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Jewish Women's Anti-Palin Prejudice:

Haaretz: She's very religious! She's rural! She's folksy! She's not an intellectual! She drops her "gs" and says "you betcha"!

Interestingly, the converse of the negative stereotype of the urban, slick, militantly secular, fast-talking Jewish intellectual that used to circulate widely in rural America. The rural folks seem have mostly gotten over it, and the Jewish urbanites (or at least the ones who aren't religious themselves) are now probably more prejudiced against them then vice-versa.

To clarify, there's nothing wrong about disliking Sarah Palin because you dislike her ideology, or criticizing her because you think she's unqualified to be president. (I presently share the latter sentiment, though I think Palin has real potential.) But to especially dislike her because she has a different religious and cultural background, while a not uncommon human phenomenon, smacks of the sort of prejudice American Jews have been fighting against for decades (and not just vis a vis Jews).

It's once again worth pointing out that none of the Jewish organizations who (properly) spoke out against anti-Obama emails based on prejudice against his part-Muslim background have said a word about Palin.

UPDATE: Some commenters are ably defending Palin's critics. But as a thought experiment, if it were a Jewish woman named Sarah Palinsky from New York running for vice-president on the Democratic ticket, and a Christian magazine had a story about how rural evangelical Christians women have a visceral near-hatred for her, not just because she's liberal, but because she's secular and has strange views on god, a "slick talker with a New York accent," too much of a cosmpolitan intellectual, and someone they see as a very real threat to everything they hold dear, I'm guessing the same commenters wouldn't be nearly as charitable.

And, of course, the prejudices exhibited against Palin's background are common among secular liberal urbanites of all religions. But you would think Jews, subject to so many unfair stereotypes themselves, might be more self-aware about such things then most.

JB:
We perhaps remember the last time a major political party tried to come to power based on simplistic policies, hatred, accusations that their political opponents are not "real countrymen," and appeals to rural, folksy anti-intellectuals.

It didn't work out so well.
11.4.2008 3:31pm
Donny:
DB writes, "The rural folks seem have mostly gotten over it, and the Jewish urbanites are now probably more prejudiced against them then vice-versa."

This seems contrary to the evidence we've seen in this campaign. Palin wouldn't be intentionally stoking this division (real vs. fake america, finding "goodness" in rural America, etc.) if it weren't still present in the minds of her rural supporters.
11.4.2008 3:31pm
JB:
edit: That movement also had as a figurehead an old, respected war hero who lent them his prestige and allowed them to consolidate their position, though he was not specifically part of them.
11.4.2008 3:32pm
byomtov (mail):
Did you read the same article I did? The business about dropped "g's" and "you betcha" is a tiny part of it, quoted from one individual.

Much of the rest does deal with dislikes based on political and value differences. It also mentions Jewish women who like Palin. Indeed, the only specific mentions of religion come from women who like her:

Palin's admirers among Jewish women, fittingly, seem to be concentrated most heavily in Orthodox communities, where her image as a religious person and an upholder of family values resonates.

and

"People say, 'Oh, she's a creationist,'" said Judy Davidson, a resident of Downingtown, Pa. who describes herself as being in between the Conservative and Orthodox movements. "What she believes is what every Orthodox Jew believes. We love her." Davidson runs a kosher sports-themed Internet cafe and sells Jewish McCain and Palin campaign paraphernalia on the side
11.4.2008 3:34pm
JB:
edit again: Since many secular Jews are intellectuals, Palin's anti-intellectual positions strike at us directly. It's the same as conservative Christian opposition to atheist secular advocates. While most rural, folksy people are not our enemies, Palin appears to be.
11.4.2008 3:34pm
Lawrence W-H:
Are you sure Jews dislike her for her different religious background, rather than the extent to which that religious background informs her politics? It seems more likely to be the latter (at least, it is for me), which is far more akin to judgment than prejudice.
11.4.2008 3:35pm
Shouting Thomas (mail) (www):
The linked article is largely based on an interview with the editor of Lilith magazine.

Lilith is about as crazy extreme feminazi as you can get. It is named after a fictional second wife of Adam who refused to submit to male authority. In other words, Lilith was a witch, not to mention a bitch.

I'd estimate that less than 1/10 of 1% of Jewish women are interested in this kind of fringe publication.

The anger expressed in the linked article is that of women who simply hate men, encourage lesbian separatism, etc. In short, Lilith magazine is a nutjob publication.

The fact that these nutjobs hate Sarah Palin... hell, that's an endorsement of the Governor.
11.4.2008 3:36pm
wm13:
JB, you don't think it's offensive to compare Sarah Palin to Adolf Hitler? I do.
11.4.2008 3:36pm
Kazinski:
While most rural, folksy people are not our enemies, Palin appears to be.

Enemy? She's a politician, not a panzer division. I'm voting for McCain, but Obama is not my enemy.
11.4.2008 3:38pm
Proctor John (mail):
I'm a Roman Catholic who will later today be voting for McCain-Palin.

What I just don't understand is how "Jewish feminist intellectuals" can fall all over themselves for Obama, when he is surrounded by anti-Israel advisers like Samantha Power and Susan Rice. Yet, Palin, who will actually support Israel, gets dissed because she drops her "g"s. I guess Class trumps Promised Land.
11.4.2008 3:40pm
AGuestAgain:
wm13: I think JB's talking about an American political party popular in the late nineteenth century. If you've got Hitler hangups, that's another thing....
11.4.2008 3:41pm
spool32 (mail):
That remains to be seen, eh?
11.4.2008 3:42pm
Ilya Non-Somin:
Jews are apprehensive of cultural populists, especially where the "culture" in question describes a tiny minority of Jews. Maybe things would have been better if her cultural populism was one where Americans are distinguished by their open-mindedness or pursuit of higher education. The fact that at the GOP Convention she quoted, in describing small towns, an Anti-Semite does not help.
11.4.2008 3:42pm
Bill2:

"Palin's anti-intellectual positions"


I wish someone would explain this to me. What anti-intellectual positions? Specific quotes, please...
11.4.2008 3:42pm
hawkins:

But to especially dislike her because she has a different religious and cultural background, while a not uncommon human phenomenon, smacks of the sort of prejudice American Jews have been fighting against for decades.


Disregarding the religion aspect, Im not so sure its prejudiced to oppose a politician due what you label "cultural background." I dont dislike Palin as a person, but I do dislike her as a VP candidate. I dont want the "rural, folsky" Palin representing our nation.
11.4.2008 3:42pm
Eric @ New York Personal Injury Law Blog (www):
But to especially dislike her because she has a different religious and cultural background, while a not uncommon human phenomenon, smacks of the sort of prejudice American Jews have been fighting against for decades.

Not so fast. She made a specific appeal to people based on her religious and cultural background, and trashed those that did not share religious and cultural background. If there is any prejudice, it is because she created it by alientating others for her political gain. You should not mistake prejudice against her as an individual for prejudice against her background.
11.4.2008 3:44pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
I'm not relying solely on this article, which just confirms what I've observed personally and in print.

Of course, it's not just that Palin's religion is different that causes the problem, but that she is some sort of evangelical Christian, and of a rural cultural background to boot.
11.4.2008 3:45pm
Waldensian (mail):

To clarify, there's nothing wrong about disliking Sarah Palin because you dislike her ideology, or criticizing her because you don't think she's unqualified to be president. (I share the latter sentiment, though I think Palin has real potential.) But to especially dislike because she has a different religious and cultural background, while a not uncommon human phenomenon, smacks of the sort of prejudice American Jews have been fighting against for decades.

I don't think Sarah Palin's "ideology" (fair game, according to you) and her "religion" (not fair game, according to you) are separable in the way you suggest.

For example, Palin is at least open to the idea of teaching Creationism -- a collection of absolutely absurd factual claims about the origin and development of life on earth -- in public schools. At one point she said public schools should "teach both" Creationism and evolution; she later amended that statement to say that Creationism didn't "have to be part of the curriculum." Gee, thanks.

I think teaching Creationism in public schools is a really, really bad idea. Land war in Asia bad.

Am I allowed to criticize Palin's position on this issue because it is merely part of her "ideology"? Or must I stay away from this topic, apparently upon pain of being labeled the equivalent of an anti-Semite, because the topic is "religious"?
11.4.2008 3:46pm
Shouting Thomas (mail) (www):
Check out this incredibly beautiful Jewish woman who loves Sarah Palin.
11.4.2008 3:47pm
David Warner:
Donny,

"This seems contrary to the evidence we've seen in this campaign. Palin wouldn't be intentionally stoking this division (real vs. fake america, finding "goodness" in rural America, etc.) if it weren't still present in the minds of her rural supporters."

Finding goodness in rural Anerica is evidence of her bigotry? Riiight, Donny, keep telling yourself that. Likewise, she never said word one about fake, and if she did it would be in reference to Washington/Wall Street corruption.

The assumption that she's saying anything about you and yours speaks to your own prejudice.
11.4.2008 3:49pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
But is Sarah Palin Jewish herself? There appears to be contradictory assertions about her ancestry. See for example this. Note one can be considered ethnically Jewish without being a practicing Jew.

