login to view) (Polli Phone) project of GP has brought cell-phone ownership to 260,000 rural poor in over 50,000 villages since the beginning of the project in March 1997.[19] (external - login to view)

The success of the Grameen model of microfinancing has inspired similar efforts in a hundred countries throughout the developing world (external - login to view) and even in industrialized (external - login to view) nations, including the United States.[20] (external - login to view) Many, but not all, microcredit projects also retain its emphasis on lending specifically to women. More than 94% of Grameen loans have gone to women, who suffer disproportionately from poverty and who are more likely than men to devote their earnings to their families.[21] (external - login to view) For his work with the Grameen Bank, Yunus was named an Ashoka: Innovators for the Public (external - login to view) Global Academy Member in 2001.[22] (external - login to view)

Political activity

In early 2006 Yunus, along with other members of the civil society including Professor Rehman Sobhan (external - login to view), Justice Muhammad Habibur Rahman (external - login to view), Dr Kamal Hossain (external - login to view), Matiur Rahman (external - login to view), Mahfuz Anam (external - login to view) and Debapriya Bhattchariya (external - login to view), participated in a campaign for honest and clean candidates in national elections.[42] (external - login to view) He considered entering politics in the later part of that year.[43] (external - login to view) On 11 February 2007, Yunus wrote an open letter, published in the Bangladeshi newspaper Daily Star (external - login to view), where he asked citizens for views on his plan to float a political party to establish political goodwill, proper leadership and good governance. In the letter, he called on everyone to briefly outline how he should go about the task and how they can contribute to it.[44] (external - login to view) Yunus finally announced the foundation of a new party tentatively called Citizens' Power (external - login to view) (Nagorik Shakti) on 18 February 2007.[45] (external - login to view)[46] (external - login to view) There was speculation that the army supported a move by Yunus into politics.[47] (external - login to view) On 3 May, however, Yunus declared that he had decided to abandon his political plans following a meeting with the head of the interim government, Fakhruddin Ahmed (external - login to view).[48] (external - login to view)

Since 2010, Yunus has served as a Commissioner for the Broadband Commission for Digital Development (external - login to view), a UN initiative which seeks to use broadband internet services to accelerate social and economic development.[53] (external - login to view)

Yunus under attack

Since late November 2010, several allegations have been made against Yunus. These allegations started when a documentary, titled “Caught in Micro Debt”,[54] (external - login to view) was aired on Norwegian television on November 30, 2010, criticizing microcredit and blaming Grameen Bank on several points .[55] (external - login to view) They developed during a time when larger questions were being raised about the benefits of microfinance and its effects on poverty alleviation, particularly in regards to several microfinance institutions (MFIs) in India [56] (external - login to view) and Mexico .[57] (external - login to view)

The allegations against Yunus turned political in nature when the government of Bangladesh – led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed (external - login to view), who reportedly has viewed Yunus as a political rival since he looked into setting up a political party in 2007 [58] (external - login to view) – suddenly turned against him and the concept of microfinance (which she had formerly championed [citation needed (external - login to view)]), accusing it of “sucking blood from the poor” .[59] (external - login to view)

The Government announced a review into the activities of Grameen Bank on January 11, 2011 ;[60] (external - login to view) this review is currently ongoing. Yunus has welcomed this review; he feels that any honest and unmotivated investigation will clear both himself and Grameen Bank of any wrongdoing [citation needed (external - login to view)]. In February, several international leaders, such as Mary Robinson (external - login to view), stepped up its defense of Yunus through a number of efforts, including the founding of a formal network of supporters known as “Friends of Grameen” .[61] (external - login to view)

On March 3, 2011, Muhammad Yunus filed himself a writ at the High Court challenging the legality of the decision from the Bangladeshi Central Bank to remove him as Managing Director of Grameen Bank .[66] (external - login to view) The same day, nine elected directors of Grameen Bank filed a second writ petition .[67] (external - login to view) The High Court hearing on these petitions, initially planned on March 6, 2011, was postponed. On March 8, 2011, the Bangladeshi Court finally confirmed the dismissal of Yunus as Grameen Bank Managing Director .[68] (external - login to view)
After Hillary Clinton, John Kerry expressed its support to Yunus in a statement released on March 5, 2011 and declared that he was “deeply concerned” by this affair. In Bangladesh, thousands of people protested and formed human chains on March 5, 2011 to support Yunus [citation needed (external - login to view)].

