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Why impose modesty

Reader comment on item: Arabist Snobs

Submitted by Mounir el Abd (Netherlands), Mar 4, 2012 at 08:37

I would not have expected an American scientist to exhibit such blatant anti-intellectual traits. I live in Northern Europe where anti-intellectual sentiment is unfortunately rife due to widespread calvinism, even among the educated classes, but I would have thought an educated American would know better than bash those who are experts on their fields and who have taken ample time and effort to learn foreign languages.

Having a solid command of a language that is relevant to your field is important. Acknowledging the fact that one has an extensive knowledge of such languages is not boastful, it's merely realistic. Egalitarianism is not a bad thing by default, but it should not be a burden to those who excel. Again, as an American you should know better and you should not exhibit calvinist/lutheran traits like imposing modesty and austerity upon those who excel.


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