While Palin does come across as an airhead, I don't understand the venom directed against her particularly since Biden also comes off that way.
11.4.2008 3:50pm
David Warner:
JB,

"edit again: Since many secular Jews are intellectuals, Palin's anti-intellectual positions strike at us directly. It's the same as conservative Christian opposition to atheist secular advocates. While most rural, folksy people are not our enemies, Palin appears to be."

What anti-intellectual positions? Are those like Obama's anti-capitalist ones? In both cases, its more about hanging on to old animosities than seeing the candidates for whom they are and what they espouse.
11.4.2008 3:52pm
cvt:
Stereotypes and personal characteristics are two different things. It may be wrong to dislike Palin because of her religious and cultural background, but she's not a victim of a stereotype or schema the way that Jewish women or other groups of people may be. Palin's religious and cultural background is a lot of who she is, and she clearly has done nothing to transcend it by learning something about the world beyond it.
11.4.2008 3:56pm
David Warner:
Waldensian,

"I think teaching Creationism in public schools is a really, really bad idea. Land war in Asia bad.

Am I allowed to criticize Palin's position on this issue because it is merely part of her "ideology"? Or must I stay away from this topic, apparently upon pain of being labeled the equivalent of an anti-Semite, because the topic is "religious"?"

I do think that your hyper-focus on this issue, given the (un)likelihood of it ever happening and the lack of anything in Palin's record that shows she's in the least concerned with advancing it should raise alarm bells about your motives.

Sort of like those who opposed Kennedy on the theory that he'd take orders from the Pope, if you get my drift.
11.4.2008 3:57pm
elim:
I think it would have to be Palinberg or Palinstein so we wouldn't think she was Polish. we aren't that bright out here.
11.4.2008 4:01pm
Oren:
Yes, I truly despair when candidates are "too much of an intellectual" -- god forbid someone that knows anything about anything should be in charge.
11.4.2008 4:02pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Palin's religious and cultural background is a lot of who she is, and she clearly has done nothing to transcend it by learning something about the world beyond it.
Yep, she's been in that narrow little bubble despite running for governor, upending the Republican machine in Alaska, becoming one of the most popular governors in the nation, and then the Republican vice-presidential nominee, all while raising 4, now 5 kids. But I'm sure she knows nothing about the world beyond what she was raised with. Do you even realize how dumb that sounds?
11.4.2008 4:03pm
David Warner:
Ilya Non-Somin,

"Jews are apprehensive of cultural populists, especially where the "culture" in question describes a tiny minority of Jews. Maybe things would have been better if her cultural populism was one where Americans are distinguished by their open-mindedness or pursuit of higher education."

What could you possibly be talking about? Our culture (they do get movies and TV up in Alaska these days) has more Jews shaping it than Weimar's did. Good thing too, as we goyim can get pretty boring. Her culture too. You do know that not only are her kids not home schooled, they're public schooled, correct? You think Falwell would go on SNL?
11.4.2008 4:03pm
RPT (mail):
"DB: Of course, it's not just that Palin's religion is different that causes the problem, but that she is some sort of evangelical Christian, and of a rural cultural background to boot."

Wrong. The problem is Palin appears to be only talk in the service of ambition. As a former Catholic-now-Charismatic Christian married to a Jewish-(messianic)-Charismatic woman from Brooklyn, the problem for me is the great degree to which the actual life of the Palin family has no connection whatsoever to the religious beliefs she (and she alone, apparently asserts.
11.4.2008 4:04pm
Xanthippas (mail) (www):

But as a thought experiment, if it were a Jewish woman named Sarah Palinsky from New York running for vice-president on the Democratic ticket, and a Christian magazine had a story about how rural evangelical Christians women have a visceral near-hatred for her, not just because she's liberal, but because she's secular and has strange views on god, a "slick talker with a New York accent," too much of a cosmpolitan intellectual, and someone they see as a very real threat to everything they hold dear, I'm guessing the same commenters woudln't be nearly as charitable.


From the article:


For some, the antipathy toward Palin is located even more closely at the intersection of feminism and Jewish identity. "She's the anti-wonk, the anti-intellectual, someone who doesn't want to brook differences of opinion," said Susan Weidman Schneider, the editor of Lilith, another Jewish feminist journal. "She is certainly not someone with whom I or other Jewish women I know would identify. There's a real sense of alienation."


Yes, those are exactly equivalent.
11.4.2008 4:04pm
elim:
so, it makes sense, "intellectually", to fear rural Palin while not fearing the influence of Jeremiah Wright(jews building ethnic bomb) or Farrakhan(do I need to go into details). doesn't sound so intellectual to me-sounds kind of dumb.
11.4.2008 4:06pm
Cornellian (mail):
It's hard for me to be a fan of a politician who doesn't think I'm a "real" American because I live in a blue state, went to an Ivy and am not an evangelical.
11.4.2008 4:06pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
"someone who doesn't want to brook differences of opinion"

on what basis does Ms. Schneider conclude that Palin is not just unintellectual (is Joe Biden an intellectual? please...), but "an anti-intellectual, someone who doesn't want to brook differences of opinion" other than stereotypes and prejudices?
11.4.2008 4:08pm
commontheme (mail):
So you are equating "prejudice" against a moron who took 6 years to graduate from a third tier university and who could not respond to a question about what newspapers she reads with prejudice against an intellectual?
11.4.2008 4:12pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Commontheme, why don't you reveal your identity and volunteer to take an IQ test, and compare it to Sarah Palin's IQ. I'm guessing you'd be rather embarrassed. The idea that anyone who is as slick a political operator as Palin is a "moron", in fact, suggests that whatever IQ you have, you lack common sense.
11.4.2008 4:16pm
PGofHSM (mail) (www):
is Joe Biden an intellectual? please...

For whatever reason, Sen. Biden has been deemed fit by Widener University to lecture on constitutional law. Can anyone think of a standard university course on which Gov. Palin would be deemed fit to lecture?

I've heard Republicans mock Biden because of his errors in talking about the Constitution (saying Art. I when he meant II, referring to domestic violence as "private crime"), because they say he ought to know better on this one topic at least. When I ask what topic they'd hold Palin to such a standard on, the only response I get is "Pipelines."
11.4.2008 4:17pm
U.Va. Grad:
The rural folks seem have mostly gotten over it, and the Jewish urbanites are now probably more prejudiced against them then vice-versa.

Having spent a pretty good amount of time in the past 10 years or so in both heavily urban and quite rural areas, my admittedly anecdotal opinion is that no one's gotten over it, and there's more than enough of that kind of sentiment to go around.
11.4.2008 4:18pm
Waldensian (mail):

I do think that your hyper-focus on this issue, given the (un)likelihood of it ever happening and the lack of anything in Palin's record that shows she's in the least concerned with advancing it should raise alarm bells about your motives.

Sort of like those who opposed Kennedy on the theory that he'd take orders from the Pope, if you get my drift.

First of all, you didn't answer my question.

Secondly, I don't get your drift. Am I the equivalent of an anti-Semite, or a Nativist? Don't be bashful -- if you're going to slander me, take a stand, man!

Really, stop beating around the bush. What is it about my revealed motives that are so worrisome or odious? The alarm bells going off are warning you of..... what, exactly? What horrible motive do I reveal when I argue that that Creationism is an idiotic belief?

I ask again: If you believe some matter of fact that's totally stupid, do you get some kind of pass because the belief is religious? If so, why?

Look, Sarah Palin is free to believe any kind of drivel she wants. She can believe that the Earth is 6,000 years old, or that Neptune caused Katrina. Whatever. But when she announces that it she is open to teaching drivel in public schools, then she is announcing an ideology that I find abhorent. I don't see how pointing that out makes me the equivalent of a Nativist or anti-Semite. Please explain that.

Finally, I'm trying to remember when Kennedy said he thought it would be a perfectly good idea to take orders from the Pope. Because in that case, he actually would have been a lot like Palin with respect to Creatonism. Otherwise, not so much.
11.4.2008 4:19pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
For whatever reason, Sen. Biden has been deemed fit by Widener University to lecture on constitutional law
Because he's a Senator, perhaps, and thus adds prestige to the school? You don't think the University of Alaska would invite Sarah Palin to lecture in a government class? But beyond that, lawyers are deemed competent to be adjunct professors in law schools, and Biden indeed has a J.D., albeit graduating at the bottom of his class of a mediocre law school after a plagiarism scandal.
11.4.2008 4:22pm
Per Son:
How do we determine "most popular governor"?

Seems kind of hard. Suppose that a governer in a state with 10,000,000 people has an approval rating of 60% of the population (or 6,000,000 people), couldn't you argue that they are more popular than a governor with 1,000,000 with 80% approval rating.
11.4.2008 4:22pm
Sarcastro (www):
I think all Jews are stereotyping Palin based on kooky views shared by some of her faith, so it's clear all Jews are prejudiced against her!
11.4.2008 4:22pm
PGofHSM (mail) (www):
Palin can be a gifted politician while still being anti-intellectual. If she's Mensa-qualified, she evidently didn't take the educational opportunities that the stunning IQ Bernstein attributes to her ought to have granted. There are different kinds of intelligence, as I've told a lot of lawyers over the last 8 years of the Bush Administration, and people who are big on reading-writing intelligence (what I think of as law school smart) underestimate other kinds of intelligence (organizational and social competence, what I call B-school smart).