Countered allegations from a Danish documentary

A Danish documentary called “Caught in Micro Debt”,[54] (external - login to view) produced and directed by journalist Tom Heinemann (external - login to view), aired on Norwegian national television on November 30, 2010. It made a number of allegations against Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank. Those allegations have been countered by later inquiries.

The documentary accused Yunus and Grameen Bank of:
  • Diverting 7 billion taka (about 100 million dollars) that had been given by the Norway aid agency NORAD (external - login to view) from Grameen Bank to another organization called Grameen Kalyan in 1996 – an allegation widely spread by a report released in the Bangladeshi electronic media on December 1.[69] (external - login to view) Nonetheless, on December 6, NORAD published an official statement[70] (external - login to view) clearing Yunus and Grameen Bank from any wrongdoing on this point, after a comprehensive review of NORAD’s support commissioned by the Minister of International Development.
  • Charging its borrowers annual interest rates of 30% to 200%. However, on January 4, MicroFinance Transparency (external - login to view) (MFT) – engaged by Grameen Bank as an independent expert to investigate on this issue – released a report[71] (external - login to view) saying that all of Grameen Bank’s rates were 100% transparent (an unprecedented rating in MFT’s examinations of MFIs and their rates) and showing that the highest effective interest rate charged for Grameen Bank’s “basic loan” was 22.84%.
  • Making empty promises to its borrowers and putting them in jeopardy with bad debt-recovery practices. Yet, after the documentary was aired on NRK Norway television, Gayle Ferraro, an independent filmmaker who was already in Bangladesh working on a project, went to interview a woman featured in the documentary, who Heinemann claimed was the daughter of one of Yunus’s original borrowers, and who claimed that her mother died in poverty.[72] (external - login to view) Ferraro discovered that the woman interviewed was not who the film claimed she was, and that the actual borrower from the documentary did not die in poverty, but was alive and able to tell her story about how she had benefitted from microcredit.[73] (external - login to view)
The allegations quickly spread through the Bangladesh media. To quote a leading Bangladeshi economist Rehman Sobhan (external - login to view):[74] (external - login to view) “Rather than first seeking clarification and response from Grameen Bank as to the validity of the TV program, some sections of the media and society pounced on it with unseemly enthusiasm, using it as an opportunity to cite wrongdoing in a widely respected organization.” Muhammad Yunus asked for consistent and transparent investigations on these matters.

Questioning microfinance – the ‘loan sharks’ issue

The allegations against Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank have been made in a context where some people have begun to question the effectiveness of microfinance, prompted by the actions of some for-profit MFIs in India[75] (external - login to view) and Mexico.[76] (external - login to view) Coercion, peer pressure and physical harassment have been reportedly used as loan repayment practices in some specific microfinance institutions.[77] (external - login to view) Commercialization of microcredit[78] (external - login to view) prompted Muhammad Yunus to state that he “never imagined that one day microcredit would give rise to its own breed of loan sharks.”[79] (external - login to view)

The lure of profits has attracted some for-profit microfinance institutions to hold initial public offerings, including the largest Indian microfinance institution, SKS Microfinance (external - login to view), which held an IPO (external - login to view) in July 2010.[80] (external - login to view) In September 2010, Yunus and Vikram Akula (external - login to view), founder of SKS, debated during the Clinton Global Initiative (external - login to view) meeting,[81] (external - login to view) where PrYunus made his position on the SKS IPO clear: “Microcredit is not about exciting people to make money off the poor. That's what you're doing. That's the wrong message completely.”

It is widely assumed that the government of Bangladesh is exploiting this “moral crisis around microcredit” to oust Muhammad Yunus.[82] (external - login to view)

Political motivations behind the allegations

Though Grameen Bank was quickly cleared by the Norwegian government of all allegations surrounding misused or misappropriated funds, the Bangladeshi government launched a three-month investigation of all Grameen Bank’s activities.[83] (external - login to view) This inquiry prevented Muhammad Yunus from participating in the World Economic Forum (external - login to view).[84] (external - login to view)

