Anti Intellectualism in the Irish Public Sphere….

This is a link to a fantastic, witty and vitriolic article by Tom Garvin in the Irish Times today. He correctly highlights the downgrading of intellectual and idle curiosity in Irish universities. But, anti intellectulism is endemic right across the Irish public sphere not least in politics. I cannot recall how many times I have been told ‘that is just intellectual nonsense‘ when engaging in political or policy discussion. It is rampant within the political left where the presentation of evidence, statistical data or any type of deep comparative analysis is considered an assault upon ideas or an apology for the right. In turn, any attempt to challenge the existing right of centre consensus in the Irish establishment is thumped as left wing ideology. It is everywhere and it stifles change. At the peak of the Celtic Tiger anyone who dared challenge the cosy consensus were clattered with empty rhetorical slogans of ‘things have never been better‘. Today, it still exists in a a more muted fashion. It is dressed up in ‘we are all in this together‘, ‘dont upset the markets‘. As someone on the Progressive Economy site called it ‘there is no alternative’ or TOGIT ‘the only game in town‘. Group think is a classic example of anti-independent thinking and it is rife across Irish policy circles and deeply internalised in the Irish public sphere. Grey Philistines have not just taken over the university, they have taken over the public sphere, the entire echelons of the decision making structure in Irish public life.

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One response to “Anti Intellectualism in the Irish Public Sphere….

  1. Interesting post. So have you begun to think about how this grey-tide might have impacted the formation / retention of social pacts in this grand little country over the past 20 odd years?

    ‘WawWa’ is another for your list, by the way; we are where we are… ;-)

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