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The Age of Unreason

Susan Jacoby

Says US is "ill with intertwined ignorance, anti-rationalism and anti-intellectualism"

A decade of fundamentalist assaults on teaching of evolution; Bush administration's wilful disapproval of expert opinion on global warming, stem cell research and Iraq war.

Policy Q's get less attention that personality and tactics.

Influence of Internet making everyone an expert on everything - you can find 'evidence' for anything.

Jacoby claims that TV, video games and Internet have reduced the 2 main pillars of intellectual life - reading and conversation - video eclipsing print; youth culture denigrating tradition and experience; celebrity culture celebrating the vacuous rather than rewarding old-fashioned striving.

Need to explain why Americans so much more religious than rest of Western world, and why issues such as abortion, stem cell research and evolution have become such wedge issues in US whereas not so divisive in Europe.

Jacoby blames local control of schools instead of a national syllabus set by highly educated employees of a central education body

See also Al Gore's The Assault on Reason for explanation of political and cultural developments in decline of Reason and Andrew Keen's The Cult of the Amateur - the downside of the 'wisdom of the crowd' Susan Jacoby

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