Who is stoking the fire of Anti-Intellectualism in the U.S.?

By Himmel Pan

In 2020, the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 completely broke people’s illusion about the United States – a nation with“manifest destiny” and a“city on a hill”.

Claiming COVID-19 is a hoax, drinking bleach to kill the virus, suspecting the metal strip in medical masks serves as a 5G antenna, executing judgement on the pandemic by a priest on a TV show… Since the outbreak, a series of anti-intellectual chaos in the U.S. has gone beyondpeople’s imagination. One can hardly believe all this happens in a country, which has Ivy League schools, ranked first in the number of Nobel Prize winners worldwide, and was able to send people to the moon over 50 years ago!

If it had not been for the raging epidemic, U.S. Leaderswould still shamelessly insist that “they did a very good job” and people would still think that the U.S. has a superior system and elite governance. If the “whistleblowers” such as Dr. Helen were not dismissed one after another, people would still believe that the U.S. sincerely respects freedom of speech and the supremacy of human rights. If it were not for the “captains of the coronavirus crisis” such as Dr.Fauci and Birx who were targeted by blame-shiftingor even threatened with death, people would still yearn for the “lighthouse” of science and rationality.

Obviously, it is the “political elites” who promote anti-intellectualism in this country. President Trump himself has proposed various anti-intellectual remarks to please supporters and voters. He once said that he “loves poorly educated people”. Statistics show that during the past three years, he spoke against science more than 150 times. He said “Nobody knows more about the coronavirus than I do” and “everything is fine” no matter how severe the situation was. The U.S. government turned the deaf ear to the professional advice of disease control experts, deliberately downplayed theseriousnessof the virus, and even asserted that COVID-19 is just a “regular flu”.

U.S. politicians have been slow in action. In March 2020, they discussed isolation policies. In April, they debated wearing masks. In May, they finally decided to track close contacts, but precious time and innocent lives had gone with the wind due to endless bickering. At the same time, a group of conservative groups such as the “freedom movement” supported street demonstrations to oppose strict “stay at home” policies. In order to conceal their failure, certain politicians fabricated conspiracies such as “virus leaked from Wuhan laboratory”. They ever adopted a publicity mechanism in which senior diplomats like Pompeo put forward fake statements first, then the right-wing media followed up to spread the lies to the public.

Under the dual pressure of the pandemic and the election, it becomesobvious that U.S. politicians put private interests above science. They are the spokespeople of private capital and regard saving the market, pursuing interests and winning votes as their lifeline. They care the least about lives of ordinary people, and all they consider is capital and commercial returns. As TIME’s editor in chief, Edward Felsenthal, wrote in his famous “American failure” feature article, this is a failure of leadership at many levels and across parties; a distrust of scientists, the media and expertise in general, all combined to result in a horrifically inadequate pandemic response.

In sharp contrast to the chaotic conditions facing the COVID-19, the CPC and the Chinese government have insisted on making people’s lives and health the first priority, noting that all-out efforts were made to ensure that no single patient was left unattended to. China has adopted the most thorough, rigorous and comprehensive prevention and control measures and reached a cure rate of 94.3 percent. With these measures in place, China has prevented a wider spread.

China has implemented a combination of traditional Chinese and Western medicine, carried out large-scale nucleic acid detection, and supported vaccine research and development in multiple routes, making science an irreplaceable “brain” in the anti-epidemic war.While fighting against the virus, science and technology also play an important role in ensuring day-to-day business, including working from home, seeking medical advice and intensive E-learning. All kinds of technologies, software and platforms are springing up.

“Science has no national boundaries. It is the wealth of all mankind and the torch to light up the world.” Facing the fierce pandemic situation, global cooperation and joint response is the only solution. We hope that the American politicians could stop inciting anti-intellectualism, and shoulder the international responsibility as a major power. All countries should carry outmultilateral cooperation, share experience and participate in pandemic prevention and control, economic recovery and other fields. Only in this way can the torch of science shine on a brighter future. Let’s pray for intelligence.