On January 18, 2011, Yunus appeared in court in a defamation case filed by a local politician from a minor left-leaning party in 2007, complaining about a statement that Yunus made to the AFP news agency: “Politicians in Bangladesh only work for power. There is no ideology here”.[85] (external - login to view) At the hearing, Yunus was granted bail and exempted from personal appearance at subsequent hearings.[86] (external - login to view)

The last investigations have fueled suspicion that many attacks might be ”politically orchestrated”,[87] (external - login to view) related to difficult relations between Sheikh Hasina and Yunus that date to early 2007, when Muhammad Yunus created his own political party, an effort he dropped in May 2007.[88] (external - login to view)


Books by Muhammad Yunus
  • Three Farmers of Jobra; Department of Economics, Chittagong University; 1974
  • Planning in Bangladesh: Format, Technique, and Priority, and Other Essays; Rural Studies Project, Department of Economics, Chittagong University; 1976
  • Jorimon and Others: Faces of Poverty (co-authors: Saiyada Manajurula Isalama, Arifa Rahman); Grameen Bank; 1991
  • Grameen Bank, as I See it; Grameen Bank; 1994
  • Banker to the Poor (external - login to view): Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty; Public Affairs; 2003; ISBN 9781586481988 (external - login to view)
  • A World Without Poverty (external - login to view): Social Business and the Future of Capitalism; Public Affairs; 2008; ISBN 9781586484934 (external - login to view)
  • Building Social Business (external - login to view); Public Affairs; 2010; ISBN 9781586488246 (external - login to view)
Articles by Muhammed Yunus
  • World Policy Journal (external - login to view): Economic Security for a World in Crisis (external - login to view); World Policy Journal; Summer 2009;
On Muhammad Yunus
  • David Bornstein; The Price of a Dream: The Story of the Grameen Bank and the Idea That Is; Simon & Schuster; 1996; ISBN 068481191X (external - login to view) (external - login to view)
Last edited by mentalfloss; Mar 23rd, 2011 at 11:17 AM..
Harm? What harm?

YouTube - 39Jackass 3D39 Trailer HD

Anti-Elitism today is based on the fact that American elites are generally transnationalists who have abandoned any loyalty to their fellow Americans. They have, inter alia, welcomed hordes of uneducated, unskilled and impoverished illegal aliens into the country who have become nothing more than colonists and expatriates. Anti-elitism in America has nothing to do with the life of the mind.

Instrumentalism is an absurd notion. The rationale for intellectualism is to be both practical in order to improve lives, and to provide insight as to the nature and meaning of existence in and of itself.

Anti-Rationalism is again absurd. How else does one explain conservative intellectuals who are atheists?

The greatest Canadian intellectual is Ron Jeremy. jk

Abdolkarim Soroush

Abdolkarim Soroush (عبدالكريم سروش), born Hosein Haj Faraj Dabbagh (1945-; Persian (external - login to view): حسين حاج فرج دباغ), is an Iranian (external - login to view) thinker, reformer, Rumi (external - login to view) scholar and a former professor at the University of Tehran (external - login to view).[1] (external - login to view) He is arguably the most influential figure in religious intellectual movement (external - login to view) in Iran. Professor Soroush is currently a visiting scholar at the University of Maryland (external - login to view) in College Park, MD He was also affiliated with other prestigious institutions, including Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, the Leiden based International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM) and the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin. Soroush idea's, founded on Relativism prompted both supporters and critics to compare his role in reforming Islam to that of Martin Luther (external - login to view) in reforming Christianity.[2] (external - login to view)[3] (external - login to view)

During the 90s, Soroush gradually became more critical of the political role played by the Iranian clergy. The monthly magazine that he cofounded, Kiyan, soon became the most visible forum ever for religious intellectualism. In this magazine he published his most controversial articles on religious pluralism, hermeneutics, tolerance, clericalism etc. The magazine was clamped down in 1998 among many other magazines and newspapers by the direct order of the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic. About a thousand audio tapes of speeches by Soroush on various social, political, religious and literary subjects delivered all over the world are widely in circulation in Iran and elsewhere. Soon, he not only became subject to harassment and state censorship, but also lost his job and security. His public lectures at Universities in Iran are often disrupted by hardline Ansar-e-Hizbullah vigilante groups.

From the year 2000 onwards Abdulkarim Soroush has been a Visiting Professor in Harvard University (external - login to view) teaching Rumi poetry and philosophy, Islam and Democracy, Quranic Studies and Philosophy of Islamic Law.

