Dr. Mike Obsatz, Professor Emeritus at Macalester College
Back to Blog
When I was a young child, I heard some people say to me, "You're too smart for your own good."
I believe there has always been a sentiment of anti-intellectualism in America. This means that a person who studies, reads, learns, and goes to school for many years is sometimes labeled as an "egghead," "nerd" or "wierdo."
There is an association of highly trained and educated people as being out of touch with reality, or somehow seeing themselves as superior to others. This is intellectual snobbism.
Many bright, creative, educated people are as far from that as possible. They are dedicated citizens who want to use their knowledge to help society grow intellectually, spiritually and emotionally, and maintain good mental and physical health.
Experts write the books, create the videos and maintain a presence in the public eye. Some supposed "experts" are phonies and don't know what they are talking about. However, most of them have something of extreme value to share with others.
Some anti-intellectualism comes from resentment of experts for the power they have. Other people are envious because they don't believe they have the brain-power to study, read, and explore in depth certain areas.
The experts who have studied COVID-19 have worked long and hard to understand their field. If they tell people to wear masks in public and keep a social distance of at least six feet, they are not doing this to inconvenience people. They are trying to protect all of us from becoming ill and dying. It is for social interest, for the good of society as a whole.
As some Americans refuse to listen the expert epidemiologists, we see death rates from the virus rise. More and more people are infected. So far, in America, over 135,000 people have died from the Corona Virus. More than 3 million people in America have been infected by the virus.
I believe the anti-intellectual bias in America is due to the mistaken belief that freedom means one can do whatever he or she wants. Immediate gratification becomes an addiction. Some additional beliefs: Nobody is going to tell me what to do. The experts are pompous idiots who don't know what they are talking about.
As we have re-opened stores, restaurants, and businesses, and are planning to re-open schools, the death rate will probably rise higher. The intellectual experts have warned us about this. It is challenging and also sad to watch some people ignore their suggestions, keep this pandemic killing more people and continuing longer.
Peace and blessings,