College students and many historians have become obsessed with inequality . . . And this obsession has seriously affected the writing of American history. The inequalities of race and gender now permeate much of academic history-writing, so much so that the general reading public that wants to learn about the whole of our nation’s past has had to turn to history books written by nonacademics who have no Ph.D.s and are not involved in the incestuous conversations of the academic scholars. . . . These historians see themselves as moral critics obligated to denounce the values of the past in order to somehow reform our present.As Richard Weaver once wrote, "ideas have consequences." And we're seeing the consequences of academia's ideas played out all across the country when it comes to these public displays - and this is no longer confined to Confederate imagery. Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln are also recent targets. And the list will grow. As I've stated before, Confederate icons are simply the low-hanging fruit. The moral critics will continue their crusade against much of the rest of American history with even more vigor once the easy-pickin' fruit has been plucked.
So it was with great interest I read of another example of how this lack of real world "awareness" is often exasperated by a college or university setting:
A number of our members consistently tell us they’re seeing students come out of university or training programs and they might have the academic or theoretical skills, but no skills to work at all. It makes them really hard to employ . . .While the above quote comes from a piece specifically addressing jobs unrelated to the field of history (and outside the U.S.), the basic criticism still applies to that field as well - in many cases.
And just today, Gordon Wood further drives home the point by doubling down on his prior criticism of academic historians and scholars stating:
The people who came out of the ‘60s are currently in control of the profession and it’s has become essentially race-class-gender issues. Now, a new generation will come along and they’ll want to contest that. . . . But you can’t do much else and still have a career. It’s very difficult for young people to want to work on more traditional subjects. . . . We are cutting ourselves off from the general public [reality] and that's lamentable.Oh my.
I know this will likely upset some of the academics and professional historians who read this blog. Good. You need to be upset. Many of us in the general public believe you're making damned fools of yourselves. And, despite what you may think, our numbers are growing.