Hostname: page-component-5d59c44645-k78ct Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-02-24T23:26:19.971Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Intellectualism, Anti-Intellectualism, and Epistemic Hubris in Red and Blue America

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 September 2021

DAVID C. BARKER*
Affiliation:
American University, United States
RYAN DETAMBLE*
Affiliation:
American University, United States
MORGAN MARIETTA*
Affiliation:
University of Massachusetts Lowell, United States
*
David C. Barker, Professor of Government, Director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, American University, United States, dbarker@american.edu.
Ryan DeTamble, PhD Student, Department of Government, American University, United States, rd2788a@american.edu.
Morgan Marietta, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Massachusetts Lowell, United States, morganmarietta@gmail.com.

Abstract

Epistemic hubris—the expression of unwarranted factual certitude—is a conspicuous yet understudied democratic hazard. Here, in two nationally representative studies, we examine its features and analyze its variance. We hypothesize, and find, that epistemic hubris is (a) prevalent, (b) bipartisan, and (c) associated with both intellectualism (an identity marked by ruminative habits and learning for its own sake) and anti-intellectualism (negative affect toward intellectuals and the intellectual establishment). Moreover, these correlates of epistemic hubris are distinctly partisan: intellectuals are disproportionately Democratic, whereas anti-intellectuals are disproportionately Republican. By implication, we suggest that both the intellectualism of Blue America and the anti-intellectualism of Red America contribute to the intemperance and intransigence that characterize civil society in the United States.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the American Political Science Association