Philosophy of Abdolkarim Soroush

Soroush is primarily interested in the philosophy of science, philosophy of religion, the philosophical system of Molana Jalaleddin Balkhi (Rumi (external - login to view)) and comparative philosophy. He is a world expert on Rumi and Persian Sufi poetry.

The philosophy of Abdolkarim Soroush can be summarized as follows:[5] (external - login to view)
  • Distinction between "religion" and our "understanding of religion".
  • Distinction between "essential" and "accidental" aspects of religion.
  • Distinction between "minimalist" and "maximalist" interpretation of Islam.
  • Distinction between values and morals that are considered internal in respect to Islam and those that are external.
  • Distinction between Religious "belief" and Religious "faith".
  • Distinction between religion as an ideology/identity and religion of truth.

Distinction Between "Religion" and Our "Understanding of Religion"

Soroush's main contribution to Islamic philosophy is that he maintains that one should distinguish between religious as divinely revealed and the interpretation of religion or religious knowledge which is based on socio-historical factors. In Oxford, professors such as Komeil Sadeghi, Iranian philosopher influenced him so much that Soroush dedicated one of his best books named "Expansion of Prophetic Experience " to his honourable master.[citation needed (external - login to view)]

Soroush's main thesis, entitled The Theoretical Contraction and Expansion of Shari'a separates religion per se from religious knowledge. The former, the essence of religion, is perceived as beyond human reach, eternal and divine. The latter, religious knowledge, is a sincere and authentic but finite, limited, and fallible form of human knowledge.[1] (external - login to view)

Soroush's Political Theory

Soroush's political theory is in line with the modern tradition from Locke to the framers of the American constitution. It portrays human beings as weak and susceptible to temptation, even predation. As such, they need a vigilant and transparent form of government. He believes that the assumption of innate goodness of mankind, shared by radical Utopians from anarchists to Islamic fundamentalists underestimates the staying power of social evil and discounts the necessity of a government of checks and balances to compensate for the weaknesses of human nature.[2] (external - login to view)

Soroush's political philosophy, as well, remains close to the heart of the liberal tradition, ever championing the basic values of reason, liberty, freedom, and democracy. They are perceived as "primary values," as independent virtues, not handmaidens of political maxims and religious dogma. Soroush entwines these basic values and beliefs in a rich tapestry of Islamic primary sources, literature, and poetry.[3] (external - login to view)

Religious Democracy

Soroush introduced his own definition of the term Religious democracy which is now a topic in contemporary Iranian philosophy (external - login to view) and means that the values of religion (external - login to view) play a role in the public arena in a society populated by religious people. Religious democracy falls within the framework of modern rationality (external - login to view) and has identifiable elements. It is in this way that we have a plurality of democracies in the international community. "Religious democracy" is a subject of intense research in Iranian intellectual circles.

Democracy where coincides with certain things, it can be secular or religious. Hence, what alters the hue and color of democracy is a society’s specific characteristics and elements. Religious democracy is an example of how democratic values can exist in a different cultural elaboration than what is usually known before.[8] (external - login to view) But, in a secular (external - login to view) society, some other characteristic is deemed important and focused on, and that becomes the basis for democracy (external - login to view).

In fact relativistic liberalism (external - login to view) and democracy are not identical since democracy is not violated when a faith is embraced, it is violated when a particular belief is imposed or disbelief is punished.
We do not have one democracy but many democracies from ancient Greece to today. We have a plurality of democracies in the international community. What emerged was that a democracy prevailed in different eras depending on the conditions of the time.[9] (external - login to view)


Soroush's ideas have met with strong opposition from conservative elements in the Islamic Republic. Both he and his audiences were assaulted by Ansar-e Hezbollah (external - login to view) vigilantees in the mid 1990s. A law imposing penalties on anyone associating with enemies of the Islamic republic is thought by his allies to have been at least in part provoked by some of Soroush's lectures and foreign affiliations.[10] (external - login to view)
According to the journalist Robin Wright (external - login to view):
Over the next year, he lost his three senior academic appointments, including a deanship. Other public appearances, including his Thursday lectures, were banned. He was forbidden to publish new articles. He was summoned for several long `interviews` by Iranian intelligence officials. His travel was restricted, then his passport confiscated.[10] (external - login to view)
At the celebration of the sixteenth anniversary of the American embassy seizure (external - login to view) in 1995, Wright found that Iranian Supreme Leader (external - login to view) Ali Khamenei (external - login to view) "devoted more time berating Soroush...than condemning the United States (external - login to view) or Israel (external - login to view)." [11] (external - login to view) (external - login to view)
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Harm? What harm?

