In a recent piece in The Guardian, Patricia Williams writes about the rising anti-intellectualism she sees in the US. While reading this piece, I thought that the situation in the Netherlands is rapidly deteriorating in just the same way that Williams describes in the US (though the banning of certain books by universities will probably never happen in the Netherlands).
There are a number of factors at play in the current rash of controversies. One is a rather stunning sense of privilege, the confident sense of superiority that allows someone to pass sweeping judgment on a body of work without having done any study at all.
I was rather struck by this passage, since I all of a sudden had to think about the books by Richard Dawkins, Jerry Coyne, Sam Harris, Lawrence Krauss and many more “new atheists” who, though they pride themselves for their “critical thinking”, are a rather sad example of exactly the same mind set that Williams describes as becoming part of the American culture.
But Williams’ Guardian piece is not about new atheism. It’s a terrific read that makes you think: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/may/18/anti-intellectualism-us-book-banning?CMP=share_btn_tw.
(Photograph: Koen Van Weel/AFP/Getty Images.)