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George Will and the “False Consensus Effect”

Everything I have ever suspected or thought about modern American academic elites:

When John Kennedy brought to Washington such academics as Arthur Schlesinger Jr., John Kenneth Galbraith, McGeorge and William Bundy and Walt Rostow, it was said that the Charles River was flowing into the Potomac. Actually, Richard Nixon’s administration had an even more distinguished academic cast — Henry Kissinger, Pat Moynihan, Arthur Burns, James Schlesinger and others.

Academics, such as the next secretary of state, still decorate Washington, but academia is less listened to than it was. It has marginalized itself, partly by political shrillness and silliness that have something to do with the parochialism produced by what George Orwell called “smelly little orthodoxies.”

Many campuses are intellectual versions of one-party nations — except such nations usually have the merit, such as it is, of candor about their ideological monopolies. In contrast, American campuses have more insistently proclaimed their commitment to diversity as they have become more intellectually monochrome.

If there is one item that would prevent me from returning to university, it would be this problem right here. It’s rare to find good, solid professors. It is more often that one finds professors and academics beholden to 10 years of their private thesis work or some other benign cause and little else.

I don’t particularly mind that academia leans one way or the other on the political spectrum. But what I do mind is when they are so fanatically beholden to that ideology that they squash other mindsets. This doesn’t mean one should expect professors to be faceless, but it does mean that one should expect a pedigree that one expects from an educated person.

Interesting article.

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