The stupid conservative ... does not look for a higher authority than tradition itself. He is prepared to rest his case simply on traditional authority alone, without seeking to appeal to logic, or reason, or empirical data. For what reason gives, reason can take away.
If traditional marriage needs to be defended by good arguments, then it stands or falls on the validity of these arguments, and where good arguments can be put forward to justify alternative "experiments in living," then the authority of tradition as tradition is overthrown, and whoever comes up with the best argument carries the day. The end result of this process is that intellectuals, trained to be good at arguing, inevitably gain an undue influence in the shaping of public opinion, while those who adhere to traditions simply because they are their tradition are left vulnerable to attack and ridicule because they have difficulty defending positions they have never found cause to question. In such a case, the traditionalist must either abandon his sacred ground, and learn to argue, or else he must be prepared to accept the derogatory label fixed upon him by the intelligentsia. In short, he must not mind too much being called stupid.
In a world that absurdly overrates the advantage of sheer brain power, no one wants to be seen as a member in good standing of the stupid party. Yet stupidity has been and will always remain the best defense mechanism against the ordinary conman and the intellectual dreamer, just as Odysseus found that stuffing cotton in his ears was his best defense against beguiling but fatal song of the sirens.
I gladly cede the terrain to my colleagues on the right, and take pride in valuing sheer brain power to the high degree it deserves.
alicublog via Balloon Juice.
But seriously, is this not terrifying? Even a few years back, as the folks at alicu noted, conservatives at least thought they were the intellectual party. They were wrong, of course, but at least they made motions at respecting intelligence and trying to think through their positions. But over the past few seasons, I've noticed a disturbing trend in which conservatives have adopted an active hostility towards education and critical thought. Certainly, the perverse pride conservatives take in mocking intellectuals and professors is part of the problem, but it's hardly contained itself to the educational sphere. Politically, the anti-intellectual stance emerged in proto-form in George W. Bush, and has reached its full intensity in the Huckabee campaign, which is even frightening some of the right-wing blue bloods (who don't realize he's a beast of their own creation). This is why it is fashionable in some circles to deny global warming -- if the scientists believe it, it must be false. It's a scary trend, and one I am not at all pleased to see hitting full stride.