The Corner

No Room For Jefferson?

This just in from Yuri Yarim-Agaev, who was one of the heroes of the democratic revolution in the Soviet Union. It seems that political correctness has reached new lows in the People’s Republic of New Jersey:

Where is Jefferson?

(True story)

A few days ago, I stopped by a neighboring Barnes & Nobel bookstore in Holmdel, NJ, to look for the writings of Thomas Jefferson. The store is large and contains many different departments, including some strange to my archaic education, such as New Age, Self Improvement and Gay and Lesbian studies. There still are some sections (though not as capacious) that are more familiar to me, such as U.S. History, Philosophy, and Law. I started to browse these sections for Jefferson’s works. I found several biographies of

the great man but none of his original writings. In the Philosophy section, however, I came across six different editions (editions, not copies!) of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto and two editions of Capital.

Somewhat puzzled, I approached the customers’ desk. The lady at the desk looks into the computer database, finds one book of Jefferson’s s elected writings and goes in search of it to the shelves. Soon she returns empty-handed.

“We do not have any in stock, but I can order it for you.”

“Thank you,” I reply. “I’ll find the book myself on the Internet. Could you tell me, though, how is it that you have six different editions of the Communist manifesto but none of Jefferson’s writings?”

“You know,” she says, “Marx is often requested by college students, but they never ask for Jefferson.”

Holmdel is neither Berkeley nor Cambridge. A small and prosperous town of the New York suburbs, it is populated mainly by Bell Labs engineers, lawyers, and businessmen. It doesn’t have a university campus, not to mention a local chapter of the communist party. It is difficult to believe that the people who patronize this store would buy only Marx’s writings and never Jefferson’s, unless, of course, they are prevented from doing so by the pro per stocking of shelves in their Barnes & Nobel. As for students, it is hard to entertain the thought that they have such a natural overwhelming aspiration for the works of Karl Marx. Most likely it is the curricula of nearby colleges that require them to study the original works of the founder of communism, but not of the father of American democracy.

Michael Ledeen — Michael Ledeen is an American historian, philosopher, foreign-policy analyst, and writer. He is a former consultant to the National Security Council, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense. ...

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