Yeah what harm?


Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmackView Post

Yeah what harm?

Last edited by mentalfloss; Mar 25th, 2011 at 11:09 AM..
Dumb is easy. Easy is common. Therefore dumb is profitable.

Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama

Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama (born October 27, 1952) is an American philosopher (external - login to view), political economist (external - login to view), and author.

Early life

Francis Fukuyama was born in the Hyde Park (external - login to view) neighborhood of Chicago (external - login to view). His father, Yoshio Fukuyama (external - login to view), a second-generation (external - login to view) Japanese-American (external - login to view), was trained as a minister in the Congregational Church (external - login to view), received a doctorate in sociology (external - login to view) from the University of Chicago (external - login to view), and taught religious studies.[1] (external - login to view)[2] (external - login to view)[3] (external - login to view)His mother, Toshiko Kawata Fukuyama, was born in Kyoto (external - login to view), Japan (external - login to view), and was the daughter of Shiro Kawata, founder of the Economics Department of Kyoto University (external - login to view) and first president of Osaka City University (external - login to view).[4] (external - login to view) Francis grew up in Manhattan (external - login to view) as an only child, had little contact with Japanese culture, and did not learn Japanese.[1] (external - login to view)[2] (external - login to view) His family moved to State College, Pennsylvania (external - login to view) in 1967.[4] (external - login to view)


Fukuyama is best known as the author of The End of History and the Last Man (external - login to view), in which he argued that the progression of human history as a struggle between ideologies is largely at an end, with the world settling on liberal democracy (external - login to view) after the end of the Cold War (external - login to view) and the fall of the Berlin Wall (external - login to view) in 1989. Fukuyama predicted the eventual global triumph of political and economic liberalism:
What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of postwar history, but the end of history as such... That is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.
He has written a number of other books, among them Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity and Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution (external - login to view). In the latter, he qualified his original 'end of history' thesis, arguing that since biotechnology increasingly allows humans to control their own evolution (external - login to view), it may allow humans to alter human nature (external - login to view), thereby putting liberal democracy at risk. One possible outcome could be that an altered human nature could end in radical inequality. He is a fierce enemy of transhumanism (external - login to view), an intellectual movement asserting that posthumanity (external - login to view) is a desirable goal.

In another work The Great Disruption: Human Nature and the Reconstruction of Social Order, he explores the origins of social norms, and analyses the current disruptions in the fabric of our moral traditions, which he considers as arising from a shift from the manufacturing to the information age. This shift is, he thinks, normal and will prove self-correcting, given the intrinsic human need for social norms and rules.

In 2008 he published the book Falling Behind: Explaining the Development Gap Between Latin America and the United States, which resulted from research and a conference funded by Grupo Mayan (external - login to view) to gain understanding on why Latin America, once far wealthier than North America, fell behind in terms of development in only a matter of centuries. Discussing this book at a 2009 conference, Fukuyama outlined his belief that inequality within Latin American nations is a key impediment to growth. An unequal distribution of wealth, he stated, leads to social upheaval which in turn results in stunted growth.[6] (external - login to view)


As a key Reagan Administration (external - login to view) contributor to the formulation of the Reagan Doctrine (external - login to view), Fukuyama is an important figure in the rise of neoconservatism (external - login to view). He was active in the Project for the New American Century (external - login to view) think tank starting in 1997, and as a member co-signed the organization's letter (external - login to view) recommending that President (external - login to view) Bill Clinton (external - login to view) support Iraqi insurgencies in the overthrow of then-President of Iraq (external - login to view), Saddam Hussein (external - login to view).[7] (external - login to view) He was also among forty co-signers of William Kristol's (external - login to view) September 20, 2001 letter to President George W. Bush (external - login to view) after the September 11, 2001 attacks (external - login to view) that suggested the U.S. not only "capture or kill Osama bin Laden (external - login to view)", but also embark upon "a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq".[8] (external - login to view)[9] (external - login to view)

