Inoculated against intellectual snobbery

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

John Derbyshire explains how he got inoculated against intellectual snobbery:

I belong to that generation of Westerners from low-class backgrounds who got access to higher education far beyond what was available to our parents. We spent our teens and our twenties with the unhappy understanding that our parents, whom we loved and admired, didn’t actually know much. This created all sorts of psychological stresses.

It had the great advantage, though, of teaching us that good, honest, worthy, hard-working people — lovable people, admirable people — could be very ignorant. I like to think that this inoculated us — some of us, at least — against intellectual snobbery. Certainly a contempt for ordinary people — often guiltily but imperfectly disguised — is very common among people raised in intellectual or professional households.

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