Brecher Brief




Recent Entries

Syndicate this site (XML)

Powered by

Movable Type 3.17

May 02, 2006

Are Radical Professors An Endagered Species?

In an essay for the current “Chronicle of Higher Education,” Todd Gitlin (Columbia professor, sixties radical) kicks some left-wing ass. The title alone tells half the story: “The Self Inflicted Wounds of the Academic Left.” His conclusion nails it. "[T]he academic left is nowhere to day," he writes.

"The reason is that its faith-based politics has crashed and burned. It specializes in detraction. It offers no plausible picture of the world. Such spontaneous movements as do crop up in America — like the current immigrant demonstrations — do not emerge from the campus left. Neither do reformers' intermittent attempts to eject the party of plutocracy and fundamentalism from power, to win universal health care, to protect the planet from further convulsions, to enlarge the rights of the least privileged. If more academics deigned to work toward reforms, they might contribute ideas about taxes, education, trade, employment, investment, foreign policy, and security from jihadists. But the academic left is too busy guarding the flame of nullification. They think they can fortify themselves with vigilance. In truth, their curses are gestures of helplessness."

This is a smart, high-energy rampage. Makes you want to run out and beat the shit out of the first four-eyed theorizing nimrod punk you find loafing on the commons—but I digress.

Gitlin fights on all fronts. To his right are the academic wing-nuts like David Horowitz who pander to fears that a cabal of pink professors is brainwashing America’s young. To his left, the postmodernist/cultural studies professorate that Horowitz rails about—the gummy bears of political nutrition. And to his, ah . . .other left, the unreconstructed comrade professors who faithfully await Trotsky’s second coming.

It’s a fun read—and dead-on, too. Moreover, it would be nice to believe that one day, real world progressives who labor in the vineyard of American democratic politics might some day get a little intellectual support from the Humanities Department. But I won’t hold my breath.

Posted by stevemack at 09:28 PM | Comments (3557) | TrackBack

"A Whitman for our Time."
- Jerome Loving,
"Stephen John Mack's The Pragmatic Whitman: Reimagining American Democracy, [is] The most thoroughly informed philosophical reading of Whitman to appear in decades. Mack develops the premise . . . That Whitman shares with John Dewey a vision of democracy as a 'civic religion' in America, a profoundly secularist and progressive perspective.

- M. Jimmie Killingsworth, Texas A & M University
February 2008
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29