Modern Bigotry

Many of the comments in response to a John Tierney piece about why conservatives avoid grad school are remarkable for their smug, unreflective hostility toward and ignorance about the people they criticize.

A typical comment:

Republican scholar is an oxymoron, by definition the right/conservatives of today are anti-intellectual and have more in common with Maoists than they do with the traditional American conservative movement. And this article in it’s false effort to be fair and balanced refuses to report on what’s real and true. How can those who deny science and academics somehow become 50% of our college faculity?

But a few of the commenters get it:

Many of these comments stink of the closemindedness and lack of tolerance that they claim to despise. Perhaps the pot is calling the kettle black. What sane person would self-select to learn in an environment so intellectually narrow and toxic to dissent?

Needless to say, there are many more comments like the first one above than like the second one.

Comments on the piece have been closed. I wonder why.

11 thoughts on “Modern Bigotry”

  1. “Comments on the piece have been closed. I wonder why.”

    As a fitting tribute to the state of mind of many of the commentators?

  2. This is why I love to read the NYTimes letters to the editors. They are completely demented. I think the NYT has found its audience, and they believe that the NYT is the voice of calm considered conservative wisdom.

    The USA is a big country. The population is more than 300 million, and one percent of them are subject to any mental ailment you can name. Schizophrenic — 1%; Autistic 1%; NYTimes acolyte 1%.

    The NYTimes circulation is just under 1 million for the daily paper and 1.4 million for Sunday. Not everyone who subscribes believes. I subscribe but I know it is leftist claptrap. Why do I subscribe?

    keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer

  3. So, Robert (and Jonathan, since you too obviously read it) : you read NYTimes for entertainment? Or like Joseph Fouche watching Charlie Rose, as counterintelligence data gathering (sort of)? Because I feel immediately nauseated after a first try: I hear and see too much of same crap already here in NY, it practically surrounds me.

    Let alone getting into [unsolicited on my part] conversations online like the one I referred to here. Hmmm. Maybe I should translate it for your delectation since you guys enjoy reading this kind of stuff – me, I’m just getting infuriated by stupidity and self-regard.

  4. I read the article, thought it was quite good. Its interesting that, for once, the NY Times readers turn out to be 1000 times crazier than the author.

  5. I also noticed that comments were closed and it was not long after the piece appeared.

    There is a real fixation about IQ on the left. My older son’s wife is a classic Berkley liberal, a nice woman but very opinionated. We were at a USC football game a coupe of years ago. It must have been against Cal. We were sitting on the lawn having a picnic before the game when my son and his then fiance arrived. While they were there having a glass of wine before the game, some USC kids came marching by with a sign that the USC freshman class had higher SAT scores than Cal’s freshman class. I have no idea if that was right but thought it was just a prank before the game to needle the Cal alums who were on the other side of the lawn having their picnic. My son’s fiance, however, was infuriated and declared she was going to get to the bottom of this and marched off after the kids.

    She eventually came back and I never heard the story of what happened when she found them. Since I didn’t hear they probably told her to buzz off. She is a very nice woman with a PhD and they are now married (Catholic church) and have a baby. The fixation on IQ is universal on the left, however.

  6. John, I was merely repeating an incident. I don’t know what to think about IQ. The whole concept was egalitarian in the beginning. It was a way to allow poor kids from unprivileged backgrounds an equal shot at scholarships and admission to elite schools. It became inconvenient when racial politics entered the fray in the 60s.

    In 1955, my Catholic high school (St Leo HS) senior class was marched down to the study hall and told we were taking a test. It was the SAT. There was no preparation and to this day I do not know my score. As it happened, I ended up a finalist for the National Merit Scholarship, new that year (1956). I applied to Cal Tech, my first choice to the almost exclusion of everything else. It turned out that my father, an Irishman who had dropped out of school at 15, refused to fill out a financial report that was required of parents for the National Merit Scholarship even though it supposed to be purely on merit. I didn’t know this until much later. I got a letter congratulating me as I did not need financial aid. I was told I was one of the 100 recipients that year had my father filled out that form. I had already received my dorm room assignment at Cal Tech. I couldn’t go, being to dumb to look for alternate sources of funding.

    For years after that, I got questionnaires from the program as we were all supposed to have high IQ. I don’t know what mine was, or is. I have never tried to find out. The SAT has been dumbed down and is very different. I don’t know that I would trust either that or the modern IQ tests, which have been altered by politics.

    Things were very different when the world was young. I never really forgave my father but he was very proud when I graduated from medical school. He told all his friends how tough it was to send a kid to medical school. When he died, some of them criticized me for not being sufficiently grateful for all he had done for me. Those of you who are Irish will understand.

  7. Mr. Kennedy,

    That’s exactly the opposite of my experience. I’ve heard over and over again that IQ doesn’t measure any actual characteristic, that the tests are culturally biased, and that “true intelligence” is more nuanced.

    I have my own doubts about IQ and other standardized tests, but since most of the highest scoring people I know lean conservative or libertarian, certainly not leftist, it would seem a rather self-defeating obsession.


  8. IQ is useful,but it is only part of the story. Intelligence is partly a moral quality. Is one intellectually honest or does one want to believe various comfortable fairy tales? Lack of an IQ shows up clearly, e.g Biden, and many of the political elite (not confined to the US,either)

  9. There are not many blacks and Jews in certain country clubs. As least there didn’t used to be until legal measures were instituted.

  10. IQ is an indirect measure. it may have some predictive power in the aggregate, but won’t guarantee anything about how a particular person (at a give IQ level) will actually perform in the real world. that woman with a reported IQ over 200, creates crossword puzzles or some such. a high IQ is certainly a plus, but there are other factors that need to be present to really get the most out of it. and it seems like mental illness and diminished physical vitality are often present in those that are super intelligent.

    just throwing in my $0.02, as I am happy with my own lot in life :) for me, I like being able to relate to most of the other people in the world, instead of feeling alienated from mankind.

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