What bothers me about Palin is that she seems to have gone through life without any sense that she should become better informed than she was on Aug. 1. My mother is a good business manager and has high levels of "B-school smart" (despite having only an associate's degree), but she also is aware that she doesn't know very much about a huge range of topics. Mom knows a lot about the stuff that's part of her jobs (running a health care business, running a household, raising disciplined, well-educated children), and doesn't stress about the rest. Mom also would blink a LOT if asked to become vice president of the U.S. I like having people who are focused on their jobs, even if it causes them to miss much of what else is out there. I don't like having such people think that because they do those jobs really well, they're ready to do anything else.
11.4.2008 4:23pm
JB:
wm13,
I calls it like I sees it. She's called me and mine "not real Americans," called us terrorist sympathizers, and in various ways made us unwelcome in this country. From Pharaoh in Egypt to Antiochus in Syria to Trajan in Rome to medieval England to, yes, Nazi Germany, the accusation of false citizenship has preceded and acted as a justification for pogroms and worse. Her church pals around with those who believe terrible things about the Jews, and she has thoroughly disrespected secular knowledge.

I don't think she's like Hitler, but the movement she represents makes my Jewish 6th sense tingle. Jews never come off well in "my patriotism is bigger than your patriotism" contests.
11.4.2008 4:25pm
David Warner:
Cornellian,

"It's hard for me to be a fan of a politician who doesn't think I'm a "real" American because I live in a blue state, went to an Ivy and am not an evangelical."

If you went to an Ivy but still think that A calling B C means that you are not-C, you should ask for your money back.
11.4.2008 4:28pm
elim:
good old mom-gave birth to a giant of intellect like PG of HSM but still is aware enough of her limitations not to engage his massive intellect. god bless her, knowing she's not as smart as the child she fed, clothed and probably put through school so he could become an intellectual. a mere "business manager". why, I say, old chap, how do you handle the shame of it all?
11.4.2008 4:30pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):

I think JB's talking about an American political party popular in the late nineteenth century.


What party would that be?
11.4.2008 4:31pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
"Palin can be a gifted politician while still being anti-intellectual."

Last post on this, but please, someone explain on what basis we can conclude that Palin is "anti-intellectual," as opposed to just "not intellectual." She's a rural housewife and small business owner who found her way into politics and quickly became a stunning success at it. She didn't attend elite colleges, or probably know anyone who did, and she wasn't interested in politics at the time, but had more normal (and healthy) career ambitions, like journalism, and other things to do with her time, like pay her own way through college. By the time she got interested in local politics, she already had three kids, and no time for the sort of dorm bsing that Clinton and Obama undoubtedly spent many hours engaging in. I, in fact, am more like them then like her. But I don't see any reason to disparage her for it; successful politicians like JFK, FDR, Truman, and Johnson were far from intellectuals, but with the partial exception of Johnson, I don't remember liberals disparaging them for it. Palin's real problem is that she was just a local political figure until two years ago, and had no particular occasion to be intensely interested in national and international issues. That's a good reason for McCain not to have chosen her for the ticket, but not a good reason to suggest that she' "anti-intellectual," must less a "moron."
11.4.2008 4:31pm
David Warner:
U Va Grad,

"Having spent a pretty good amount of time in the past 10 years or so in both heavily urban and quite rural areas, my admittedly anecdotal opinion is that no one's gotten over it, and there's more than enough of that kind of sentiment to go around."

Jews? No, when hate targets are needed, there are too many other more convenient ones close at hand. Plus, you know, all the small-towners are dull-witted dispensationalists, so they like Jews, even for the wrong reasons.

As for no one getting over it, most of us who've lived in both have managed it.
11.4.2008 4:32pm
elim:
do folks like wright, ayers, or farrakhan make this mystical "J" sense tingle-if they don't, you might want to go to a neurologist and get a tuneup. obama's church pals put an article in a church tract that jews were building an ethnic bomb that would affect only blacks and arabs-did you get any buzz when that came out?
11.4.2008 4:32pm
Sarcastro (www):
DavidBernstein

someone explain on what basis we can conclude that Palin is "anti-intellectual," as opposed to just "not intellectual."

Because of her religion, of course! Everyone that's as religious as she is must be anti-intellectual!

Wait...that was your original point, wasn't it...

Ohhhh.
11.4.2008 4:35pm
PGofHSM (mail) (www):
Prof. Bernstein,

I would be really surprised if the University of Alaska-Fairbanks hired Palin to lecture a course. (As opposed to being a guest lecturer for one class -- I once guest-lectured a class for a graduate course in health sciences on the strength of my undergrad bioethics major and being employed by a large HMO; professors like to bring in the occasional punching bag from the real world.) Her undergraduate degree was in journalism and she doesn't seem to have much interest in political theory. Here's a list of courses being offered this semester at UA-Fairbanks, the top college in the state and the only one offering a PhD:

Political Economy
Intro to Amer Govt &Politics
Comparative Politics
Ethics and Society
International Politics
International Political Econ
East Asian Govt &Politics

Which of those do you honestly believe UA-Fairbanks would consider Palin competent to teach and grade students on?
11.4.2008 4:36pm
David Warner:
Waldensian,

I wasn't aware that I was beating around the bush. Yes, based on what you've said, you strike me as a bigot. Very much of a piece with the Know-Nothings. Grats!
11.4.2008 4:36pm
Aultimer:

db

"The rural folks seem have mostly gotten over it, and the Jewish urbanites (or at least the ones who aren't religious themselves) are now probably more prejudiced against them then vice-versa."


You need to get out more - farther than Middleburg - to Real(R) America sometime. That's patently false - there's lots of prejudice against Jews, blacks and "city slickers" in general (since Jews and blacks only live in cities, you see).

Furthermore, bias against an overwhelming majority (Protestants) is a very different animal than bias against a smallish minority (Jews).
11.4.2008 4:37pm
PGofHSM (mail) (www):
Good Lord, elim, I just referred to Mom as having 'high levels of "B-school smart"' and saying that lawyers tend to underestimate this, and there you go proving my point -- that if someone is described as organizationally and socially intelligent, but not interested in doing a ton of reading and verbal analysis, the people who hear that description will say, "Oh, so you think she's stupid?"

I don't think I could do what Mom does. I don't think she could do what I do. She hopefully wouldn't say I was dumb (just impractical) and I certainly wouldn't say she's dumb (just not very curious about abstract ideas). But thanks for making my point.
11.4.2008 4:41pm
Hoosier:
Jews don't like her because they can't control her. The ZOG has a lousy ground-game in Alaska. so they can't control the politics, schools, and media as well as they do in the rest of the US. Like New Jersey, Florida, or Montana, for example.

The Zionists are worried about losing their hold on power. That's all this is about, of course. If Obama wins, the ZOG controls the White House for another four years. If McCain wins, on the other hand, the ZOG controls the White House for another four years.

See? The stakes are too great for you to stay at home today!!!
11.4.2008 4:44pm
hawkins:

please, someone explain on what basis we can conclude that Palin is "anti-intellectual," as opposed to just "not intellectual."


I dont know if it exists as to Palin herself. But the selection of her (a non-intellectual) as VP demonstrates the GOP's trend toward being "anti-intellectual."
11.4.2008 4:48pm
trad and anon (mail):
Interestingly, the converse of the negative stereotype of the urban, slick, militantly secular, fast-talking Jewish intellectual that used to circulate widely in rural America. The rural folks seem have mostly gotten over it, and the Jewish urbanites (or at least the ones who aren't religious themselves) are now probably more prejudiced against them then vice-versa.
Conservatives have spent at least the last eight years attacking secular arugula-eating latte-sipping metrosexual coastal elites. That stereotype is urban, it's slick, it's rich, and it's very secular. Looks a lot like the Jewish stereotype David claims is dead, no?

Conservative politicians and pundits wouldn't be spending all this energy promoting this stereotype if it didn't appeal to anyone's prejudices.
11.4.2008 4:48pm
TruePath (mail) (www):
The situation between secular views and religious views simply isn't symetric the way you suggest. Supernatural religious views, like believing in UFOs, creationism or any of the other things you would happily discriminate against a believer in, indicate a (more) objectively flawed means of forming opinions.

I would point out that the same argument should work if you are an intellectually coherent believer. Either,

A) You think that enough evidence, information, grace, whatever is provided to the people at large to make it more likely than not that someone of good judgement would believe in your particular religion.

B) You Don't (maybe you have special revaluation others lack etc..)

In either situation finding out if someone accepts your general religious framework is a good justification for adjusting your judgment of their deciscion making ability.
11.4.2008 4:48pm
LM (mail):
The artifact of religious bigotry is a red herring.

