[ExI] Fascist America, in 10 Easy Steps

Olga Bourlin fauxever at sprynet.com
Sat Sep 29 21:04:10 UTC 2007

From: "Damien Broderick" <thespike at satx.rr.com>
To: "ExI chat list" <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Sent: Saturday, September 29, 2007 10:21 AM
> Wolf graduated magna cum laude from Yale, and was a Rhodes scholar at
> Oxford.

Yes, I was aware of that.  I certainly believe in good education - and there 
are many ways people go about getting educated throughout their lives.

In my own life I've known several people (including a some from my extended
family) who generally fit that description, and yet ... I would call their
intelligence "fair-to-middling."  To be sure, some of them were and have
continued to evolve to become - great intellectuals (but a few seemed to
have gone seriously downhill from their college years).

I've also known brilliant people who've never been to college.

My husband - who's known a lot of those fabled "rocket scientists" at
McDonnell Douglas (where he used to work for 15 years) ... found a lot of
them wanting when it came to interdisciplinary thinking (e.g., there were a
couple of them who were creationists).

> It's true that Paglia denounces her as someone who "cannot
> write a coherent paragraph. This is a woman who cannot do historical
> analysis... Naomi Wolf is an intelligent woman.

And beyond that (because having and intellect and being an intellectual are
somewhat related, yet can be somewhat different), Naomi Wolf is an 
intellectual, as
well. I did say I thought Naomi Wolf wasn't "much" of an intellectual - and 
I admit that's my own subjective spin on the matter.  I don't consider Wolf 
to be a great innovative thinker, and - compared to historical women and men 
whom I admire more - not exactly in their league.  But, granted - Naomi Wolf 
is intelligent, and she's also an intellectual.

> She has been
> ill-served by her education." This doesn't mean she's not a "public
> intellectual"--just that she's one with whom some disagree and of
> whom some disapprove as a poor instance of the breed. Paglia, of
> course, comes in for similar treatment from other quarters.

Naomi Wolf is definitely a public intellectual.  (I wish more
behind-the-scenes intellectuals were better known - it would raise the bar 

> Wolf's vision of Jesus and the lessons she draws from it are
> unpalatable to me, too--but would you say Carl Jung was not an
> intellectual? Thomas Aquinas?

Going by the definition of an intellectual, I would say that Jung and
Aquinas were definitely intellectuals.  For their times, Jung and Aquinas 
also contributed more innovative ideas to the public discourse (than, say, 
either Paglia or Wolf).

> Personally, I think that her article on "fascism in America" is
> overwrought and undernourished, but the elements of her topic are
> worth some discussion.

Definitely.  I agree.


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