Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-viii

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-x

My Acknowledgments are primarily to editors. My first and foremost- I hope the others forgive me-is to Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of the New Republic. Leon not only suggested many of the topics about which I have written, he also insisted, on more than one occasion, that I collect my essays in book form. ...

read more

Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-6

There have always been public intellectuals, and there will surely be more of them in the future, but in the years in which I have been an intellectual in public-from the 1960s to the present-there have not been many models to follow. During those years, the academic world engaged itself in forms of professionalism ...

Part I: Country

read more

Alien Nation

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 9-28

Of all the goods that people value, citizenship has been the most unfairly distributed. Moral philosophers propose various criteria for deciding who should obtain the best that life has to offer. The most just decisions, we are told, are those chosen behind a veil of ignorance, or taken when supply and demand are in equilibrium, ...

read more

Strangled by Roots

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 29-41

Throughout the twentieth century, Gary Gerstle observes in American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century, the United States has been influenced by "two powerful and contradictory ideals." The first ideal is civic nationalism: appalled by the preference for regionalism and limited government, ...

read more

Anti-American Studies

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 42-60

Foraging near the hut that he built with his own hands, cultivating beans whose properties provided him with opportunities for speculation, gazing into the depths of the local pond, Henry David Thoreau seems to epitomize a long-standing American worship of nature. ...

Part II: God

read more

The Return of Evil

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 63-76

The problem of evil will be the fundamental question of postwar intellectual life in Europe," wrote Hannah Arendt in 1945. She was wrong. To be fair, her comment was not directed at the United States, and it applied to intellectual life in general rather than to academic trends in particular. ...

read more

The Hermeneutic Hole

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 77-87

Words must mean something. Words cannot mean anyone thing. Those two propositions, clearly at odds with each other, yet in some sense true, place great difficulties upon our attempts to understand the world, especially when the world that we seek to understand is different from our own. ...

read more

White Magic in America

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 88-108

As Joseph Smith related the story fifteen years later, he had been saying his evening prayers on September 21, 1823, when a flash of light revealed the presence of God's messenger. Smith was informed that in the fields around his house in Palmyra, New York, he would find a book, written in gold plates, ...

read more

Faith and Diversity in American Religion

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 109-118

One would be hard pressed to find a private college or university in the United States that cannot trace its founding to a religious denomination. One would be equally hard pressed, at least as far as America's elite universities are concerned, to find one that would identify faith as central to its current approaches to teaching, research, and student life. ...

read more

Higher Learning

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 119-136

There certainly exist sufficient grounds for thinking they should. Universities, shaped by faculty priorities, are hands-down the most secular institutions in American society. And at those institutions, disputatious professors, who quarrel about everything else, are all too quick to agree that religious education is a contradiction in terms. ...

Part III: Race

read more

Climbing the Mountain

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 139-144

To recount the life and times of Martin Luther King Jr. is to tell the story of how, more than fifty years after the century began, America finally became a modern society. It did so literally kicking and screaming, when not clubbing and killing. Our century's destiny has been to ensure that the ideal of civic equality announced to the world in 1776 would become a reality. ..

read more

The Facts and the Feelings

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 145-160

As if written to collide with each other, two huge books have appeared that advance radically different interpretations of the state of race in America. David Shipler, the author of a book on Arabs and Jews and a book on Russia, has returned to the United States after years as a foreign correspondent. ...

read more

Margaret Mead Goes to Harlem

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 161-173

The first point that Katherine Newman sets out to establish in No Shame in My Game: The Working Poor in the Inner City is that there really are working poor in the inner city. Newman believes that most Americans are so hostile to those who live at the bottom of the economic pyramid ...

read more

Affirmative Action, Inc.

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 174-186

When the 1996 political campaign began, race was going to be the theme, and affirmative action the policy, around which a new conservative coalition would solidify its majority. By the campaign's end, theme and policy had gone out with barely a whimper. ...