In a New York Times (external - login to view) article of February 2006, Fukuyama, in considering the ongoing Iraq War (external - login to view), stated: "What American foreign policy needs is not a return to a narrow and cynical realism, but rather the formulation of a 'realistic Wilsonianism (external - login to view)' that better matches means to ends."[10] (external - login to view) In regard to neoconservatism he went on to say: "What is needed now are new ideas, neither neoconservative nor realist, for how America is to relate to the rest of the world — ideas that retain the neoconservative belief in the universality of human rights, but without its illusions about the efficacy of American power and hegemony to bring these ends about."[10] (external - login to view)

Fukuyama's current views

Beginning in 2002 however,[citation needed (external - login to view)] he began to distance himself from the neoconservative agenda of the Bush Administration, citing its overly militaristic basis and embrace of unilateral armed intervention, particularly in the Middle East (external - login to view). By late 2003, Fukuyama had voiced his growing opposition to the Iraq War (external - login to view)[11] (external - login to view) and called for Donald Rumsfeld (external - login to view)'s resignation as Secretary of Defense (external - login to view).[12] (external - login to view) He said that he would vote against Bush in the 2004 election,[13] (external - login to view) and that the Bush administration had made three major mistakes:[citation needed (external - login to view)]

  • They had overestimated the threat of radical Islam (external - login to view) to the US.
  • They hadn't foreseen the fierce negative reaction to its benevolent hegemony. From the very beginning they had shown a negative attitude toward the United Nations (external - login to view) and other international organizations and hadn't seen that this would increase anti-Americanism (external - login to view) in other countries.
  • They had misjudged what was needed to bring peace in Iraq (external - login to view) and had been overly optimistic about the success with which social engineering (external - login to view) of western values could be applied to Iraq and the Middle East in general.

Fukuyama believes the US has a right to promote its own values in the world, but more along the lines of what he calls "realistic Wilsonianism (external - login to view)", with military intervention only as a last resort and only in addition to other measures. A latent military force is more likely to have an effect than actual deployment. The US spends more on its military than the rest of the world put together, but Iraq shows there are limits to its effectiveness. The US should instead stimulate political and economic development and gain a better understanding of what happens in other countries. The best instruments are setting a good example and providing education and, in many cases, money. The secret of development, be it political or economic, is that it never comes from outsiders, but always from people in the country itself. One thing the US proved to have excelled in during the aftermath of World War II (external - login to view) was the formation of international institutions. A return to support for these structures would combine American power with international legitimacy. But such measures require a lot of patience. This is the central thesis of his most recent work America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy (external - login to view) (2006).

In an essay in the New York Times Magazine (external - login to view) in 2006 that was strongly critical of the invasion,[14] (external - login to view) he identified neoconservatism with Leninism (external - login to view). He wrote that neoconservatives:
believed that history can be pushed along with the right application of power and will. Leninism was a tragedy in its Bolshevik (external - login to view) version, and it has returned as farce when practiced by the United States. Neoconservatism, as both a political symbol and a body of thought, has evolved into something I can no longer support.
Fukuyama has announced the end of the neoconservative moment and argued for the demilitarization of the War on Terrorism (external - login to view):
[W]ar is the wrong metaphor for the broader struggle, since wars are fought at full intensity and have clear beginnings and endings. Meeting the jihadist (external - login to view) challenge is more of a "long, twilight struggle" whose core is not a military campaign but a political contest for the hearts and minds of ordinary Muslims (external - login to view) around the world.
Fukuyama endorsed Barack Obama (external - login to view) in the 2008 US presidential election (external - login to view). He states:
"I’m voting for Barack Obama this November for a very simple reason. It is hard to imagine a more disastrous presidency than that of George W. Bush. It was bad enough that he launched an unnecessary war and undermined the standing of the United States throughout the world in his first term. But in the waning days of his administration, he is presiding over a collapse of the American financial system and broader economy that will have consequences for years to come. As a general rule, democracies don’t work well if voters do not hold political parties accountable for failure. While John McCain (external - login to view) is trying desperately to pretend that he never had anything to do with the Republican Party, I think it would be a travesty to reward the Republicans for failure on such a grand scale."[15] (external - login to view)


