The Corner

TNR Liberals and the Academy

Well said, Jonah. An interesting twist on this involves the history of Peter Beinart/TNR-style Democrats and the university. (See “The Future of the Left.”) It turns out that the hawkish liberal Democrats who purged the Henry Wallace-left from the Democratic Party back in the 1940′s were led by university professors. You might have heard of some of these academics by name. There was a professor of political science at the University of Minnesota named Hubert Humphrey, and a professor of sociology at St. Thomas college named Eugene McCarthy. Back then, the anti-communist liberals who ran the universities went after radical workers and farmers. Today, the radicals of yesteryear control the universities. And as you say, when it comes to taking them on, TNR-style liberals have lost their fighting spirit. Even a decade ago, TNR regularly hammered the leftist academy. Nowadays it does so far more rarely. The party simply relies too much on the left to make room for that kind of criticism.

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

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