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Chatting Up A Storm - Claudia Cragg

Feb 28, 2018

Claudia Cragg (@KGNUClaudia for @KGNU) speaks here with Susan Jacoby about her new book, “The Age of American Unreason,” in which she asserts that “America is now ill with a powerful mutant strain of intertwined ignorance, anti-rationalism and anti-intellectualism.”

For more than a decade, Jacoby says, there have been growing symptoms of this affliction, from fundamentalist assaults on the teaching of evolution to the Bush administration’s willful disavowal of expert opinion on global warming and strategies for prosecuting the war in Iraq. Conservatives have turned the term “intellectual,” like the term “ liberal,” into a dirty word in politics (even though neo-conservative intellectuals played a formative role in making the case for war against Iraq); policy positions tend to get less attention than personality and tactics in the current presidential campaign; and the democratizing influence of the Internet is working to banish expertise altogether, making everyone an authority on everything. 

Susan Jacoby is the author of eleven previous books, including Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism and Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion. Her articles have appeared frequently in the op-ed pages of The New York Times and in forums… More about Susan Jacoby