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

REFERENCES

Acharya, Avidit, Blackwell, Matthew, and Sen, Maya. 2016. “Explaining Causal Findings without Bias: Detecting and Assessing Direct Effects.” American Political Science Review 110 (3): 512–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Altemeyer, Bob. 1981. Right-Wing Authoritarianism. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press.Google Scholar
Althaus, Scott. 1998. “Information Effects in Collective Preferences.” American Political Science Review 92 (3): 545–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ansolabehere, Steven, and Rivers, Douglas. 2013. “Cooperative Survey Research.” Annual Review of Political Science 16 (1): 307–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Barker, David, DeTamble, Ryan, and Marietta, Morgan. 2021. “Replication Data for: Intellectualism, Anti-Intellectualism, and Epistemic Hubris in Red and Blue America.” Harvard Dataverse. Dataset. https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/T9AEBN.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Barker, David C., and Tinnick, James D. II. 2006. “Competing Visions of Parental Roles and Ideological Constraint.” American Political Science Review 100 (2): 249–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Barker, David C., Marietta, Morgan, and DeTamble, Ryan. 2021. “American Hubris: The Politics of Unwarranted Epistemic Certitude in the United States.” In The Politics of Truth in Polarized America, eds. Barker, David C. and Suhay, Elizabeth, 113–28. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Bartels, Larry M. 1996. “Uninformed Votes: Information Effects in Presidential Elections.” American Journal of Political Science 40 (1): 194230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bartels, Larry M. 2002. “Beyond the Running Tally: Partisan Bias in Political Perceptions.” Political Behavior 24 (2): 117–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Baumgardner, Paul. 2020. “Intellectuals in Politics.” New Political Science 42 (1): 109–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Berinsky, Adam J. 2017. “Rumors and Health Care Reform: Experiments in Political Misinformation.” British Journal of Political Science 47 (2): 241–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Berinsky, Adam J. 2018. “Telling the Truth about Believing the Lies? The Prevalence of Expressive Responding in Surveys.” Journal of Politics 80 (1): 211–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Boudreau, Cheryl, and MacKenzie, Scott A.. 2014. “Informing the Electorate? How Party Cues and Policy Information Affect Public Opinion about Initiatives.” American Journal of Political Science 58 (1): 4862.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brewer, Mark D. 2016. “Populism in American Politics.” The Forum 14 (3): 249–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Buckley, William F. 1963. Rumbles Left and Right: A Book about Troublesome People and Ideas. New York: Nabu Press.Google Scholar
Bullock, John G., Gerber, Alan S., Hill, Seth J., and Huber, Gregory A.. 2015. “Partisan Bias in Factual Beliefs about Politics.” Quarterly Journal of Political Science 10: 519–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Darwin, Charles. (1858) 1958. The Autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809–1882, ed. Barlow, Nora. London: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
Delli-Carpini, Michael X., and Keeter, Scott. 1996. What Americans Know about Politics and Why It Matters. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Dunteman, George H. 1989. Principal Components Analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Erisen, Cengiz, Lodge, Milton, and Taber, Charles. 2014. “Affective Contagion in Political Thinking.” Political Psychology 35(2): 187206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Farman, Lisa, Riffe, Daniel, Kifer, Martin, and Elder, Sadie Leder. 2018. “Finding the Truth in Politics: An Empirical Validation of the Epistemic Political Efficacy Concept.” Atlantic Journal of Communication 26 (1): 115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fischhoff, Baruch, Slovic, Paul, and Lichtenstein, Sarah. 1977. “Knowing with Certainty: The Appropriateness of Extreme Confidence.” Journal of Experimental Psychology 3 (4): 552–64.Google Scholar
Flynn, D. J., Nyhan, Brendan, and Reifler, Jason. 2017. “The Nature and Origins of Misperceptions: Understanding False and Unsupported Beliefs about Politics.” Political Psychology 38 (S1): 127–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Foucault, Michel. 1980. Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and other Writings, 1972-1977. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
Frederick, Shane. 2005. “Cognitive Reflection and Decision-Making.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 19 (4): 2542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Funk, Cary, Hefferon, Meg, Kennedy, Brian, and Johnson, Courtney. 2019. “Trust and Mistrust in Americans’ Views of Scientific Experts.” Pew Research Center: Science and Society. August 2. https://www.pewresearch.org/science/2019/08/02/trust-and-mistrust-in-americans-views-of-scientific-experts/.Google Scholar
Funk, Cary, Tyson, Alec, Kennedy, Brian, and Johnson, Courtney. 2020. “Science and Scientists Held in High Esteem across Global Publics.” Pew Research. September 29. https://www.pewresearch.org/science/2020/09/29/science-and-scientists-held-in-high-esteem-across-global-publics/.Google Scholar
