Intellectual arrogance – Belittling with “I feel sorry for you”

I listen to about 8 different podcasts to get various perspectives, ideas and learn new things. I’m behind in my podcast queue at the moment and I try to squeeze 10-15 minutes in everywhere I can. I was listening to On the Media (OTM) while getting ready for work: Bob Garfield was interviewing Jared Taylor, a White Nationalist and founder and editor of American Renaissance. You can read the transcript here. Taylor believes that “blacks are less intelligent than whites, whites are less intelligent than East Asians, and that the races are driven, by nature, to segregate.” I hold the value of equality of all people under the law and that it benefits the US collectively to have a diverse and inclusive, peaceful society without race or class divisions and inequalities. Mr. Taylor doesn’t think so. I can’t be sure exactly how he wants America to be but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t agree.

At the end of the discussion, he says this to Garfield:

You really have a closed mind. I feel sorry for you, really. You’re unable to look around you and see the double standards, the contradictions, the facts. But I hope you’re happy in your ignorance.

Isn’t that ironic? A white male talking about double standards, contradictions and facts. There was a lot to chew on in that short interview but Mr. Taylor failed to earn any respect from me considering his segregationist and non-humanist values to which I do not subscribe. I think if you listen, you will get a similar take-away from it. Not all ideas are equally valid.

Taylor is not dumb. He’s an intellectual. But he lacks humility. I didn’t hear one smidgen of humility in that interview. One of the many great things about OTM is that they will admit when they screw up and they will also bring people on like this who do a fine job of exposing themselves with little prompting. Taylor probably thought he sounded smart, and obviously, superior. This closing bit (and the arrogant laugh in the middle of the segment) was a display of pure arrogance. Such arrogance is blinding. His antiquated ideas are a dead end street we, as a nation, will not go down again.

This piece in the Washington Post today discusses how humble leaders are better leaders in many aspects. They are secure in their identity, they crave learning more and admit when they are wrong. They are aware of others and value their opinion. Non-humble people, such as the intellectually arrogant, are secure in their knowledge which doesn’t change. They are inflexible, retain sole control, fail to see when things are wrong. In other words, they are closed-minded.

People who don’t like what I say about their extraordinary claims frequently resort to insulting me about being closed-minded. They do this because they lack convincing evidence. They resort to emotional tactics like appeals to fairness, name-calling, and belittling. But I can discuss the matter with facts and not have to appeal to emotion or name-calling. If you have better facts, I’m sunk. Don’t feel sorry for me, though, I always manage to move forward or around but keep going, adjusting, adapting. You, however, appear to be very stuck in that one place.

This “closed minded” tactic is so common, it important to recognized it for what it is – intellectual arrogance and frustration that the listener isn’t falling in line with the person who is convinced he knows everything already.

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10 thoughts on “Intellectual arrogance – Belittling with “I feel sorry for you”

      1. i heard that interview also and recognized that Garfield was letting Jared Taylor’s remarks do the job without need for rebuttal. I get frustrated when NPR interviewers let someone just blather on, giving them a forum for nonsense, but Garfield seems to have a good sense of when to let the blatherer hang himself.

  1. It is deeply ironic that intolerant people like Taylor have seized on the notion that those who value diversity are somehow supposed to “tolerate” them and their views. But what is more disturbing is that white nationalists have now, after this presidential election, gotten even more “equal time” and have had their views further exposed to the mainstream. The supposed “democratization” of the media unleashed by the internet and Facebook has allowed formerly fringe figures like Alex Jones and Taylor to achieve some notoriety, all under the guise of fairness and “tolerance,” much in the same way that conservative evangelical Christians are now claiming that their religious freedom is violated by having to recognize same-sex marriage and accept Roe v Wade. This ingenuous wave of conservative claims of persecution is something else. Keep up the hard work.

    1. I agree with you, but you have to understand that what Taylor and his ilk are exploiting is the increasingly intolerant sounding rhetoric emerging from the extreme end of the Left.

      In some cases it is incredibly easy for a right-leaning pundit to spin ‘safe spaces’ into calls to re-impose segregation on race or calls for censorship. I have even seen videos from right leaning pundits on YouTube quoting Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech to attack progressives.

      The name of the game from the right seems to be to create the impression that they are more reasonable than the left, often by finding the most intolerant material they can find on the Left and then claiming that it represents the left as a whole.

    1. Sheeple. You forgot to say “sheeple”. Nothing will make me dismiss a person faster than the phrase, “Wake up, Sheeple!”

  2. What worries me is that people like Taylor take the silence to mean they’ve made their point and had the last word. That just reinforces their sense of the appropriateness of their belief system to themselves and any of their followers who are listening. And perhaps to neutral folk. One more crack in the door.

    1. Unfortunately, I don’t think you can “win” with this kind of discussion. It’s rather like dealing with trolls, you shouldn’t feed them but sometimes a public smack is necessary. All options for interaction have negative consequences.

  3. One does not have to spend much time at many urban train-stations or bus-stops in my city before he/she hears the loud, sharp cry “fucking white c**t!”, or, “fucking white slut!”. These outbursts seem to never be quietened or even well reprimanded by rail/bus guards, whereas outbursts, even less bigoted outburst by whites are quickly smothered into reprimanded silence.
    Is this the kind of difference between personal attitudes and reality of which you sometimes speak?
    As Nina, host of the ‘Lady Freethinker’ blog recently expressed, “Nothing is really black and white, is it?

    All the best,
    Woody

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