Part IV: Schools

read more

The Jeremiah Racket

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 189-200

Worried, like any concerned father of children under thirteen, about the moral lives of today's kids, I responded positively to the announcement that William Damon, the prominent educator from Brown University, would be coming to our local high school to help form a "youth charter." ...

read more

Subject Matter Matters

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 201-210

Imagine a small group of revolutionaries intent on taking over society. Certain that they know what is best for all, they insist that science undergirds their venture, and as a result they produce jargon incomprehensible to anyone but themselves. Cloaking their ideology in the rhetoric of democracy, ...

Part V: Sex

read more

The Mystique of Betty Friedan

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 213-222

Writing social criticism is uncomfortably similar to selling life insurance. Your potential readers may not even want to think about your subject, and, to make things more difficult, you have to persuade them to sit still for disquieting information about it. ...

read more

The Professor of Desire

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 223-238

Nothing in the background of Alfred C. Kinsey seemed likely to produce a man who would devote his life to the study of sex. He was born in 1894 and grew up in unbohemian Hoboken and South Orange, New Jersey, the son of a self-made shop teacher at the Stevens Institute of Technology. He was an Eagle Scout. ...

read more

Up from Scientism

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 239-254

You might think that a book filled with correlation coefficients, careful attention to problems of selection bias, detailed consideration of counterfactual cases, and ingenious ways to present data would be a model of scientific method. Its author certainly thinks so. "Methods from the behavioral sciences," ...

Part VI: Consumption

read more

Undialectical Materialism

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 257-278

At the end of the twentieth century," writes Gary Cross in An All-Consuming Century: Why Commercialism Won in Modern America, "never had Americans taken critiques of consumer culture less seriously, though that culture may never have needed criticism more." There is much to be said for both halves of his proposition. ...

read more

Buying Alone

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 279-292

Whether responding to world events or proposing domestic policy initiatives, the Bush administration seems to be guided by one simple imperative: buy. The way to demonstrate our resolve against jihad, the president asserted with considerable conviction after September 11, was to shop; ...

read more

The Greening of Conservatism

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 293-302

We spend far more time interpreting the 1960s than we spent experiencing the decade. It is mostly conservatives who, unable to leave those years behind, invoke every theory at their disposal to account for why they happened. No sooner had demonstrations broken out at Berkeley in 1964 ...

Part VII: Left and Right

read more

The Snake

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 305-322

As ... the twentieth century draws to a close," write Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri in Empire, "capitalism is miraculously healthy, its accumulation more robust than ever." For these writers, though not for most consumers and citizens, capitalism's capacity to survive, and even to flourish, poses a grave problem. ...

read more

The Revolution That Never Was

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 323-345

In 1948, Richard Weaver published Ideas Have Consequences, a book that would become, according to Frank Meyer, "the fons et origo of the contemporary American conservative movement." Weaver explored the consequences of one particular idea: that there were no transcendental truths lying beyond the capacity of man to make sense out of the world. ...

read more

Idiot Time

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 346-360

As Lord Bryce noted in 1888 in The American Commonwealth, the American way of choosing presidents rarely produces politicians of quality. Subsequent events vindicated his point: in the half century after his book appeared, Americans elected to the presidency such undistinguished men as William McKinley, William Howard Taft, ...

Conclusion

read more

The Fame Game

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 363-375

Any method for ranking the top one hundred public intellectuals in America cannot be all bad if it includes my name among them. Opening Richard A. Posner's Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline to the chart that most of his readers will immediately consult, I find myself barely making it at number ninety-eight, ...

read more

The Calling of the Public Intellectual

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 376-380

In 1987, Russell Jacoby's book The Last Intellectuals: American Culture in the Age of Academe created a stir by suggesting that the absorption of public intellectuals into the university in the 1950s and 1960s had produced a generation more preoccupied with methodological correctness and academic careerism than with the kind of fearless criticism ...

Books Discussed

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 381-386