Gauchat, Gordon W. 2012. “Politicization of Science in the Public Sphere: A Study of Public Trust in the United States, 1974 to 2010.” American Sociological Review 77 (2): 167–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gerber, Alan S., and Huber, Gregory A.. 2010. “Partisanship, Political Control, and Economic Assessments.” American Journal of Political Science 54 (1): 153–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gerber, Alan S., Huber, Gregory A., Doherty, David, and Dowling, Conor M.. 2011. “The Big Five Personality Traits in the Political Arena.” Annual Review of Political Science 14: 265–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gilens, Martin. 2001. “Political Ignorance and Collective Policy Preferences.” American Political Science Review 95 (2): 379–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gilovich, Thomas. 1991. How We Know What Isn’t So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
Gitlin, Todd. 2000. “The Renaissance of Anti-Intellectualism.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. December 8. https://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Renaissance-of/27980.Google Scholar
Gould, Stephen J. 1993. Eight Little Piggies. New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
Graham, Jesse, Haidt, Jonathan, and Nosek, Brian A.. 2009. “Liberals and Conservatives Rely on Different Sets of Moral Foundations.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 96 (5): 1029–46.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Grant, Adam. 2021. Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know. New York: Viking Press.Google Scholar
Green, John C., and Guth, James L.. 1988. “The Christian Right in the Republican Party: The Case of Pat Robertson’s Supporters.” The Journal of Politics 50 (1): 150–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Greene, William H. 2018. Econometric Analysis, 8th edition. New York: Pearson.Google Scholar
Griffin, Dale, and Tversky, Amos. 1992. “The Weighing of Evidence and the Determinants of Confidence.” Cognitive Psychology 24 (3): 411–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gutmann, Amy, and Thompson, Dennis. 2012. The Spirit of Compromise: Why Governing Demands It and Campaigning Undermines It. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Haidt, Jonathan. 2012. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
Hall, Robert L., Rodeghier, Mark, and Useem, Bert. 1986. “Effects of Education on Attitude to Protest.” American Sociological Review 51 (4): 564–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Harris, Adam. 2018. “America is Divided by Education.” The Atlantic, November 7.Google Scholar
Hetherington, Marc J., and Weiler, Jonathan. 2008. Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Hetherington, Marc J., and Weiler, Jonathan. 2018. Prius or Pickup? How the Answers to Four Simple Questions Explain America’s Great Divide. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.Google Scholar
Hochschild, Jennifer, and Einstein, Katherine Levine. 2015. Do Facts Matter? Information and Misinformation in American Politics. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hofstadter, Richard. 1963. Anti-Intellectualism in American Life. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
Hofstadter, Richard. 1968. “214th Columbia University Commencement Address Transcript.” Columbia University Libraries Online Exhibitions. Accessed April 22, 2021. https://exhibitions.library.columbia.edu/exhibits/show/1968/item/9566.Google Scholar
Hotelling, Harold. 1933. “Analysis of a Complex of Statistical Variables into Principal Components. Journal of Educational Psychology 24 (6): 417–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Iyengar, Shanto, and Westwood, Sean J.. 2015. “Fear and Loathing across Party Lines: New Evidence on Group Polarization.” American Journal of Political Science 59 (3): 690707.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jackson, Chris, and Newall, Mallory. 2020. “Despite Seeing Great Risk, Americans Slow to Make Major Changes to Deal with COVID.” Ipsos. July 14. https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/news-polls/axios-ipsos-coronavirus-index.Google Scholar
James, William. 1896. “The Will to Believe.” New York: Longmans, Green.Google Scholar
Johnson, Samuel. [1785] 2010. The Works of Samuel Johnson , Vol. 4 The Adventurer. New York: Qontro.Google Scholar
Johnston, Christopher D., Lavine, Howard, and Federico, Christopher M.. 2017. Open Versus Closed: Personality, Identity, and the Politics of Redistribution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jost, John T., Glaser, Jack, Kruglanski, Arie W., and Sulloway, Frank J.. 2003. “Exceptions That Prove the Rule: Using a Theory of Motivated Social Cognition to Account for Ideological Incongruities and Political Anomalies: Reply to Greenberg and Jonas.” Psychological Bulletin 129 (3): 383–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jost, John T., Napier, Jaime L., Thorisdottir, Hulda, Gosling, Samuel D., Palfai, Tibor P., and Ostafin, Brian. 2007. “Are Needs to Manage Uncertainty and Threat Associated with Political Conservatism or Ideological Extremity?Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 33 (7): 9891007.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kazin, Michael. 1998. The Populist Persuasion: An American History. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Kavanagh, Jennifer, and Rich, Michael D.. 2018. Truth Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis in American Public Life. Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation.Google Scholar
