"Why the Right Went Wrong" by E.J. Dionne Jr. - Anyone read it? Opinions?

I think it would be easier to identify a non-intellectual, and Derleth pretty much has the right of it there. You and I can disagree on the facts, but we are generally going to agree that there are facts and that they are important.

Conversely, there are people on Facebook who have no interest in facts. I corrected someone who reposted some nonsense about gay adoptions from Mike Huckabee, and her response was “look, this is just what I believe.” In other words, she implied that it was just her opinion. The problem was that what she “believed” was a dry statistic implying that children raised in same-sex households are more likely to commit violent crimes as adults. We didn’t disagree on the facts; we disagreed on what a fact was. Her position was clearly anti-intellectual.

Similarly, when I correct people who post about the dangers of vaccination, GMO foods, and so on, their invariable response is that I’ve been brainwashed. Any subsequent exchanges make it clear that this is not a position they’ve arrived at rationally.

Based on those definitions, do either of you agree that:

Broadly defined, an intellectual is simply a person who is passionately interested in knowledge and ideas for their own sakes; by that definition, a scientist or philosopher or literary critic who takes no interest in politics or social issues would be an intellectual. However, a different definition is also current:

British conservative writer Paul Johnson wrote a book, Intellectuals: From Marx and Tolstoy to Sartre and Chomsky, mainly focusing on the personal lives of famous intellectuals (as defined in the Wiki article) and purporting to show that intellectualism goes hand-in-hand with being a bad person to those individuals one actually has to deal with. Notably, however, the book only covers intellectuals of a liberal or leftist bent. There are no chapters on Edmund Burke, Thomas Carlyle, Michael Oakeshott, Joseph de Maistre, Wilhelm Friedrich Nietzsche, Ayn Rand, Russell Kirk – at least some of whom were persons at least as odious as the ones Johnson blasts – Rand certainly was, and Nietzsche was even crazier than Rousseau.

No. If anything, I look back fondly on Reagan-era conservatives who tried to justify their policies with facts rather than naked ideology.

What “findings” are you referring to? This statement is an echo chamber itself. It’s the same old stew I’ve heard a million times.

If you don’t like scholarship, why don’t you write a thesis? If you don’t like anything that happens in universities maybe you are an anti-intellectual.

Ideological discrimination in universities prevents them from being able to have the same kind of vigorous debate that you see in the hard sciences. So when a few professors say, “Caring for the poor is a proper role for government” there’s no one to say otherwise.

In what specific ways does George Will fall short of this definition?

Well… I think you have to give him intellectual rigor cred for this position. It got the nesting hens at the National Review in a squawking flutter.

“Becoming”? Sure. It was becoming an oxymoronic phrase the moment Nixon inaugurated the Southern Strategy, bringing swaths of very anti-intellectual racists into the GOP. Reagan continued that, so the shoe fits.

It does not mean the GOP was ever, nor is now, entirely anti-intellectual. Trickle-down economics is a policy. It’s a bad, empirically worthless policy which is rightly worth no more than a horse laugh in refutation, but it has a chain of connected logic in back of it and it can be attacked by breaking that chain.

So my definition of intellectual is looser than BrainGlutton’s. Fine. For my sins, I’ll probably have to accept George Will as an intellectual. That doesn’t mean I have to accept Donald Trump as an intellectual, even if Ted Cruz likely barely makes the cut.

Heh Trump is an intellectual like a burro is Seabiscuit.

The “for their own sakes part.” Compare Flynn Carsen in The Librarian franchise – he is no intellectual. He knows everything but, so far as the viewer can tell, he never seems to think very much about anything; his vast knowledge is nothing to him but a kit of tools and weapons to accomplish his missions. Or, compare a lawyer – as you know, a lawyer must have knowledge and not only of the law, but need not be an intellectual, and most lawyers of my acquaintance have not been. Will’s knowledge is but a set of rhetorical tools to serve a political agenda, not to think about its value or meaning; Washington think-tanks, I have no doubt, are full of such highly educated non-intellectuals, though there may be some intellectuals among them.

He’s a corporate tool. His beloved party has run away and joined a cult, and none of his thinking was able to predict, or stop it; and the only thing left he can do is make rationalizations about it to protect his little fief as a talking head. Not an intellectual at all.

Or take someone like Newt Gingrich.

Here’s a guy who supposedly cares about ideas. But he’s also capable of this interview: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/interrogation/2016/03/newt_gingrich_discusses_the_merits_of_donald_trump.html