The negative stereotype of the urban, slick, militantly secular, fast-talking Jewish liberal intellectual that used to still circulates widely in rural right wing America.
11.4.2008 4:49pm
Mr. James (mail):

Yet, Palin, who will actually support Israel,


But it also matters WHY Palin supports Israel.

Do you know WHY American Evangelicals, Pentacostals, Charismatic Christians, and other Christian Zionists support Israel? It's a huge movement these days.

It has to do with fulfilling Biblical prophecies and bringing on the End Days.

It has nothing to do with promoting the welare of Jewish people.

Moreover, the "blank check" approach advocated by Palin with regards to Israel in American foreign policy may not be the best thing FOR Israel or Jewish people.
11.4.2008 4:51pm
JB:
elim,
I lived in Hyde Park for 3 years. Lots of black people are angry at how they've gotten screwed by white America--Obama is not one of them. Wright said this shit because he's an angry Black man, not because he's part of a movement 1/3 of the country strong that wants to toss out the scientific method because it interferes with their religious interpretation of the world. If Wright or Farrakhan had 1/6 the support that the Fundamentalist Right does in this country, they'd make me tingle.

As to Ayers, show me how he's anti-semitic. Even Bernstein's most Ayers-deranged posts have not accused him of that.
11.4.2008 4:52pm
random electron:
As an ex-liberal and a Jew, I can attest to the bigotry my brethren direct at Christians. I was brought up that way, lived in Jewish communities where anti-Christian talk was always whispered. The fact is that liberal Jews are more liberal than Jews. They hate anything religious, including the Orthodox. They will make every excuse for Muslims who blow up Jews, but detest Christians who support Israel. It's a screwy world.
11.4.2008 5:01pm
PC:
not just because she's liberal, but because she's secular and has strange views on god, a "slick talker with a New York accent," too much of a cosmpolitan intellectual, and someone they see as a very real threat to everything they hold dear

Prof. Bernstein, this sounds like a generic Republican attack on Democrats. Parts of it sound like the same attacks Gov. Palin has been pushing.
11.4.2008 5:05pm
PGofHSM (mail) (www):
Incidentally, it's worth noting that Palin's own fans talk about her "Anti-Intellectual Appeal" and her having a different type of intelligence than Obama and Biden do:

'It isn't that Sarah Palin is unintelligent. It's that she's not an intellectual. She's never been a professor, like Sen. Obama. She hasn't sat through endless and needless dribble from the academic lecture-circuit. She's probably never read Noam Chomsky, and if she did, she'd be repulsed. ...
'Gov. Palin might not be an ivory tower thinker, in the detached collegiate sense. But she's a doer. Her knowledge is a different sort than the prototype politician. It's the kind of knowledge that garners greater appreciation for American culture in far-off, distant Alaska than those working in the heart of the country's capital. It's the kind of knowledge rooted in personal experience, upbringing, and instinct -- or what Thomas Paine called "common sense."'
11.4.2008 5:05pm
Kevin P. (mail):

Eric @ New York Personal Injury Law Blog (www):
[Palin] made a specific appeal to people based on her religious and cultural background, and trashed those that did not share religious and cultural background.


Please provide a specific quote (a recent one would be even better) where Palin has trashed those who did not share her religious and cultural background.
11.4.2008 5:14pm
Kevin P. (mail):

JB:
... Palin's anti-intellectual positions ...


Please provide some quote or link to some of her quotes that show that she is anti-intellectual.
11.4.2008 5:15pm
LM (mail):
random electron,

As an ex-liberal and a Jew, I can attest to the bigotry my brethren direct at Christians. I was brought up that way, lived in Jewish communities where anti-Christian talk was always whispered. The fact is that liberal Jews are more liberal than Jews. They hate anything religious, including the Orthodox. They will make every excuse for Muslims who blow up Jews, but detest Christians who support Israel.

If liberals were as generally, much less uniformly, intolerant as you suggest, I'd be an ex-liberal too. For that matter, same goes for Jews and my being Jewish. When you use that broad a brush you smear people indiscriminately, and I say that as someone who now has some of your slime on me. Thanks.
11.4.2008 5:17pm
commontheme (mail):

Commontheme, why don't you reveal your identity and volunteer to take an IQ test, and compare it to Sarah Palin's IQ. I'm guessing you'd be rather embarrassed. The idea that anyone who is as slick a political operator as Palin is a "moron", in fact, suggests that whatever IQ you have, you lack common sense.

Sure thing, DB, you get her lined up to take an IQ test and let me know and I will be happy to do the same.

And since you seem to be enthralled with her intellect (did you, like Rich Lowry, see little starbursts when she winked during the debate?) perhaps you could answer this: let's assume that she possesses a decent intellect, why do you think she couldn't identify a newspaper that she reads when asked?

Could you do that, DB? Could you name a couple of newspapers that you read? I bet you could.
11.4.2008 5:17pm
Randy R. (mail):
"That's patently false - there's lots of prejudice against Jews, blacks and "city slickers" in general (since Jews and blacks only live in cities, you see). "

And don't forget the homosexuals! And even worse than men kissing men is that they eat arugula.

(And who doesn't just *hate* those gay men who have six pack abs and beautiful skin)
11.4.2008 5:17pm
theobromophile (www):
elim: PG is a woman. Watch the pronouns. :)


But it also matters WHY Palin supports Israel.

Do you know WHY American Evangelicals, Pentacostals, Charismatic Christians, and other Christian Zionists support Israel? It's a huge movement these days.

It has to do with fulfilling Biblical prophecies and bringing on the End Days.

It has nothing to do with promoting the welare of Jewish people.

Oh, please. On what basis do you support that? The evangelicals that I know love Israel and everything about it. They firmly believe that the Jews are God's chosen people - not Christians, not evangelicals, but Jews. As one of my friends likes to say, anyone who messes with the Jews or Israel goes down in flames. Ya know, if they wanted to bring about the end times, they would let Israel be trashed, knowing that it could trigger world war etc., rather than protect it.
11.4.2008 5:20pm
Kevin P. (mail):

JB:
I calls it like I sees it. She's called me and mine "not real Americans," called us terrorist sympathizers, and in various ways made us unwelcome in this country.


The "not real Americans" at least has some basis - Palin said something like it at the small town she was visiting and subsequently apologized for it. You won't mind providing a link where she called you and other Jews terrorist sympathizers.
11.4.2008 5:20pm
Randy R. (mail):
Commontheme: "perhaps you could answer this: let's assume that she possesses a decent intellect, why do you think she couldn't identify a newspaper that she reads when asked?"

Oh come on. That's just unfair. She's spends so much time raising five kids, keeping Russia at bay, spreading oil wealth around to her citizens, checking the books in the library for anything that makes gays look good, and promoting her high school friends to top jobs -- you can't seriously expect that she would know the names of newspapers off the top of her pretty little head, do you? It was just so unfair of the press to ask her such tough questions, especially since she was sooooo politically naive on August 1. You have to give her some time to get used to the rough and tough world of politics!
11.4.2008 5:22pm
Kevin P. (mail):

hawkins:
I dont know if it exists as to Palin herself. But the selection of her (a non-intellectual) as VP demonstrates the GOP's trend toward being "anti-intellectual."


LOL, now we're getting somewhere. So someone who is not an intellectual is therefore anti-intellectual? And if your party picks someone who is not an intellectual then the party is anti-intellectual?

This is really sophisticated thinking. Wow. Dare I ask it, are you an intellectual?

I ask this as someone who has a Master's degree in Chemical Engineering. Unfortunately, this is not usually considered an "intellectual" degree, like philosophy or the arts or the law might be. Ergo, I am anti-intellectual!
11.4.2008 5:26pm
NowMDJD (mail):

She's the anti-wonk, the anti-intellectual, someone who doesn't want to brook differences of opinion," said Susan Weidman Schneider, the editor of Lilith, another Jewish feminist journal. "She is certainly not someone with whom I or other Jewish women I know would identify. There's a real sense of alienation."

I have no doubt that Ms. Schneider is warmly tolerant of people who disagree with her and has many conservative friends.
11.4.2008 5:26pm
Randy R. (mail):
"hey firmly believe that the Jews are God's chosen people - not Christians, not evangelicals, but Jews"

Must be interesting to be raised in such a family. "No, little Joey, you aren't loved quite as much by God as little jewish boys are, and nothing you do will ever make you as special in His eyes. You just chose the wrong parents, is all."
11.4.2008 5:26pm
Waldensian (mail):

Yes, based on what you've said, you strike me as a bigot. Very much of a piece with the Know-Nothings. Grats!

Well, that's a start. Now we have something to work with. So, I'm like the Know-Nothings.

Except.... you're apparently some kind of idiot if you think that.