Kennedy, Brian, and Funk, Cary. 2019. “Democrats and Republicans Differ over Role and Value of Scientists in Policy Debates.” Pew Research Center Fact Tank: News in the Numbers. August 9. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/08/09/democrats-and-republicans-role-scientists-policy-debates/.Google Scholar
Kitschelt, Herbert P., and Rehm, Philipp. 2019. “Secular Partisan Realignment in the United States: The Socioeconomic Reconfiguration of White Partisan Support since the New Deal Era.” Politics & Society 47 (3): 425–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Klein, Ezra. 2020. Why We’re Polarized. New York: Avid Reader Press.Google Scholar
Kruglanski, Arie. W. 2004. The Psychology of Closed Mindedness. New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
Kuklinski, James, Quirk, Paul, Jerit, Jennifer, Schweider, David, and Rich, Robert. 2000. “Misinformation and the Currency of Democratic Citizenship.” Journal of Politics 62 (3): 790815.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kuhn, Thomas. 1962. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
Kuriwaki, Shiro. 2018. “Cumulative CCES Common Content (2006–2018).” Harvard Dataverse, V4. https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/II2DB6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lecklider, Aaron S. 2013. Inventing the Egghead: The Battle over Brainpower in American Culture. Philadelphia, PA: University of Philadelphia Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lupia, Arthur. 2016. Uninformed: Why People Seem to Know So Little about Politics and What We Can Do about It. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mansbridge, Jane, and Macedo, Stephen. 2019. “Populism and Democratic Theory.” Annual Review of Law and Social Science 15: 5977.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Marietta, Morgan. 2012. The Politics of Sacred Rhetoric: Absolutist Appeals and Political Persuasion. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press.Google Scholar
Marietta, Morgan, and Barker, David C.. 2019. One Nation, Two Realities: Dueling Facts and American Democracy. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mason, Liliana. 2016. “A Cross-Cutting Calm: How Social Sorting Drives Affective Polarization.” Public Opinion Quarterly 80 (1): 351–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Maxwell, Angie, and Shields, Todd. 2019. The Long Southern Strategy: How Chasing White Voters in the South Changed American Politics. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Merkley, Eric. 2020. “Anti-intellectualism, Populism, and Motivated Resistance to Expert Consensus.” Public Opinion Quarterly 84 (1): 2448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Miller, Gary, and Schofield, Norman. 2008. “The Transformation of the Republican and Democratic Party Coalitions in the U.S.” Perspectives on Politics 6 (3): 433–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mooney, Chris. 2006. The Republican War on Science. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
Motta, Matthew P. 2018. “The Dynamics and Political Implications of Anti-Intellectualism in the United States.” American Politics Research 46 (3): 465–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mutz, Dianna C. 2006. Hearing the other Side: Deliberative versus Participatory Democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nyhan, Brendan, and Reifler, Jason. 2010. “When Corrections Fail: The Persistence of Political Misperceptions.” Political Behavior 32 (2): 303–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Noll, Mark A. 1994. The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.Google Scholar
O’Connor, Cailin, and Weatherall, James Owen. 2019. The Misinformation Age: How False Beliefs Spread. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Eric, Oliver J., and Rahn, Wendy M.. 2016. “Rise of the ‘Trumpenvolk’: Populism in the 2016 Election.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 667: 189206.Google Scholar
Oliver, J. Eric, and Wood, Thomas A.. 2018. Enchanted America: How Intuition and Reason Divide Our Politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Parker, Kim. 2019. “The Growing Partisan Divide in Views of Higher Education.” Pew Research Center: Social and Demographic Trends. August 19. https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/essay/the-growing-partisan-divide-in-views-of-higher-education/.Google Scholar
Pew Research Center. 2018. “An Examination of the 2016 Electorate, Based on Validated Voters.” U.S. Politics and Policy. Pew Research. August 9. https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2018/08/09/an-examination-of-the-2016-electorate-based-on-validated-voters/.Google Scholar
Pingree, Raymond J. 2011. “Effects of Unresolved Factual Disputes in the News on Epistemic Political Efficacy.” Journal of Communication 61 (1): 2247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pingree, Raymond J., Hill, Megan, and McLeod, Douglas M.. 2013. “Distinguishing Effects of Game Framing and Journalistic Adjudication on Cynicism and Epistemic Political Efficacy.” Communication Research 40 (2): 193214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pingree, Raymond J., Brossard, Dominique, and McLeod, Douglas M.. 2014. “Effects of Journalistic Adjudication on Factual Beliefs, News Evaluations, Information Seeking, and Epistemic Political Efficacy.” Mass Communication & Society 17 (5): 615–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Popper, Karl. 1935. The Logic of Scientific Discovery. Vienna: Springer Verlag.Google Scholar
