U.S. Hatred of Intellectuals
* Regarding Bruce J. Schulman’s “As American as Hating Intellectuals,” Opinion, Feb. 21: True, the House Republicans did not ask what a rational constitutional scholar would recommend they do; instead, many were reported to have asked, “What would Jesus do?” Perhaps they acted on their own individual consciences but also on their collective religious consciences, rather than in any sort of civic regard. This, I think, is a clear example of their personal, sectarian religious practices causing crisis, trauma and disruption to our diverse society at large.
If Americans are, on the whole, a moral yet reasoned and pragmatic people, this episode must serve to drive deeper into the background the minute yet mesmerizingly influential cadre of archaic clerics who, using leaders such as these as proxies, would like nothing more than to fulfill their own apocalyptic, suicidal fantasies by prosecuting an “American cultural war” entirely of their own making.
MARTIN K. ZITTER
Schulman, professor at Boston University and unabashed “intellectual,” laments the disrespect shown for those of his lofty station in life. Schulman’s words are that “intellectuals should not insist on deference,” but his clear presumption is quite to the contrary. “Rational discussion” is not the sole purview of “intellectuals,” a one-word oxymoron if ever there were one. Just look at the “brilliant” president and first lady and the huge messes both have made. The Holy Grail of “consensus” in universities has made open and honest debate impossible there, particularly in view of the utter lack of conservatives within their ranks.
I was dismayed that a professional historian such as Schulman could write an article, even for a general audience, on the subject of American anti-intellectualism without so much as referring to the late Richard Hofstadter’s 1964 study, “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life.”
RICHARD G. VINET