Geek Anti-Intellectualism

Larry Sanger has written, in a very heartfelt way, about what he sees as the rise of anti-intellectualism among the technorati, which he dubs “the geeks” but I think maybe my use of “technorati” is more useful here. I won’t repeat Sanger’s argument here, which really sort of traces how the idea in the public’s mind that the internet places the “wisdom of the world at our fingertips” has come to be fully embraced by the builders themselves of that infrastructure, who I think Sanger suggests should know better.

Perhaps more interesting than his post are the comments it draws, a fair number of which are individuals claiming to be “anti-intellectual” because “intellectuals don’t do anything” or because “intellectuals are elitist.”

My mind quite literally boggled at this. Here are people writing and reading about a very fine cultural/social point and they don’t consider themselves to be intellectuals. Now, I admit that anti-intellectualism has always had an enormous amount of cache in mainstream American culture, but the internet was largely built by folks who wished to have no truck with that kind of thinking, folks who wanted to think and wanted to think outside the constraints of their thinking having to have immediate application — what else is a blog for goodness sake?

What has happened here? Has geek culture shifted or has it grown to accept more individuals, many of whom don’t necessarily believe in the same things? (Please note that I am not arguing for any kind of cultural purism here. I am just a little stymied by the shift from Tim Berners-Lee and Dave Winer to the “intellectuals don’t do nothing” that seems to have occurred.)

Here’s the link to [Sanger’s post]( Go read it, and the comments, for yourself.