Check out this absolutely scathing analysis of President Trump’s executive order on refugees and visas. It is authored by Benjamin Wittes, affiliated with the Brookings and Hoover Institutions. One snippet: “In the rational pursuit of security objectives, you don’t marginalize your expert security agencies and fail to vet your ideas through a normal interagency process. You don’t target the wrong people in nutty ways when you’re rationally pursuing real security objectives. When do you do these things? You do these things when you’re elevating the symbolic politics of bashing Islam over any actual security interest.” Yowza. We’ll discuss this piece Tuesday.
(The picture above shows protestors of the executive order outside JFK airport.)
Here is a news story from this week’s New York Times: “With False Claims, Trump Attacks Media on Turnout and Intelligence Rift.” The tone is so direct that I scrolled back up to the top to confirm that I was reading a news piece rather than an editorial. It looks like we are going to see fireworks this semester between the White House and the mainstream media.
Last week, Michiko Kakutani, book critic for the New York Times, interviewed President Obama and asked him about what books he has been reading and his views about the importance of literature. These excerpts from their conversation will be pretty interesting to students in this class.
The full name of this course is “Anti-Intellectualism in American Culture and Politics.” Hostility to science, experts, and “book learning” is a common impulse that shapes contemporary American society. In this course, we will explore how anti-intellectualism promotes notions about media bias, encourages belief in implausible conspiracies, and spurs hyperpolarized politics, among other topics. We will take the tumultuous 2016 election season and the early days of the Trump administration as case studies.