In January of 2018, a seemingly racist incident occurred on the National Mall. Photos and videos were posted to social media showing a group of MAGA hat-wearing high school students from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky. One of them, Nick Sandmann, seemed to be mocking and blocking the path of Native American activist, Nathan Phillips. People either jeered or cheered on social media, depending on how it was perceived, long before most of us had any idea of the context of the situation.
An investigation cleared the students of wrongdoing. What happened is less important than understanding how that incident triggered strong convictions that varied by political affiliation and remained resistant to changing after the investigation. Today, we talk about how this cultural moment is making all of us arrogant intellectual know-it-alls.
Also this hour: One man's quest to be the smartest man in the world.
- Michael Lynch - Professor of Philosophy and director of the Humanities Institute at UConn and director of the New England Humanities Consortium. He’s the author of several books, most recently, Know-It-All Society: Truth and Arrogance in Political Culture
- A.J. Jacobs - Contributor to Esquire magazine and the New York Times. He’s the author of four NYT bestsellers, including The Know-It-All: One Man’s humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World, and most recently, Thanks a Thousand: Gratitude Journey
Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show.