  • Between 2006 and 2008, Fukuyama consulted Muammar Gaddafi as part of the Monitor Group, a consultancy firm based in Cambridge, MA.[16] (external - login to view)
  • In August 2005, Fukuyama co-foundedThe American Interest (external - login to view), a quarterly magazine devoted to the broad theme of "America in the World". He is currently chairman of the editorial board.[5] (external - login to view)
  • He was a member of the RAND Corporation (external - login to view)'s Political Science Department from 1979 to 1980, 1983 to 1989, and 1995 to 1996. He is now a member of the corporations' Board of Trustees.[5] (external - login to view)
  • Fukuyama was a member of the President's Council on Bioethics (external - login to view) from 2001 to 2004.[5] (external - login to view)
  • Fukuyama is a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science (external - login to view) (WAAS).
  • Fukuyama is on the steering committee for the Scooter Libby (external - login to view) Legal Defense Trust.[17] (external - login to view) Fukuyama is a long-time friend of Libby. They served together in the State Department in the 1980s.
  • During the 2008 Presidential Election, Fukuyama endorsed Democratic candidate Barack Obama (external - login to view) who went on to win the Presidential Election.[18] (external - login to view)
  • Fukuyama is a member of the Board of Counselors for the Pyle Center of Northeast Asian Studies at the National Bureau of Asian Research (external - login to view).[19] (external - login to view)
  • Fukuyama is on the board of Global Financial Integrity (external - login to view).
  • Fukuyama is on the executive board of the Inter-American Dialogue (external - login to view).

Personal life

Fukuyama is also a part-time photographer and has a keen interest in early-American furniture (external - login to view), which he makes by hand.[20] (external - login to view)

Fukuyama is married to Laura Holmgren, whom he met when she was a UCLA (external - login to view) graduate student after he started working for the RAND Corporation.[5] (external - login to view)[2] (external - login to view) He dedicated his book Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity to her. They live in suburban Washington, D.C. (external - login to view), with their three children, Julia, David, and John. (external - login to view)
Last edited by mentalfloss; Mar 30th, 2011 at 09:44 AM..
In Between Man
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalflossView Post

This one has profound religious roots, tracing back at least to the first “Great Awakening” that led to the creation of the evangelical movement in the U.S....

So, basically, anyone who is "religious" is stupid?

Christian = unintelligent?
Quote: Originally Posted by alleywayzalwayzView Post

So, basically, anyone who is "religious" is stupid?

Christian = unintelligent?

Um.. No?
In Between Man
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalflossView Post

Um.. No?

Whew! Right answer!
Quote: Originally Posted by alleywayzalwayzView Post

Whew! Right answer!

Lots of intelligent people do stupid things. They don't have to be religious.
In Between Man
Quote: Originally Posted by CliffyView Post

Lots of intelligent people do stupid things. They don't have to be religious.

Check out this story
(external - login to view) of a doctor with an IQ of 170 who foolishly climbed down her ex-boyfriend's chimney, got stuck and died.

That was stupid!
Quote: Originally Posted by alleywayzalwayzView Post

Check out this story
of a doctor with an IQ of 170 who foolishly climbed down her ex-boyfriend's chimney, got stuck and died.

That was stupid!

Intelligence and commonsense are not the same thing.

I know a well educated woman with the ability to sign multimillion dollar loans, do high finance and crunch numbers like a genius, that had to be told to stay away from the Grizzly bear and her cub.

Hell there are a staggering number of members here, that I think are extremely intelligent. So it baffles me when I see them spout such stupidity and buy any story that comes off their ideological press filter.
Oh boy... both men and women can absolutely FLIP out when it comes to love gone awry.

Quote: Originally Posted by CDNBearView Post

Intelligence and commonsense are not the same thing.

I know a well educated woman with the ability to sign multimillion dollar loans, do high finance and crunch numbers like a genius, that had to be told to stay away from the Grizzly bear and her cub.


Do go on!
Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmackView Post

Do go on!

Dare I admit that it was my Mom, while out west on business?

As she recounted the story to my Father and I, the two of us just stood there with our jaws on the floor. In complete disbelief.

The van she was in, passed a Mother Grizzly, complete with cub in the grass along the highway. They thought it would be smart to back up, get out and try and get closer for a better picture.

An Alberta MNR CO, passing by, stopped, calmly approached the group of idiots, pistol in hand and asked them kindly to go to his truck, where they were all cautioned, and told the next time, whether they get attacked or not, they'd be fined.