Let's take a look at the party's beliefs, and see how I stack up. According to no less an authority than Wikipedia:

The platform of the American Party called for, among other things:

Severe limits on immigration, especially from Catholic countries
[Me, not so much. I'm a big fan of amnesty for unlawful aliens, and I'm particularly gratified by the large numbers of hard-working Mexican immigrants who have entered our country in pursuit of a better life]


Restricting political office to native-born Americans
[Yeah right. I'd vote for Christopher Hitchens for President if I could]

Mandating a wait of 21 years before an immigrant could gain citizenship
[Quite the contrary for me, see above]

Restricting public school teachers to Protestants
[LMAO. Yeah, right, I'm totally in favor of that -- particularly fundamentalists who want to teach Creationism]

Mandating daily Bible readings in public schools
[Have you gathered that I'm opposed to that?]

Restricting the sale of liquor
[In a pig's eye!!]


Sorry, looks like I'm 100% not akin to a Know Nothing. That's probably because they were a bunch of... how can I say this.... bigots.

What's your score?

Maybe you should try again by calling me an anti-Semite?

So much for your insults. I'm still waiting for any substantive response from you to my very simple questions about criticizing Creationism, and why doing so is somehow more off-limits than criticizing any other absurd factual belief.

[crickets continue to chirp]
11.4.2008 5:29pm
Randy R. (mail):
Kevin: "I ask this as someone who has a Master's degree in Chemical Engineering. Unfortunately, this is not usually considered an "intellectual" degree, like philosophy or the arts or the law might be. Ergo, I am anti-intellectual!"

Well, if you hired an assistant who didn't have any chemical degrees, but did have a JD and BA in philosophy, I don't think it will cut it to say that your job is all just common sense anyway. Some might even say it would be sorta stupid hire such a person.
11.4.2008 5:29pm
Kevin P. (mail):

LM:
If liberals were as generally, much less uniformly, intolerant as you suggest, I'd be an ex-liberal too.


I won't go so far as to say that all or even most liberals are as bigoted as he describes. But I live in the liberal bubble of Austin, Texas, and a disheartening number of liberals I have met are quite bigoted towards religious faith. And gun owners. And "rednecks". And the people of the rest of Texas. And ... ahhh, I could be here all night.

There are certainly tolerant and respectful liberals that I know but I suspect this has more to do with their personality than their ideology.
11.4.2008 5:31pm
Kevin P. (mail):

Randy R. (mail):
Kevin: "I ask this as someone who has a Master's degree in Chemical Engineering. Unfortunately, this is not usually considered an "intellectual" degree, like philosophy or the arts or the law might be. Ergo, I am anti-intellectual!"

Well, if you hired an assistant who didn't have any chemical degrees, but did have a JD and BA in philosophy, I don't think it will cut it to say that your job is all just common sense anyway. Some might even say it would be sorta stupid hire such a person.


This is too funny. My first manager in the first factory where I ever worked didn't have ANY degree - just a high school diploma. He was the best manager I ever had and successfully managed a staff of engineers, some of whom had PhDs. I routinely interviewed and hired people for engineering positions, and while a degree was certainly a positive, we picked people who could get the job done. In my 20 years of experience, I have found that degrees can be overrated. They are just one of many factors in determining if a person will be successful. Academia may be an exception to this rule, and it may not be a happy exception to this rule either.
11.4.2008 5:36pm
lpc (mail):
I'll bet Palin knows how many states are in the union, and how many letters the word "jobs" has. Oh, wait, we shouldn't judge political candidates by an occasional moronic off-the-cuff remark?
11.4.2008 5:36pm
PGofHSM (mail) (www):
Thanks theobromophile!

With regard to the statement: "The evangelicals that I know love Israel and everything about it. They firmly believe that the Jews are God's chosen people - not Christians, not evangelicals, but Jews."

I am not sure how this fits with Palin's church's promotion of groups like "Jews for Jesus," but admittedly I don't understand conversion-oriented religions faiths in general, not having been raised in one. I mean, I know that Christians and Muslims are directed by their faith to bring the word of God -- their version of God -- to others, but I am not sure how well that fits with respecting others' religion. It seems like you would respect the person -- otherwise, why care whether or not he is saved? -- but not really respect his religion if you are trying to convince him it is wrong. I respect Republicans as people, but I don't respect many of their political beliefs and would like for them to change those beliefs. It would be fair to accuse me of not respecting Republicans qua Republicans, and it seems equally fair to accuse literal evangelicals -- people who seek to convert others to Christianity -- of not respecting Jews qua Jews, at least to the extent that "Jew" is a religious rather than ethnic label. (I am sure that evangelicals as a group possess no more ethnic bias than non-evangelicals.)
11.4.2008 5:36pm
commontheme (mail):

I'll bet Palin knows how many states are in the union, and how many letters the word "jobs" has. Oh, wait, we shouldn't judge political candidates by an occasional moronic off-the-cuff remark?

An occasional moronic off-the-cuff remark?

Have you seen the interview with Couric?

Is it your impression that she capably answered dozens of questions and then just kind of dropped the ball on one or two?

You are living in a separate reality.
11.4.2008 5:44pm
lpc (mail):
Her early interviews remind me of Clarence Thomas's initial confirmation hearings; he was overhandled, and therefore struggled to say anything coherent, leading people to believe he was stupid. He fired the handlers when the the Anita Hill allegations arose, and whatever you think of those allegations or his performance as a Justice, has shown that he is a very capable person. Similarly, since Palin has taken more control of her own campaign, she's been doing a lot better.
11.4.2008 5:49pm
commontheme (mail):

and whatever you think of those allegations or his performance as a Justice, has shown that he is a very capable person.

how has he done that, exactly?

His incisive questioning from the bench? His ability to build coalitions with other justices?

(I think he may get some help drafting his opinions, by the way.)
11.4.2008 5:55pm
geokstr:
It's not often I can consider myself more learned on a subject then the brainiac denizens of this site, but for a couple years I intensely followed the evolution/creationism wars on a site called talk.origins. Considerably simplified, here are the basics:

There are two major types of creationsism: Old Earth (OEC) and Young Earth (YEC).

The loons are all YEC. They are the ones who believe in the inerrancy of the bible - a 10,000 year old universe, the impossible great flood of Noah, and their key belief: evolution is a religion for atheists. (Intelligent Design (ID) is just YEC repackaged for the purpose of sneaking it into the schools.)

OEC, by contrast, still believes that their god created the universe, but 14 billion years ago, and maybe that he stepped in at key points in the interim with a bit of tinkering, but that the way he chose to work his magic was through the laws of physics and the process of evolution. Basically, this is the belief system of the hundreds of thousands of scientists who happen to still believe in god, and is totally compatible with modern science. Modern science does not claim that a "god" cannot exist, or that he doesn't tweak his little toy universe on occasion, only that it can't be proven one way or the other using the scientific method, which must assume that all things are explainable by physical laws.

Palin is the daughter of a science teacher, and is on record saying that evolution should be taught in schools as scientific fact. This alone would have her burned at the stake by the Young Earthers as a blasphemer. Therefore, at worst she is an Old Earth Creationist, which is a totally mainstream belief system that poses no threat to science.

As a life-long atheist, I for one have no particular fear that if she ever gained power, her religious beliefs would pose any dangers to our way of life. If I did, I'd run from her as well. I wish that that specific complaint about her would just go away, but like all comfortable myths, once it finds a home, is rarely evicted.
11.4.2008 5:56pm
Kevin P. (mail):

geokstr:
Palin is the daughter of a science teacher, and is on record saying that evolution should be taught in schools as scientific fact. This alone would have her burned at the stake by the Young Earthers as a blasphemer. Therefore, at worst she is an Old Earth Creationist, which is a totally mainstream belief system that poses no threat to science.

As a life-long atheist, I for one have no particular fear that if she ever gained power, her religious beliefs would pose any dangers to our way of life. If I did, I'd run from her as well. I wish that that specific complaint about her would just go away, but like all comfortable myths, once it finds a home, is rarely evicted.


geokstr, thanks for posting this. It is amazing how much misinformation is systematically propagated about this woman. And much of it is by those who call themselves intellectuals! Perhaps they have forgotten about the "questioning myth" part of the intellect.
11.4.2008 6:01pm
The General:
unfortunately, most intellectuals aren't very intellectual. They just think they are.
11.4.2008 6:11pm
Asher (mail):
But as a thought experiment, if it were a Jewish woman named Sarah Palinsky from New York running for vice-president on the Democratic ticket, and a Christian magazine had a story about how rural evangelical Christians women have a visceral near-hatred for her, not just because she's liberal, but because she's secular and has strange views on god, a "slick talker with a New York accent," too much of a cosmpolitan intellectual, and someone they see as a very real threat to everything they hold dear, I'm guessing the same commenters wouldn't be nearly as charitable.

No, I wouldn't be nearly as charitable, because being an intellectual is a good thing. Whereas being an anti-intellectual and a dumb person is a bad thing, especially when you're running for the Vice Presidency. It's not a different strokes for different folks type of issue, you know? One's good and the other's bad.
11.4.2008 6:16pm
Rod Blaine (mail):
Shame, eh, that Palin doesn't exhibit the classy grace of a Fran Drescher, or the conciliatory, one-America politics of a Sarah Silvermann...

