Letter to the Editor

I am intrigued by the call, in the latest HSC, for a definition of "intellectual corruption." I believe that the Bush administration is indeed corrupt intellectually, but it is not so easy to describe such corruption in just a few sentences. It is, I think, a kind of perverse ideology with roots in Ayn Rand's objectivism, with its anti-altruism, and an extreme form of libertarianism. This kind of ideologue sees all government as evil at the core, and should exist only to protect private property and private enterprise. It is virtually a right-wing anarchism.  These libertarians talk of "government schools" as inherently a failed enterprise; private and parochial schools are the preferred educational model.

Their politics could be summed up as "Private sector, good; public sector, bad." They refuse to accept the thought that a mixed economy can temper the excesses of doctrinaire capitalism and doctrinaire socialism.

The Bush people are dedicated to reversing FDR's New Deal, doing away with every program of public entitlement: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the rest. Some of them have publicly used the slogan "Starve the Beast!" as their way of returning to the days of unbridled 19th-century capitalism.

The dishonesty of this dogmatic ideology permeates the current administration: the cavalier disregard for inconvenient facts; the aversion to scholarly knowledge and scientific expertise; their belief that reiteration of untruths establishes them as truth; their ignorance of history's lessons---all point to a fundamentally meretricious mind-set.

There are undoubtedly other varieties of intellectual corruption rattling around the public square, but this kind of ideological ultra-orthodoxy is perhaps the greatest threat the American body politic faces today.

This is my no-doubt-inadequate attempt to define one sort of intellectual corruption.

- - Charles Grady, Hendersonville NC

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