Phi Beta Cons

Grim Irony

Joseph Bottum, editor of First Things, writes that he is weary of reading conservatives who write about how bad things are. What has especially inspired his reflection was a submission on the excesses of a Women’s Studies Department at a major American university. Bottum believes that the cause of his weariness is “that I’ve increasingly stopped caring what happens on mainstream American campuses.”

  He declares further that ”the culture wars are over, ended by terminal boringness,” and that ”for the most part, the complaint about how bad things are has no purchase left—and ought, I think, to have no purchase left. No one is left to persuade, one way or the other, and the way things are now is pretty much what we’re going to be stuck with for a long time to come.”
In sum, he says,  ”The great conservative complaint of the last fifty years has, I think, finally run its course. Time to move on.”

 I can sympathize with Mr. Bottum, and he makes a good point that conservatives need to be more active in offering positive solutions, but his reflection will strike many who have been battling the academic horrors for decades as grimly ironic. For a long time we heard that the radical, destructive academic theories of recent decades were fads that would soon pass, and would have little purchase outside the academy, so there was no need to worry about them. Now that they’ve more than proven their staying power, and have accomplished the remaking of the academy and the destruction of large parts of our society as well, people are finding themselves bored by them, even as they resign themselves to their continued ascendancy!

  Nevertheless, these awful developments do have to be fought. It is a long twilight struggle and you can no more give up on it than you could have given up in the fight that pitted the free world vs. communism, or than you could ever give up in the fight of truth against lies.  

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