03 August 2012

Academic Despisers . . .

Are actually anti-intellectuals. In other words, many of them lack a fundamental understanding of America's founding and the legitimacy of its modern application. Others understand it, but despise it. George Will nails them:

Today, many of the tea party’s academic despisers portray it as anti-democratic and anti-intellectual. Actually, it stands, as the forgotten heroes of 1912 did, with Madison, the most intellectually formidable Founder. He created, and the tea party defends, a constitutional architecture that does not thwart democracy but refines it, on the fact that in a republic, which is defined by the principle of representation, the people do not directly decide issues, they decide who will decide. And the things representatives are permitted to decide are strictly circumscribed by constitutional limits on federal power.

It's important to remember that prevailing academic orthodoxy regarding American history and its interpretation, *is as much or more bound up in modern political/culture wars issues as with anything that happened in the 19th and 18th centuries. As Eugene Genovese has pointed out:

. . . in these dreariest of days in Academia . . . American history has largely become a plaything for canting ideologues . . . our times call for a correct ideological line, which at its increasingly popular extreme regards the Old South as a rehearsal for Nazi Germany and calls for the eradication of all traces of the conservative voices that have loomed so large in southern history . . . [There is a] step-by-step domination of departments of history in our southern as well as northern universities by those who regard what Richard Weaver aptly called the Southern Tradition and all its works as an evil past to be exorcised by all means, fair and foul. ~ Eugene D. Genovese (The Southern Front - History and Politics in the Cultural War, page 25.)

Professor David Blight is a good example of what Genovese has written. Blight despises conservatism and doesn't even attempt to hide his feelings:

Why doesn't the Confederacy just fade away? Is it because we are irresistibly fascinated by catastrophic loss? Or is it something else? Is it because the Confederacy is to this day the greatest conservative resistance to federal authority in American history? (See more here, here, and here.)
Of course, Genovese isn't the only one who recognizes academia's "correct ideological line".

Historians, like everyone else, have their own political views. But these used to be kept separate from the scholarly role, which was to interpret and explain the past . . . With each passing year, the American historians have become more and more marginalized, and more irrelevant to anyone seeking insight about our nation's past. A few decades ago, the left wing was a small group, welcomed to participate by the mainstream historians in the profession, but unable to impose their will on a majority of sane historians. Today, they control the profession, and their two major associations have become almost indistinguishable from the organizations of the far Left. (History News Network)

Leftists in academia simply despise conservatism and it's philosophical foundations. The Founders, as well as the Confederacy, provide them with (in their minds) a convenient opportunity to perform their exorcist-like "analysis" of our nation's history. But that's ok. More and more people are on to them. They've lost control (if they ever really had it) of the debate.

More of Will's piece here.

* ;o)

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