As for historical parallels... There was once a political party that a lot of Jewish people initially supported because it promised to overthrow the old order of anti-Semitic religious obscurantism and to usher in a new era of egalitarian secularism. Ended up killing twenty million people, and turning the nation into a prison camp from which Jews were among the first to want to escape. Oh, and provided weapons for its Arab allies to try to destroy the state of Israel.

Moral: don't get too cute with historical parallels.
11.4.2008 6:18pm
CJColucci:
Some commenters are ably defending Palin's critics. But as a thought experiment, if it were a Jewish woman named Sarah Palinsky from New York running for vice-president on the Democratic ticket, and a Christian magazine had a story about how rural evangelical Christians women have a visceral near-hatred for her, not just because she's liberal, but because she's secular and has strange views on god, a "slick talker with a New York accent," too much of a cosmpolitan intellectual, and someone they see as a very real threat to everything they hold dear, I'm guessing the same commenters wouldn't be nearly as charitable.

This doesn't have to be a "thought experiment." There's a considerable body of actual experience. Have you somehow missed it?
11.4.2008 6:18pm
cabalamat (mail) (www):
But to especially dislike her because she has a different religious and cultural background

There's nothing wrong with coming from a religious background. There's everything wrongf with wanting to impose your religion on others.
11.4.2008 6:20pm
PGofHSM (mail) (www):
Palin has NOT said that evolution should be taught as fact, but rather, with regard to evolution and creationism: "Teach both. You know, don't be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important, and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both."

You can't teach evolution as fact if you're teaching it in science class as part of a "healthy debate" with creationism. That would be like teaching Martin Gilbert's The Holocaust in history class as part of a "healthy debate" with David Irving's work. The place for such "healthy debates" is a class on debate or rhetoric or politics, not science or history (which are supposed to teach facts and the analysis thereof).

This claim -- "Palin is the daughter of a science teacher, and is on record saying that evolution should be taught in schools as scientific fact. This alone would have her burned at the stake by the Young Earthers as a blasphemer." -- evidences a ludicrous assumption that Young Earthers are stupid. They're not. They are politically savvy and know that the only way they're currently going to get their ideas taught is in the "teach the debate" format.
11.4.2008 6:28pm
DangerMouse:
There's everything wrongf [sic] with wanting to impose your religion on others.

Impose your religion on others?

Interesting you should say that. Here's an ad asking people to vote NO on Prop 8. It says that the Mormon Church has spent over 20 million to support Prop 8, and says "Say No to a Church Taking Over Your Government." So the mormons saying what they think is now taking over the government? So to prevent the takeover of government then, it suggests we should ban Mormons from speaking.

Either Mormons have a right to speak or they don't. The complaint about "imposition" is just another excuse to silence others.
11.4.2008 6:29pm
Sarcastro (www):
DangerMouse is right to turn cabalamat's moral statement into a legal one and then talk about how some ad in California is bad.

That strawman was destroyed!
11.4.2008 6:43pm
New Pseudonym:
@ Oren

Yes, I truly despair when candidates are "too much of an intellectual" -- god forbid someone that knows anything about anything should be in charge.


And what exactly would be your support for your assertion that an intellectual knows anything? My personal (anecdotal) experience with "intellectuals" is that they are amazed that anyone who disagrees with their narrow view of the world actually zips up their fly after relieving themselves.
11.4.2008 6:44pm
Cornellian (mail):

If you went to an Ivy but still think that A calling B C means that you are not-C, you should ask for your money back.


And if you think calling some parts of the country "real America" doesn't imply that other parts of the country are not "real America" then you would have bombed the SAT and never been admitted to that Ivy in the first place.
11.4.2008 6:50pm
DangerMouse:
Sarcastro, if silencing religious people isn't the end, then what else is meant by complaints about imposition? Assuming there's something else intended, what is meant by imposition? No one is forcing you to convert at gunpoint, and people are allowed to express their political views. So what's imposition? Really?
11.4.2008 6:56pm
geokstr:
PGofHSM:

"Palin has NOT said that evolution should be taught as fact..."


Couric: Do you believe evolution should be taught as an accepted scientific principle or as one of several theories?

Palin: Oh, I think it should be taught as an accepted principle. And, as you know, I say that also as the daughter of a school teacher, a science teacher, who has really instilled in me a respect for science. It should be taught in our schools. And I won't deny that I see the hand of God in this beautiful creation that is Earth. But that is not part of the state policy or a local curriculum in a school district. Science should be taught it science class. (Emphasis mine.)


Sorry PG, but her opinion must have evolved as well. Teaching evolution as an "accepted principle" is pretty strong language for any YEC, pretty close to accepting defeat.

I never said YECs were stupid, but they still are loons.

Personally, if I were a science teacher in high school, I'd love to have debates about creationism. It's so easy to demolish in an environment where the "Gish Gallop" is not employed as a debate tactic, but that is another story altogether.

Not to inject the old Muslim/Obama canard, but strictly in the context of this thread, can I assume you would be dead set against any Muslim teaching science in our schools, or being in any position to influence what gets taught in science class? Their positions on creationism make our YECs look like evolution lovers.
11.4.2008 7:00pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):

As I said earlier, we see Palin compared to some ideal combination of Mme. Curie and Geraldine Ferraro, or somebody.
And Biden, who's been sequestered for the obvious reason that the campaign doesn't trust him to open his mouth gets a pass.

Forget the details, guys. The big picture makes you look really, really silly.

Also. Please explain what it is about intellectuals that makes them good at anything besides being an intellectual.
11.4.2008 7:05pm
pedro (mail):
To me it is obvious that describing (pejoratively) someone as a "slick, fast-talking, intellectual cosmopolitan" is simply an expression of cultural disapproval, whereas describing someone as "uneducated, ultra-religious, anti-intellectual" is at least partly an indictment on the subject's ability to hold high office. Since when is being smart, educated, knowledgeable about the world, cosmopolitan, anything but a virtue when it comes to aspiring to high office?
11.4.2008 7:36pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
pedro.
Jeez, I dunno. Bill Clinton had all that in spades. Outside of scandals, his administrations were known for, effectively, nothing.
11.4.2008 7:47pm
LM (mail):
Kevin P.:

There are certainly tolerant and respectful liberals people across the ideological spectrum that I know but I suspect this has more to do with their personality than their ideology.
11.4.2008 7:52pm
Kevin P. (mail):
LM, fair enough, but liberals tend to advertise, as an attractive feature, how inclusive, tolerant and respectful they are. Unfortunately, their tolerance is only for their ideological fellows.
11.4.2008 7:57pm
Visitor Again:
Sarah Palin is entitled to believe whatever she wants, and I certainly don't hate her as a person simply because her beliefs are very far from mine.

But I do have strong negative feelings about Sarah Palin as a candidate for public office because she brought to the campaign a bitter, mean-spirited divisiveness bordering on hatred for those who do not share her beliefs. Certainly she has consistently encouraged the view that Obama and his supporters are the enemy and not real Americans. Our country is in deep trouble, and that kind of divisiveness is not only unhelpful but dangerous.

Sarah Palin has been exposed on the national stage as a mean-spirited harridan who appeals to a relatively narrow spectrum of voters and who has limited intellectual capabilities. If, as some political observers expect, the Republican Party attempts to rebuild around her, it will take a much longer time for it to regain power. I hope it does so.
11.4.2008 8:03pm
DangerMouse:
Sarah Palin has been exposed on the national stage as a mean-spirited harridan who appeals to a relatively narrow spectrum of voters and who has limited intellectual capabilities.

Someone's projecting....
11.4.2008 8:08pm
Oren:

Please explain what it is about intellectuals that makes them good at anything besides being an intellectual.

Wow. You really need that explained?

I got an idea, next time you need your car fixed, find an "automotive outsider" and hire him. Or insist that the construction works that build your roads and bridges be totally inexpert in engineering. That makes about as much sense as claiming that social policy experts shouldn't run government.

Now, part of the reason is that I appreciate and support the formation of coherent and consistent libertarian intellectual analysis and their continued acceptance (e.g. the briefs in Heller) into the modern academic discourse. In other words, the conspirators are engaged in the intellectual enterprise of making the case for their preferred policies.

Alas, this engagement has been dropped on the right (just look at the scorn CATO gets) in favor of the sort of anti-intellectualism that your post evinces. Because they disagree with some conclusions and analysis produced by intellectuals, they got the idea of tarring the whole affair instead of trying to make the case for their preferred ideas.

What's worse, by doing so, they give the false impression that conservatism is some idea-less bullshit. They ruined their own brand.
11.4.2008 8:10pm
Kevin P. (mail):

Oren:
Wow. You really need that explained?

I got an idea, next time you need your car fixed, find an "automotive outsider" and hire him


Cars are fixed by intellectuals? Who knew! Although I should have guessed when the guy who rotated my tires last week quoted Camus to me.

On a serious note, Oren, perhaps we should clarify what intellectual means. It looks like you are conflating it with "person of expertise". The two may overlap in some cases, but they are quite different.
11.4.2008 8:29pm
Kevin P. (mail):
And again, since no one seems to be able to do so, please provide some links to evidence that can prove that Sarah Palin is "anti-intellectual". Mere assertions by lefty blogs don't count.
11.4.2008 8:31pm
pedro (mail):
Richard Aubrey-

I think you misunderstand me. I did not say that being cosmopolitan, intellectual, educated, guarantees excellence in higher office. I simply defended the view that parochialism, folksiness, and lack of education are relatively uncontroversial red flags.

