A professor firmly on the left just admitted that he was wrong about the influence his fellow leftist scholars are having on mainstream culture.
Russell Jacoby is an author and professor emeritus of history at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). He wrote a book in 1987 dismissing conservatives’ fears that students of liberal academia would create havoc in American culture.
It’s now 35 years later and Jacoby wrote an article for “Tablet” in which he admits that conservatives were right.
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“In 1987 I published ‘The Last Intellectuals: American Culture in the Age of Academe’ which elicited heated responses,” said Jacoby. “Only now do I see I got something wrong — as did my critics.”
He went further saying that his book was in response to other books from the eighties that said offshoots of Marxist-derived Critical Theories taught in universities would produce progressive activists who would bring chaos to the United States.
“I argued that the conservatives should awake from their nightmare of radical scholars destroying America and relax; academic revolutionaries preoccupied themselves with their careers and perks,” said Jacoby. “If they made waves, they were confined to the campus pool.”
He maintained that most of his peers were concerned with advancing their careers and would write unreadable articles and books just for their colleagues.
But now he realizes that he “missed something,” “the dawning takeover of the public sphere by campus denizens and lingo.”
What he did not foresee was how few liberal scholars would be able to find a position in teaching from the 90s on. Instead, they had to find their place in the workforce and they took with them the liberal jargon from their classrooms.
“The leftists who would have vanished as assistant professors in conferences on narratology and gender fluidity or disappeared as law professors with unreadable essays on misogynist hegemony and intersectionality have been pushed out into the larger culture,” he wrote.
And now the culture is paying the price.