Parochialism is an attitude set characterized by interest or perspective focused exclusively or largely on the immediate in place and time. Persons suffering from parochialism seek the emotional reassurance of attending to what is familiar and easily understood. In effect, they prefer a flatter learning curve. One danger in parochialism is that the sufferer may be affected by events in places and time far from his or her own and that their often willful ignorance prevents them from grasping the source(s) of their problem(s). As a consequence they may be unable to respond effectively.
Another danger in parochialism is that it tends to dis-empower sufferers, transforming their temptation to accept their own ignorance into a temptation to accept political powerlessness over affairs beyond their immediate experience. Every successful tyrant, serf owner, slave master, cult leader and jailer grasps this particular human weakness well and exploits it to maintain their control. Sheep are always willing to maintain their focus on the next blade of grass.
- In targeting what he identifies as wasteful spending at the National Science Foundation (NSF), Texas Republican Chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Lamar Smith identified 50 grants that he appears to have personally thought unworthy. Many of the 50 grants he disliked involved research conducted outside the United States, including a number of grants in archaeology and anthropology. Smith is a lawyer and not a scientist by training. See also Anti-intellectualism.