Anti-Intellectualism and Confederate Heritage

Ben Jones, chief of heritage operations for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, offered the following observation on this blog:

Surely an old cracker like me couldn’t possibly be as knowledgable or as circumspect as these academic “intellectuals”, right? I fear that this is exactly the attitude that gives academia its bad rap as a place for pretentious, condescending folks who are “an inch wide and a mile deep.”

Apparently he targets not only yours truly but also “Professor” Albert Mackey, whom Mr. Jones calls “Al the Hokie” as a sign of his respect as he engages in intelligent discourse.

I find Ben Jones amusing. I also find him disappointing. His posts here suggest that his appointment as chief of heritage operations for the Sons of Confederate Veterans was little more than a cosmetic change, where Jones’s celebrity might prove advantageous. Some people call this putting lipstick on a pig, but I won’t go there.

Mr. Jones observes:

Both he and Al Hokie lambast me for simply being a successful person out in the world and not even reading or understanding my studies. This over-reaction subsumes real argument and earnest debate, of course.

Would someone please point out where I lambasted Mr. Jones for simply being a successful person out in the world? As for overreaction subsuming real argument and earnest debate, I wonder how calling someone “Al the Hokie” advances that agenda. Here’s how Mr. Jones engages in “earnest debate”:

Well, now I’ve got Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee to deal with.

For history professors, you guys sure have a lot of time to play on the internet.

I wonder, Brooks, if you are not too invested in your tiny bit of blog-power to be genuinely serious about “building bridges”.

Or if indeed, you are writing all this stuff….

Talk about “an aroma of social bigotry.” Mr Jones’s comments reek in that regard. Insult followed by insult–that’s how Mr. Jones engages in “real argument and earnest debate.”

Of course, that gets us back to the point made in this article.

Parents, community leaders, public figures, popular culture icons, and peers tell our children–in words, deeds, and attitudes–that education is worthless. There is an aversion to education, a rising tide of anti-intellectualism, contempt for scientific investigation, and condescension towards the study of the humanities.

It’s as if someone was describing Ben Jones, at least in light of his behavior here.

But at least we know that the Sons of Confederate Veterans are putting their best foot forward.