Sunday, October 17, 2004

543 How Academics make Policy

Mary Grabar, a college professor, vividly describes her graduate school experience. Having entered school as a moderate in the early 1990s who supported Bill Clinton, she learned that the aging, tenured 60s liberals are anything but liberal. What she found was scoffing at the very idea of meaning, of truth, or indeed of value in the study the great works of the past. What she found was the family portrayed as an institution of evil, child pornography not only tolerated but sanctioned, and feminists mocking fetuses. So when the twin towers came down, she’d already seen academe imploding.

"As with Zell Miller, my conversion was solidified by 9/11. That event made very clear the danger of the ideas promoted by theorists like Noam Chomsky, Richard Rorty, Edward Said, and Peter Singer. That is the one thing the students taking over campuses in the 1960s realized: the arguments made in the halls of the academy, contrary to the conventional wisdom about the isolation of the ivory towers, have very real impact. The graduates become journalists, teachers, parents, and government workers. The political ideologies do not begin with the peasants, the workers, the average citizens. They start with the slick talkers, the ones who deliver their messages in measured tones, with thousands of footnotes. They then become policy.
Like the protestors and journalists referred to by Miller who enjoy their right to attack others with words, the academics enjoy the privilege of disparaging their own government because some have the courage to defend them.

Senator Miller [at the Republican Convention] was right to call attention to this evil within our own borders and among our own citizens. We need the straight-talking principled man from Appalachia to tell us this. We have had too much obfuscation from those who are undeserving of their doctorates and J.D.'s."

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