Prior, Markus, Sood, Gaurav, and Khanna, Kabir. 2015. “You Cannot be Serious: The Impact of Accuracy Incentives on Partisan Bias in Reports of Economic Perceptions.” Quarterly Journal of Political Science 10 (4): 489518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Redlawsk, David P., Andrew, J. W. Civettini, and Emmerson, Karen M.. 2010. “The Affective Tipping Point: Do Motivated Reasoners Ever ‘Get It?’Political Psychology 31 (4): 563–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rigney, Daniel. 1991. “Three Kinds of Anti-Intellectualism: Rethinking Hofstadter.” Sociological Inquiry 61: 434–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rokeach, Milton. 1954. “The Nature and Meaning of Dogmatism.” Psychological Review 61 (3): 194204.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ryan, Timothy 2017. “No Compromise: Political Consequences of Moralized Attitudes.” American Journal of Political Science 61 (2): 409–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sartre, Jean Paul. 1976. “A Plea for Intellectuals.” In Between Existentialism and Marxism, 228–85. New York: William Morrow & Company.Google Scholar
Shogan, Colleen J. 2007. “Anti-Intellectualism in the Modern Presidency: A Republican Populism.” Perspectives on Politics 5 (2): 295303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Skitka, Linda J., Bauman, Christopher W., and Sargis, Edward G.. 2005. “Moral Conviction: Another Contributor to Attitude Strength or Something More?Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 88 (6): 895917.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Smidt, Corwin. 2017. “Polarization and the Decline of the American Floating Voter.” American Journal of Political Science 61 (2): 365–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Southwell, Brian G., and Thorson, Emily A.. 2015. “The Prevalence, Consequence, and Remedy of Misinformation in Mass Media Systems.” Journal of Communication 65 (4): 589–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sowell, Thomas. 2009. Intellectuals and Society. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
Sullivan, John L., Piereson, James, and Marcus, George E.. 1982. Political Tolerance and American Democracy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Swanson, Ana. 2015. “Chart: The Most Liberal and Conservative Jobs in America.” The Washington Post, June 3. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/06/03/why-your-flight-attendant-is-probably-a-democrat/.Google Scholar
Taber, Charles S., and Lodge, Milton. 2006. “Motivated Skepticism in the Evaluation of Political Beliefs.” American Journal of Political Science 50 (3): 755–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Taleb, Nassim Nicholas. 2007. The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable . New York: Random House.Google Scholar
Tetlock, Philip E. 1983. “Cognitive Style and Political Ideology.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 45 (1): 118–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tetlock, Philip E. 1984. “Cognitive Style and Political Belief Systems in the British House of Commons.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 46 (2): 365–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tetlock, Philip. 1986. “A Value Pluralism Model of Ideological Reasoning.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 50: 819–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tetlock, Philip. 2005. Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know? Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Tetlock, Philip, and Gardner, Dan. 2015. Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction. New York: Crown Publishing.Google Scholar
Thomson, Irene Taviss. 2010. Culture Wars and Enduring American Dilemmas. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
Toth, Jackie, and DeWese, Jared. 2020. “Voters Trust Science (Sort Of).” Third Way. October 15, 2010. https://www.thirdway.org/memo/voters-trust-science-sort-of.Google Scholar
Van Der Linden, Sander, Panagopoulos, Costas, Azevedo, Flávio, and Jost, John T.. 2020. “The Paranoid Style in American Politics Revisited: An Ideological Asymmetry in Conspiratorial Thinking.” Political Psychology 42 (1): 2351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Voltaire, François-Marie Arouet. 1770. “Letter to Frederick the Great.” (November 28th, 1770).Google Scholar
West, Thomas G., and Plato, . 1979. Plato’s Apology of Socrates: An Interpretation, with a New Translation. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Young, Dannagal G., Bagozzi, Benjamin E., Goldring, Abigail, Poulsen, Shannon, and Drouin, Erin. 2019. “Psychology, Political Ideology, and Humor Appreciation: Why is Satire so Liberal?Psychology of Popular Media Culture 8 (2): 134–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Supplementary material: File

Barker et al. supplementary material

Online Appendix

Download Barker et al. supplementary material(File)
File 81 KB
Supplementary material: Link

Barker et al. Dataset

Link