Why do we live in America Lite?

David Gelernter is a Renaissance man. He is professor of computer science at Yale University and the author of books that suggest a kind of Herodotean interest in everything human. Last year’s Wall Street Journal profile of Professor Gelernter by Holman Jenkins is still available online and still worth reading.

Professor Gelernter’s books include Drawing Life: Surviving the Unabomber, Mirror Worlds, The Muse in the Machine: Computerizing the Poetry of Human Thought, Machine Beauty: Elegance and the Heart of Technology, 1939: The Lost World of the Fair, Americanism: The Fourth Great Western Reliion, and Judaism: A Way of Being.

Professor Gelernter is the author, most recently, of America-Lite: How Imperial Academia Dismantled Our Culture (and Ushered in the Obamacrats), just published by Encounter Books. He recently joined Lou Dobbs on the Fox Business Channel to talk about the book. The video of his appearance is accessible here; I think it is fair to say that Dobbs loved the book.

I asked Professor Gelernter if he would write something that would allow us to bring his new book to the attention of our readers. He has graciously forwarded us the following note:

How did it happen? We know how many of our public schools teach no serious American history or civics, that our toniest colleges preach left-liberalism, that 40% of American babies are illegitimate and the rate keeps rising, that too many thriving young Americans worship money and casual hedonism and are too ignorant of religion even to be proper atheists, that President Obama rejects outright the heart of America’s Creed: American uniqueness, the American Zion, the city on a hill striving to be a beacon to mankind. How did this happen? When did we decide to swap America for America Lite? We can’t undo these changes unless we know how they came about.

Our disastrous Cultural Revolution (its effects are still unfolding) was an unintended consequence of a beautiful impulse.

After the Second World War, our snootiest and most powerful colleges opened their gates to non-WASPs. Within a generation, they had been overrun by intellectuals—who, in general, make no secret of their disdain for America and the west. Meanwhile the power of these same colleges, and their alumni, and their law and business and journalism and education schools, continued to grow. By turning over Yale and Harvard et al. to the intellectuals, we gave them a sledgehammer, which they have used just as they always said they would—to smash American culture. Let’s hope that non-left Americans get to work replacing America’s irremediably corrupt schools and colleges before it’s too late. The Internet is no panacea, but it is a way forward.

We hope to have Professor Gelernter back in a week or two to expand on one of the themes of the book. In the meantime, to purchase a copy, order it here.

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