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Republicans Are Becoming Less Educated

March 31, 2018 in Blogs

By Kali Holloway, AlterNet

Nerds to the left.

There are several key attributes that define the Republican Party in its modern incarnation: its overwhelming whiteness; its self-reported religiosity; its slavish devotion to a man who boasts he

An obvious contributor to the declining education level within the GOP is the party’s hostility toward higher education, which has grown more ardent in recent years, though dates back decades. In 1952, vice presidential candidate Richard Nixon labeled Democratic presidential contender Adlai Stevenson an “egghead,” a reference to both his intellect and emerging pate. People often point to William F. Buckley as epitomizing a more enlightened and pro-intellectual conservative movement, but that gives posh transatlantic accents too much credit while ignoring what’s actually being stated. In fact, the National Review founder declared in 1963 he “should sooner live in a society governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the 2,000 faculty members of Harvard University.” (He also argued American blacks weren’t quite civilized enough to have civil rights, because he was awful on multiple fronts.) In his campaign for California governor, Ronald Reagan suggested that “universities should not subsidize intellectual curiosity,” an argument that collapses in on itself under the weight of its vacuousness. And George W. Bush won infinite points with the anti-intellectualism crowd when he announced he wasn’t much for “sitting down and reading a 500-page book on public policy or philosophy or something.”

The cumulative effect of so much big, dumb posturing is a pervasive culture of animosity toward not just education, but sites of learning themselves. Institutions of higher learning are among the primary targets of Republican ire in the culture wars, with conservatives imagining universities as liberal indoctrination factories staffed by Marxists who transform impressionable white youth into communist feminazi agents of their own racial extinction. Last year, Pew researchers discovered that “a majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (58 percent) now say that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country, up from 45 percent last year.” The same poll found 72 percent …read more


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