Anti-Intellectualism or Constitutional Conservatism?
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
There's a new term being tossed about today by the folks on the
political left. Not surprising since they seem captive more to their
emotions than folks on the political right.
The term I see and hear continually popping up in leftist writings and
chattering is "Anti-Intellectualism" Sounds like a pitch fork and torch
crowd about to lynch an elitist college professor in the middle of the
night. That's what it is supposed to sound like and that is the scene
it is designed to conjure up in the minds of the reader and hearer.
Now, yours truly is one of those characters the left just LOVES to
hate. I am what they call today a constitutional conservative. Simply
put, it means I believe in the tenets of the ORIGINAL Constitution and I
further believe the US government has strayed far from the boundaries
of the constitution and we, the people, have an obligation to drag them
back within those boundaries, kicking and screaming if necessary, but,
for our own protection as a free people, we MUST regain control of our
So how does that make me an anti-intellectual. Truth be told -- I
haven't a clue. But somehow, in the minds of our leftist adversaries,
I looked-up anti-intellectualism and here is the definition I found:
"Anti-intellectualism is hostility towards and mistrust of intellect,
intellectuals, and intellectual pursuits, usually expressed as the
derision of education, philosophy, literature, art, and science, as
impractical and contemptible. Alternatively, self-described
intellectuals who are alleged to fail to adhere to rigorous standards of
scholarship may be described as anti-intellectuals." That's from
Wow! Them anti-intellectuals must be some purty dumb folk, right?
Hang on, because we are about to see how the left has created a derisive
term to cover anyone who believes in speaking the truth about the
socialist, progressive, liberal, academic, political left.
The very next paragraph from the Wikipedia article says the following:
"In public discourse, anti-intellectuals usually perceive and publicly
present themselves as champions of the common folk — populists against
political elitism and academic elitism — proposing that the educated are
a social class detached from the everyday concerns of the majority, and
that they dominate political discourse and higher education."
Before I tackle that allow me to offer this: Down south, where my life
and my heart resides, we have "a saying," which I believe was
tailor-made for the academic elite. It is the following: "He/she is
educated beyond his/her ability." See, we believe that is a very REAL,
We have all met, heard, seen on TV, read in the newspapers, read in
magazines, the pontification of those people with a string of letters
after their names which is supposed to just impress the HECK out of us.
Often, their sincere take on the human condition, politics, science,
the arts, etc, is, frankly, only amusing.
Because they lack "common sense."
There is another "old saying," actually two, I'd like to offer for your
consideration: One -- "Common sense isn't very common." And
two: "It is better to remain silent and allow folks to THINK you're a
fool, that to speak out -- and remove all doubt."
I am afraid our friends on the left have yet to confront those two
pearls of wisdom. Therefore, they prattle on and as the scriptures
tells: "Thinking themselves wise, they have become as fools."
Now, I have spent a few minutes considering the definition of
anti-intellectualism as rendered above, and after that painful exercise,
I have concluded that the left is correct in including me within
the bounds of their definition.
Here's why I say that. I happen to believe, along with a few million
other Americans, that the folks who wrote and ratified our constitution
said what they meant and meant what they said. I DO NOT believe the
constitution is a "living, breathing, document." For it to have any
power at all it must remain a document set in stone. Change is allowed
but it must be by an act of Congress and then that congressional act
must be approved by the people of the country in a state by state
ratification BEFORE it becomes a part of that document.
Changing, or amending, the constitution was MEANT to be a difficult
So much for my personal political views.
Now, as far as being anti-education, that is pure bovine scatology.
Some of the smartest people I know are highly educated
people. Some of the dumbest people I know are highly
educated people. Another "old saying" pops to mind: "There's no
fool like an educated fool."
If the left were to accuse me of being distrustful of direction handed
down to the great unwashed masses by academics who have no real life
experience other than that they have had on a college campus, then -- I
If the left were to accuse me of being disrespectful of America's public
education system and its utter failure to educate America's youth --
again -- I plead guilty.
If the left were to accuse me of being distrustful, derisive, and even
dismissive of pseudoscience, which claims human beings are the direct
cause of something they like to call global warming and climate change
and that over population of the earth BY HUMANS is bringing on the end
of the world as we know it -- absolutely, I plead guilty.
Now, I have just touched the TIP of the iceberg here. It would seem
that yours truly is everything the left loves to hate. And that is fine
What the left cannot grasp, however, is that the conservative faction in
this country feels as strongly about their belief as does the political
left. As a result, conservatives will fight the left's efforts with
everything the right has -- for as long as it takes. It is a sort of
checks and balances system. It works by not allowing America to go too
far either way. That, in my estimation, is a good thing.
We have learned a thing or two from history that serves America well.
We have learned that the political pendulum swings both ways and just at
the second it appears the pendulum is not going to swing back, it
stops, reverses itself, and swings all the way across the spectrum 'til
it stops at the opposite extreme.
I believe America's pendulum is, at the moment, stopped at the left
extreme of its swing. We have a presidential administration which is so
far left it is socialist. Americans are sick at heart about it and,
come November, they intend to shove the pendulum hard -- back towards
The infantile whining and over-indulged angst of the of the left, and
their broad attempts to define -- and redefine -- those of us on the
right side of America's political spectrum, only lends credence to the
right's claim that the political left is simply not up to the job of
governing a country in crisis. There is no time for a vision quest (as
some have referred to it) or social experiments. America
desperately needs experienced leadership to begin the long climb out of
the morass we have gotten ourselves into by implementing the leftist
It won't be easy. It will be a long hard grind -- and it will hurt. One
pays for one's mistakes. America made a huge mistake in 2008 and
now we are paying dearly for that error in judgment. But we can and
WILL survive. Such is the faith I have in America and her people.
J. D. Longstreet