Over at the Chronicle of Higher Education, English professor William Pannapacker has written an essay called “Why Do They Hate Us?” exploring the roots of popular rage against academics. It’s a thoughtful essay and worth a careful read, but I’d like to focus on his first explanation for the “hate”:
Anti-intellectualism and populism. Those tendencies in American life are not new, but they have become more virulent (see parts one and two of my column “On Stupidity”). Traditionally, professors have countered the tendency toward simplistic, slogan-based thinking — and manipulation — by teaching students to evaluate sources and reach their own conclusions on the basis of evidence derived from painstaking research.