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The Critique of the Article ‘The Dumbing Of America’


Intellectualism is a doctrine that holds the belief that pure reason is the source of knowledge. It is the development of ones power to think while paying attention to thinking. It results in ignorance of emotions. Rationalism is the application of reason and reasonable judgment in the process of thinking and decision making. Anti-intellectualism is basically an opposition of the intellectual persons, activities and ideas or matters. Various writers have aired out their opinions on the same. This essay is a critical analysis of the article ‘The Dumping of America’.

A Summary of the Article ‘The Dumping Of America’

Critical Analysis of ‘The Dumping of America’

The essay was written by Susan Jacoby in 2008. It is based on the classical works of Richard on ‘Anti-intellectualism in American Life’ of 1963. The writer cites the opinions of the late senator Daniel Patrick, Kiku Adatto and other research reports. She believes that the concept of anti-intellectualism is portrayed in education and religion.

She cites the video as the main vector of anti-intellectualism with the fusion of anti-intellectualism and anti-rationalism. The writer outlines three factors of the video that have led to ant-intellectualism as the erosion of general knowledge, impatience and the arrogance about the lack of knowledge. The writer further asserts that this issue of anti-intellectualism hinders discussion and policies on matters such as health care and taxation. The writer attributes the same to the continued era of poor governance and priorities and considers it an issue of critical importance due to its greater impact on the young generation. She recommends serious discussion on the same.

Critical Analysis of the Article ‘The Dumping Of America’

The concept of anti-intellectualism is broad and complex. The writer of the article reveals a narrow dimension of the concept. The use of the word dump is subjective and does not reveal the seriousness of anti-intellectualism. Ideally lack of dumpness does not imply high intelligence. Hence use of the term does not give a clear meaning of anti-intellectualism. The whole concept is described by a mistrust of intellectuals and is portrayed by attacks on science, education, art or literature. The writer fails to reveal the causes of the same and instead gives the influence of the video. The basic influences of religion, politics and the doctrines of populism are ignored. This narrow mindedness leaves doubt as to the opinion taken by the writer. (McMahon, 2009)

In addressing the issue of anti-intellectualism, the author is always required to describe the measures of intelligence. Measures of intelligence usually conflict with psychologists being of the view that there are individual differences in assessing the levels of intelligence. Anti-intellectualism in itself is not a measure of intelligence. Idealists are of the view that what

Critical Analysis of ‘The Dumping of America’

society requires are practicality and not theories characterized by research. The relevance of any research is the degree of its applicability in solving societal problems. In addition to this, they assert that the issue of print material being preferred over video implies that the aspects of print are more important than a writer’s idea. In education, the writer describes how the young generation rarely reads. This view is debatable because of the rich aspects of internet and other technologies that offer opportunities to study. This opinion limits the relevance of internet in improving the quality of education. (McMahon, 2009)

The writer further uses a comparison of the old systems of print as opposed to evolving changes that incorporate technology like computers and the internet. This creates a contradiction in the failure of the writer to acknowledge that research and book study is what leads to the development of new technologies aimed at improving life. This idea conflicts the very relevance of print material. (McMahon, 2009)

The use of childhood experiences as a means of comparison is not reliable. Childhood experiences are relevant to personal prejudices and judgments and do not form enough grounds to be referred to. The over emphasis on the influence of the video creates a bias. The article ignores the influence of the same creating an incomplete impression. In contrast also, the writer fails to show a clear understanding of the subject. This limits the relevance of the opinions given. (McMahon, 2009)

A recommendation of having serious discussions is shallow. The recommendations given should reveal the weight of a matter under discussion. Analysts argue that having discussions just leads to false humility on the people. (McMahon, 2009)


Susan Jacoby’s article is to this regard relevant as to the impact of the media on the issue of

Critical Analysis of ‘The Dumping of America’

anti-intellectualism. However, the discussion of anti-intellectualism as a measure of intelligence is judgmental. There is need for articles to address the recommendations need to tackle the issue of anti-intellectualism. Corporate responsibility and active participation of the media offers the solutions to the same.


McMahon, J. (2009).Is Obama changing Anti-intellectualism in America: Journal of economics,

Chicago: University of Chicago