Those of us who have criticized the worst excrescences of political correctness in academia, such as the cult of cosmetic diversity that is oblivious to the benefits of intellectual diversity, have sometimes consoled ourselves by the thought that academia is just a self-contained entity, removed from the rest of American society by the sheer inanity of the ideas it generates. Once students have graduated, we have reassured ourselves, they will rejoin the mainstream and rid themselves of all the nonsense their professors have drilled into them. Those who believe this underestimate how easily academics can influence public policy even if only a small percentage of their students bring to the larger society the mostly left-wing ideology these students have absorbed. To my profound regret one such student has now ascended to the presidency. Barack Obama, in the domestic and foreign policies he has enunciated, has shown himself to have internalized, first in college and then in law school, many of the most pernicious postulates of “multiculturalism,” which for many of its advocates is little more than ideological justification for trashing America – which is forever tainted by the original sins of slavery and racism - while either rationalizing or ignoring the far more egregious transgressions of America’s enemies. Indeed, President Obama is our first multicultural president – with the adjective preceding the noun referring to what he thinks rather than his race, which should be irrelevant to any consideration of his policies. After receiving degrees from Columbia and Harvard, two citadels of multicultural education, our current president went on to even more radical post-graduate training from a “faculty” consisting of Mssrs. Wright, Ayers, Khalidi and Flueger. The result is an ethical universe in the White House in which Rush Limbaugh evokes more indignation and hostility than the genocidal anti-semitic mullahs in Iran. My point is not to bash President Obama. Rather it is that we in academia who share the operative principles of the National Association of Scholars should not stop fighting for these principles because of a psychologically comforting, but empirically groundless belief that academics who mindlessly mouth the platitudes of multiculturalism really have no influence outside the academy and for that reason can be dismissed as harmless cranks. Alas, they are much worse, and more dangerous, than that!
- October 13, 2009