I was honestly dumbstruck. The woman is an accomplished banker, university educated, and for the most part, quite freaking bright.

For the life of me, I can not wrap my head around why her and her colleagues thought this was a great idea.

She now understands, that what she did was pure stupidity. Thank Gawd it came without the harder of the two lessons that could have been learned.
Now that is a good story.

I've never seen a bear in the wild. Would a Momma Grizzly attack a car?
Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmackView Post

Now that is a good story.

I've never seen a bear in the wild. Would a Momma Grizzly attack a car?

Do wild bears sh!t wherever they want, lol.

YouTube - Alaska Bear Attacks Car 26 June 2009

Not a Mamma, but you get the gist eh.
Dexter Sinister
Quote: Originally Posted by CDNBearView Post

For the life of me, I can not wrap my head around why her and her colleagues thought this was a great idea.

'Cause in a Disney movie, it would have been. The cub would have been cute and cuddly and eaten out of their hands while Mama Bear looked on benignly, possibly doing a song and dance routine.
Quote: Originally Posted by Dexter SinisterView Post

'Cause in a Disney movie, it would have been. The cub would have been cute and cuddly and eaten out of their hands while Mama Bear looked on benignly, possibly doing a song and dance routine.

I blame Disney for the anti-hunting crowd, and rise in unreasonable animal activism.
Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmackView Post

Now that is a good story.

I've never seen a bear in the wild. Would a Momma Grizzly attack a car?

Been chased by one and all we were doing was sitting on the bridge watching a group of about 10 griz fishing. One moma decided she had enough of having her picture taken and made it from the middle of the river up onto the road in about three bounds. Good thing the truck had four doors. And that over all she was more interested in fresh salmon than a can full of smelly loggers.

Experience has indicated that an intellectual is one with lots of ideas about how everything should be , but no clue how to make it happen. Sort of like arm chair athletes.
Dexter Sinister
Quote: Originally Posted by CDNBearView Post

I blame Disney for the anti-hunting crowd, and rise in unreasonable animal activism.

I think we can lay at least partial blame on Disney and his damnfool heartwarming stories for a lot of other silly ideas too: animals are harmless, they're motivated by the same things that motivate humans, Mother Nature is kind and gentle...

I hate cute, except in babies.

YouTube - nfwmv

Dexter Sinister
Quote: Originally Posted by taxslaveView Post

Experience has indicated that an intellectual is one with lots of ideas about how everything should be , but no clue how to make it happen. Sort of like arm chair athletes.

I think that's a nice example of the kind of anti-intellectualism the OP talks about, and an unfair characterization of intellectuals. Intellectualism is about understanding, analyzing, and reasoning, as opposed to, for example, wishing and feeling and dreaming, and is a far better way to comprehend most things.
As my first and only post in this thread, I must say that in my lifetime I have found that most sel-proclaimed; meaning those that look in the mirror and think they see an intelectual, are usualy condescending twits.
Those that are internationaly recognized may be a bit better but they all have that know-it-all way of looking down at the rest of the population that turns me off...
Now, I'm not talking about Liberals, even though a lot of them seem to have those qualities..(My appologies to the "normal" Liberals out there
I have found more common sense when talkin to that old farmer I meet at coffee once in a while than in a lot of "intelectuals"........
Dexter Sinister
Then the self-proclaimed intellectuals you've met are just posers, not really intellectuals. Lots of condescending twits around, but I wouldn't take any of them seriously as intellectuals, proper intellectualism doesn't produce that kind of self-image.
Quote: Originally Posted by DaSleeperView Post

As my first and only post in this thread, I must say that in my lifetime I have found that most sel-proclaimed; meaning those that look in the mirror and think they see an intelectual, are usualy condescending twits..

The purpose of a contemporary public intellectual was to actually act as a conduit for some legitimate movement that would not have happened otherwise. If the farmer you met at the coffee shop was able to find a way to become a well respected figure that incited some change outside the scope of his routine, daily work life then he could also possibly constitute as a public intellectual.

A self-proclaimed, condescending twit, is just a self-proclaimed condescending twit. It doesn't take much to dismantle them. But some philosophers, for instance, are also public intellectuals who have made an enormous impact on today's culture. There does need to be an accepting audience to justify their rationale, so snootiness won't be rewarded.

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