Kevin P.-

Sarah Palin certainly does not strike me as the sort of politician who defers, on issues of science, to the more informed judgment of scientists. But the really striking thing is how academically unaccomplished she is. Also, the answers she has given in interviews and debates have betrayed a simplicity that, while attractive to a certain populist segment of the Republican party, really scares those of us who value intelligence and thoughtfulness in our politicians.
11.4.2008 8:52pm
eyesay:
Bob from Ohio:
I think JB's talking about an American political party popular in the late nineteenth century.
What party would that be?
Answer
11.4.2008 9:05pm
Kevin P. (mail):
pedro, your opinion about Sarah Palin is interesting, but ultimately is revealing only about you and your opinion about Sarah Palin.

Please provide some links to evidence that can prove that Sarah Palin is "anti-intellectual". Mere assertions by blog commenters don't count.
11.4.2008 9:22pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Since when are intellectuals automatically social policy experts and what good have they done?
Nothing like getting a womyn's studies prof and a political scientist with a major field in Latin American power structures together to fix welfare.
Since Palin has been a successful governor, we have to presume she has had some makee-learnee on the subject, no?
11.4.2008 9:35pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
And, of course, we have Biden who is so lame nobody is talking about him, and Obama whose background is in conlaw and Chicago machine ops, plus a heavy dose of radicalism. Compared to those two, Palin comes up short in what important area?
Any other pres have a background in conlaw as his major field of study--after which, in the real world, he ignored it?
11.4.2008 9:37pm
pet peeve:
As a law professor, I am surprised you don't know the difference between "then" and "than". You made the mistake twice. Are you sure English was you're first language? (yes, that was intentional)
11.4.2008 9:41pm
wm13:
"the really striking thing is how academically unaccomplished [Palin] is."

Compared to a guy who graduated 75th or so in a class of 85 at Syracuse Law? Come on, he couldn't get an interview at my firm or a job at any of the Conspirators' law schools. (I mean, possibly he could now, being a senator, but assuredly not based on his "intellectual" credentials.)

Mind you, we haven't seen that guy recently, and I don't think we will again for a long time. Off to those foreign funerals!
11.4.2008 9:53pm
MLS:
Kevin P.,

The evidence she is anti-intellectual can be found in this thread. She is such because people in their anonymous posts say she is.
11.4.2008 9:56pm
Hoosier:
But the selection of her (a non-intellectual) as VP demonstrates the GOP's trend toward being "anti-intellectual."

Um, Biden?

Wehn was the last time that we had an "intellectual" as Veep? 1901? And he was insane.
11.4.2008 9:58pm
Kevin P. (mail):

MLS:
Kevin P.,
The evidence she is anti-intellectual can be found in this thread. She is such because people in their anonymous posts say she is.


That seems to be pretty much the only evidence, doesn't it?

Glad we cleared that up. It is interesting to watch how a bogus idea germinates and spreads in the minds of the like-minded.
11.4.2008 10:04pm
pedro (mail):
Kevin P.-

I and most voters are under no obligation to provide proof beyond reasonable doubt that so-and-so is anti-intellectual. It is incumbent upon so-and-so to counter the prevailing impressions during the campaign. Sarah Palin is culturally the sort of person who does not get the benefit of *my* doubt.
11.4.2008 10:15pm
Kevin P. (mail):

pedro (mail):
I and most voters are under no obligation to provide proof beyond reasonable doubt that so-and-so is anti-intellectual.


I'll take as a concession that you don't have any evidence to offer that Sarah Palin is anti-intellectual. However, if you can still come up with some credible evidence, my mind is open. Remember: Mere assertions by blog commenters don't count.
11.4.2008 10:19pm
DangerMouse:
It is incumbent upon so-and-so to counter the prevailing impressions during the campaign.

I COMPLETELY AGREE!

So please, counter the impression that Obama pals around with terrorists, that he's a socialist, that he was taught by radical leftists, that he has zero experience and is in over his head, that he hates America and wants to see its power diminished, that he thinks whitey is keeping others down because he attended a racist church for 20 years, that he hates certain Americans because of their love of guns and religion....

I'm glad that you've endeavored to correct these impressions.
11.4.2008 10:42pm
Hoosier:
Kevin P: However, if you can still come up with some credible evidence, my mind is open.



Count me in on this one. If any evidence is available, don't bogart it, my friend. Pass it over to me.

Until then, I just have to assume that there is no evidence.
11.4.2008 10:42pm
David Warner:
Waldensian,

"Maybe you should try again by calling me an anti-Semite?"

OK, in your fear-mongering and smearing by association with your manufactured threat, you're akin to an anti-Semite. Ayers, you say? Ayers was just:

"...elected vice president for curriculum of the 25,000-member American Educational Research Association (AERA), the nation's largest organization of education-school professors and researchers."

While Creationism has yet to dent the curriculum in any public classroom in this country, and never will, given that the Supreme Court would never allow it. So hugely different threat level, yet I defended Obama and you viciously and groundlessly attack Palin.

Don't like being likened to a Know Nothing?
Don't act like one.

BTW, do you think the Know-Nothings really believed their own bullshit? Or were they just using it to unite their supporters against a convenient outgroup?

Given the likelihood of Creationism ever being taught, the relative power of those who most loudly denounce it from every available rooftop, and your unwillingness to either take Palin at her word or to look at her actual record for evidence of the nefarious ideology you suggest, you're either a modern-day Know-Nothing or an idiot useful thereto.
11.4.2008 10:49pm
David Warner:
Kevin P.,

"In my 20 years of experience, I have found that degrees can be overrated. They are just one of many factors in determining if a person will be successful. Academia may be an exception to this rule, and it may not be a happy exception to this rule either."

Bingo. A lot of Palin's support comes from those dissatisfied with the Credentialocracy. This is not the same thing as anti-intellectualism, and indeed is potentially its opposite, given some of the problems in academia.
11.4.2008 10:53pm
eyesay:
Richard Aubrey wrote: "Bill Clinton had all that in spades. Outside of scandals, his administrations were known for, effectively, nothing."

Achievements that the Clinton administration is known for (partial list)

NAFTA (I'm not happy about it, but it's an achievement)

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993

Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, which lifted millions of working Americans above the poverty line

Welfare reform that established lifetime limits on benefits

Taking the United States federal budget from major deficits to achieving a surplus (admittedly, this is only because the Social Security surplus, which is supposed to be saved for future retirees, is mixed in with non-social-security deficit, but still, this is way better than his predecessor or successor)

Economic prosperity in general

Bringing Ehud Barack and Yasser Arafat to Camp David to negotiate a treaty, which, although negotiations were not successful, helped establish the parameters of what everyone knows will be the agreement that both sides will eventually agree to

This partial list dwarfs the achievements of the Bush administration, which are, in my opinion, with the exception of PEPFAR, uniformly negative.
11.4.2008 10:53pm
David Warner:
Cornellian,

"And if you think calling some parts of the country "real America" doesn't imply that other parts of the country are not "real America" then you would have bombed the SAT and never been admitted to that Ivy in the first place."

Unless your name is Robert Byrd or, um, Katie Couric, you'll need to present some evidence that her Surreal America includes you.
11.4.2008 11:02pm
David Warner:
Aubrey,

"Outside of scandals, his administrations were known for, effectively, nothing."

Another Know Nothing enters the fray!
11.4.2008 11:05pm
whit:

Oh, please. On what basis do you support that? The evangelicals that I know love Israel and everything about it. They firmly believe that the Jews are God's chosen people - not Christians, not evangelicals, but Jews. As one of my friends likes to say, anyone who messes with the Jews or Israel goes down in flames. Ya know, if they wanted to bring about the end times, they would let Israel be trashed, knowing that it could trigger world war etc., rather than protect it.



i've noticed essentially the same attitude from mormons as well. i have some mormon in-laws, and i've never heard anything but great respect for israel and for "the jews (tm)".

this is not surprising for a number of reasons - the whole persecuted minority religion thang, certainly a part of it.
11.4.2008 11:13pm
pedro (mail):
Kevin P.-

It seems to me that you are so infatuated with your own little argument, that you do not see my point. I happily concede (as I have done previously) that I do not have incontrovertible evidence proving Sarah Palin to be the simplistic and uneducated person I perceive her to be. The point I have made on this thread is not that my perception *proves* her being so, but rather that David Bernstein's equivalence is wrongheaded. To use pejoratively the term "intellectual" as many otherwise intelligent people seem to do in this thread is an expression of cultural prejudice. But to say that someone is anti-intellectual, uneducated, unaccomplished (however subjective the evidence), is to raise serious questions about the ability to perform the duties of higher office. This much ought to be uncontroversial, notwithstanding your self-congratulation re: my inability to "prove" Sarah Palin's anti-intelletual attitudes. Perhaps it will irk you to know that I frankly imagine you yourself, along with many, many modern day Republicans, share some of these anti-intellectual tendencies?
11.4.2008 11:19pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
eyesay.
Chump change except for the meeting with Yasser Arafat which did exactly nothing to aid anything.
The reps think Clinton stole the welfare reform from them.
And Kennedy was pretty cosmopolitan.
Lincoln was not.

