Americans have a love-hate relationship with theory. On the one side the U.S. has many world-renowned institutions of science and higher learning. Americans are proud of the great scientists and thinkers the country has produced.
On the other hand Americans are skeptical of theory, which for them is almost by definition a separation from reality, from experience. The more education a person has, the fear is, the more detached, impractical, and inexperienced they are.
The “ivory tower” is a figure of speech that describes a state of privileged seclusion from the facts and practicalities of the real world. Some intellectuals are often perceived to be living in an “ivory tower,” detached from real world experiences.