The Corner

2012: Campus PC Goes National

Well, it’s official. American politics is now one big leftist college classroom, run by Professor Obama. Some students may object to the lesson, but the outline of our arguments has been carefully selected by the prof.

We are living through the first true “race, gender, class” national political campaign. This mind-numbing trilogy first beset our college classrooms. Now it debases our politics. Take a look around: Bain Capital (class); “war on women” (gender); “dog whistle politics” (race). The Republican convention has been saddled with the task of responding to these attacks, but where do they come from in the first place?

For decades, our college classrooms have steadily been converting the study of history, the reading of our finest novels, and the practice of philosophy into little more than a debunking of the supposed race, class, and gender “domination” hidden within. Now our politics pulls the same reductionist nonsense on a brilliantly successful businessman, some of our finest religious institutions, and Americans who hope to build a pathway from welfare to work.

The college-educated suburban swing voters critical to Obama’s coalition are susceptible to this sort of nonsense, in no small part because they went to college. I’ve been arguing that these suburbanites are going to be the targets of the president’s second-term redistributive schemes. They’d rethink their support for Obama if they knew that. Yet these same suburbanites are part of a great inversion of the American electorate in which college-educated voters have migrated over time to the Democrats.

Race, class, and gender can be revealing categories of analysis, to be sure. Yet they’ve been abused and abased by the academic Left, turned into tools for debunking and dismissing all that is good in our history, our literature, our philosophy, and now our politics.

Just below, I linked to an important story by National Association of Scholars President Peter Wood exposing an egregious attempt by the Obama campaign to turn college classrooms in Ohio into campaign outposts. It’s no coincidence that the Obama campaign should disregard traditional academic practices in its push toward politicization. It’s also no coincidence that Wood has been at the forefront of those decrying the descent into faux-critical “race, gender, class” analysis in the academy.

Has there ever been a campaign like this? The Democrats have swung left — far left. Their playbook, like their president, comes straight out of an academic world in which traditional scholarship has been overthrown by political activists in professors’ robes.

Stanley Kurtz — Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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