However.
This is meaningless. Stupid. Has no relevance. Nothing you say about Palin has any connection to anything.
What is important is how idiotic, how supremely stupid, this discussion is when normal people notice you're leaving out Biden.
Nothing you can say can affect the fact that normal people will notice you complained about Palin and gave Biden a pass on brainpower.
Can you imagine--no, probably not--how entirely disconnected from the real world you look from the outside?
And, unless they keep Biden wherever he is now for the next four years, you're gonna look better and better.
11.4.2008 11:21pm
pedro (mail):
"So please, counter the impression that Obama pals around with terrorists, that he's a socialist, that he was taught by radical leftists, that he has zero experience and is in over his head, that he hates America and wants to see its power diminished, that he thinks whitey is keeping others down because he attended a racist church for 20 years, that he hates certain Americans because of their love of guns and religion...."

If you think President Elect Obama has not done enough to address these impressions, then you must be fooling yourself. Heh.
11.4.2008 11:22pm
whit:

Since when are intellectuals automatically social policy experts and what good have they done?



this is the problem in my eyes. i think most americans (most people... period) understand that in scientific fields (and I am not talking the soft "sciences" like sociology, economics, etc.) - we need intellectuals, people who are very very book smart and engage in experimentation and stuff that most of us have difficulty understanding. think feynman et al.

otoh, when ivory tower intellectuals study PEOPLE, they just get it wrong. because people cannot be reduced to laboratory experiments, theories etc. that have much (if any) predictive validity.

liberals/soft-science intellectuals see man as perfectable and it's up to THEM to perfect us. conservatives/libertarians realize it's a hopeless goal, and only evolved structures (not top down created ones) and enforced responsibility (law and order) can keep man doing the right thing. so why would we want intellectuals running govt? who has ever shown that there is a correlation between being a good leader/administrator and being well read in foucault?

i'm reminded of WFB's old saw about rather being ruled by names chosen from the metro phone book, than from the harvard faculty.

palin is a DOer. without "privilege" (to use leftie-speak), she has achieved, and shown the ability to RUN stuff.

intellectuals never have to demonstrate an ability to DO and/or run stuff.

to make another analogy. i am a huge fan of the pointy headed (but strong) soviet sports scientists like roman, medveyev, etc. these guys write dense scientific texts on sports performance that are astounding. and this is exactly the sort of field where an intellectual can excel.

otoh, i am aware of the MISERABLE FAILURE that soviet "social scientists" created in trying to perfect their society and men within it.

as another analogy, who better understands how criminals think, and how and why crime occurs? some pointy headed criminologist, or some salty beat cop?
11.4.2008 11:25pm
Kevin P. (mail):
pedro, I asked you to prove that Sarah Palin was anti-intellectual. It's a simple question, but all you can come up with is handwaving about your perceptions being sufficient to avoid the inconvenient question of proof. Do you consider yourself to be an intellectual? Or pro-intellectual? You can't answer this simple question and fall back upon your emotions and perceptions. It doesn't sound very intellectual to me, frankly.


Perhaps it will irk you to know that I frankly imagine you yourself, along with many, many modern day Republicans, share some of these anti-intellectual tendencies?


a) I'm not a Republican.
b) I have a Master's degree in Chemical Engineering and have worked in the field for 20 years. I am comfortable with my intellect, and your imagination doesn't bother me. I also don't sneer at people who haven't had my achievement in education or profession. I have met and worked with many smart people without much education and respect them and their achievement. Perhaps you could try the same.
11.4.2008 11:27pm
pedro (mail):
Kevin P.-

Nowhere did I state that Sarah Palin *is* anti-intelletual. So your little touche request was completely ridiculous and off-point. Get it? My point, as I have explained several times now, was that David B.'s initial equivalence was wrongheaded. Equating the disparagement of candidates by calling them "parochial, uneducated, anti-intellectual" to the disparagement of candidates by calling them "fast-talking, intelletual, cosmopolitan" is to forget that being parochial, uneducated, and anti-intellectual is a bad thing for someone aspiring to hold higher office.

Another point I made was that Sarah Palin should have countered the very widespread impression that she is anti-intellectual (esp. regarding science). The fact that Governor Palin is an evangelical Christian (and at one point belonged to a pentecostal church that decries evolution) is enough to raise eyebrows. The fact she didn't do enough to convince voters that she is respectful of and deferential to science and scientists is regrettable.

Notice, Kevin P. that nobody accused you of being Republican. Also, notice that I haven't disclosed my training or credentials and that I haven't sneered at people who haven't had my achievement in education or profession. I have simply expressed that in my humble opinion, people who aspire to hold higher office should be held to very high standards (and that includes standards of educational achievement). That you confuse this opinion as sneering condescension strikes me as evidence that you are not thinking things through clearly.
11.4.2008 11:53pm
David Warner:
whit,

"i've noticed essentially the same attitude from mormons as well. i have some mormon in-laws, and i've never heard anything but great respect for israel and for "the jews (tm)"."

I blame Einstein. Seriously. American saint.
11.5.2008 12:21am
LM (mail):
Kevin P. (mail):

LM, fair enough, but liberals tend to advertise, as an attractive feature, how inclusive, tolerant and respectful they are.

True. On the other hand, Republicans have been trying to make the same claim in recent years, without much to show for it.

Unfortunately, their tolerance is only for their ideological fellows.

Again, both sides have their intolerant factions. Because, as you pointed out, liberals are more self-identified as tolerant, they are more vulnerable to charges of hypocrisy on this point, like conservatives are on issues of personal morality, e.g., marital infidelity, other sexual indiscretions.
11.5.2008 1:14am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
LM.
Ever seen a liberal discomfited by charges of hypocrisy?
Me either.
11.5.2008 4:58am
Jewish Woman (mail):
Do you have any evidence that Jewish women disproportionately disparaged Palin as "folksy" or "rural"? I've heard a lot of people say very inappropriate and irrelevant things about her, but those people weren't Jewish. Who said there was something wrong with being rural? I've heard people say that her experience and understanding of the issues are limited, but (even if you disagree with those assertions), are fair, non-superficial contentions.
11.5.2008 5:53am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
So, how many of the folks who think Palin is just kind of inadequate would like to sign up for an automatic e-mail going to all their friends each time Biden steps on his necktie?
"I thought this guy was brighter than Palin! And, to avoid embarrassing myself, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.."
11.5.2008 7:30am
Yankev (mail):

The fact that Governor Palin is an evangelical Christian (and at one point belonged to a pentecostal church that decries evolution) is enough to raise eyebrows
And that about somes it up from the party of tolerance and inclusiveness. Thank you for proving what so many here have been trying to point out. In your mind, the mere fact that she follows a religion that you disapprove of makes her presumptively stupid and presumptively unfit to hold office.

Anyone who raised a similar concern about a Muslim running for office would be branded a bigot, and rightly so.
11.5.2008 1:13pm
Yankev (mail):
Sorry, meant to type "sums it up."
11.5.2008 1:35pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Yankev.
I get tired of the phrase that ends, "more equal than others."
Mainly because it's so necessary around here.
11.5.2008 2:00pm
David Warner:
Yankev,

"Anyone who raised a similar concern about a Muslim running for office would be branded a bigot, and rightly so."

You don't even have to go that far. There are way more African-American Pentecostals than white ones. And way more African Pentecostals than American.
11.5.2008 2:35pm
LM (mail):
Richard Aubrey:

Ever seen a liberal discomfited by charges of hypocrisy?

Yes, Richard, I've seen many liberals and conservatives discomfited by the charges, and I've seen very few of either (or any other) description admit to the charge.
11.5.2008 4:27pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
LM.
I disagree. When caught hypocrysing, liberals ask what's the problem. Who set the standards?
Sort of like Alinsky's bright idea of make them live up to their rules. Conservatives must, libs don't even have a problem.
11.5.2008 6:49pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
Fox News (!) now has background interviews from McCain staff members that Palin didn't know what countries were in NAFTA and didn't know Africa was a continent. (She apparently thought it was a country.) And she didn't like having to learn.

Isn't it amazing how much conservative ex-intellectuals will struggle to avoid the obvious: Sarah Palin may be clever and witty, but she probably isn't any more qualified to serve as VP than Paris Hilton, who is also clever and witty, when she wants to be. Big conspiracy theory you got there. But sometimes a bimbo is just a bimbo. Hint: you aren't even thinking with your heart here; keep going south.
11.5.2008 11:21pm
Waldensian (mail):
David Warner now believes that I am a Nativist even though I believe the opposite of what Nativists professed to believe, because (according to David) the Nativists.... didn't believe those things either.

Just wanted to clear that up for the record.
11.6.2008 11:07am