Dreaming of a World With No Intellectuals
Are conservative intellectuals anti-intellectual? The short answer must be no. Edmund Burke, Leo Strauss, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Harvey Mansfield, Wilfred M. McClayâ€”conservative thinkers have championed scholarship, learning, and history. The long answer, however, is more ambiguous. Confronted by social upheavals, conservative intellectuals tend to blame other intellectualsâ€”socialist, liberal, secularâ€”as the cause. They perceive political unrest as rooted in fallacious ideas advanced by misguided thinkers and indict the educational system for inculcating subversion.
A new book, America-Lite: How Imperial Academia Dismantled Our Culture (and Ushered in the Obamacrats), by David Gelernter, a professor of computer science at Yale, affords an occasion to revisit the issue: Do contemporary American conservatives scapegoat intellectuals and teachers? If so, they can claim an all-American pedigree.