In “On Stupidity”, Thomas H. Benton takes into account the intellectual emptiness of America and is of the view that American anti-intellectualism has reached its zenith in the contemporary times and with the election of George W. Bush as American presidents twice. Thomas Benton assertions seem appropriate as American nation that itself was a balance-mix of various intellectual movements i. e. enlightenment, romanticism etc. is indulged in materialistic pursuits with petty aims and objectives.
An American popular culture has influenced the world more than intellectual capital and movements. An American nation enjoys eating Macburgers, watching soaps, talking about Iraq war rather then indulging themselves in scholarly amusements. This intellectual bankruptcy is manifested in the form of changing political ideals. George Washington, an intellectual general, loved the cherished ideals of democracy, equality and fraternity whereas Bush administration supports highly undemocratic regimes across world.
Benton’s second concern about non-utilization of intellectual faculties among students also seems valid as our academic campuses have become a place to earn degrees only. My on-campus experience illustrates that Information technology and digitalization o education has not only weakened students’ capacity to contemplate and express their contemplation in beautiful and comprehensible verbal expressions but also marred their intellectual capacities to produce new ideas from what they have learnt. It has been replaced by mere reproduction of ideas.
I myself surfed the net to find information instead of triggering my intellectual impulses. Furthermore “independent thinking” and “objective analysis” does not exist in the contemporary academic world. It has been substituted by emotions appeal and sentimental viewpoints. Above-mentioned arguments and supporting evidence manifests that Benton’s view-point is valid as whole American socio-political structure harms the spirit of intellectualism and forwards the agenda of materialistic success in an age of technological advancements.