Leach's Big Reach

Ashley Thorne

Jim Leach, the new chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, wants to correct Americans' "disrespectful" attitude towards Muslim culture by giving the NEH a new theme: "Bridging Cultures." He is also annoyed at culture warriors and excitable people at town halls. NEH seems next on the list of government agencies to be politicized. Peter Wood wrote about this in an NAS.org article, "Politicizing the NEH." An excerpt:

NEH Chairman Jim Leach, speaking at the Carnegie Corporation of New York on September 29, described his plan for the humanities to help change “the temper and the integrity of the political dialogue” in the United States in a manner that sends, “an implicit message to Muslims in our country and in other parts of the world that we deeply value the contributions of their diverse and fascinating cultures.”  The speech, titled “Bridging Cultures:  NEH and the Muslim World,” is posted on the NEH website.  Leach’s remarks are surprising on several counts. In tone, they depart from NEH tradition, which has generally celebrated American cultural achievement rather than castigate Americans for their failings. In substance, his speech amounts to an indictment without any evidence.  American culture is not awash in “disrespect” for Muslim cultural contributions. A case could be made for the exact opposite: schools, colleges, museums, and other cultural institutions have been going way out of their multicultural way to point out the glories of Muslim civilization for the last decade.

  Power Line Blogs picked up on the story in "Jim Leach's Bridge to Nowhere."

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