In my new book, which you may possibly have heard about, I include the deliberate provocation that Strauss-inspired political scientists are the most formidable and serious people in the academy today. Although I can defend this proposition, I plopped this out as an assertion, imagining the howls of indignation that might ensue among anyone who caught this sentence.
This is preface to noting that twice in the last few weeks the New York Times has taken mostly respectful—but still bewildered—notice of two important conservative institutions partly influenced by conservative political science. On February 1, the Times wrote about Hillsdale College, “a ‘Shining City on a Hill’ for Conservatives.” This “hidden gem” is less and less hidden every day—even from the Times it appears.
What [conservatives] admire is the college’s concentration on the Western philosophical and literary canon (sometimes disparaged as the Great Books of dead white men) and its reverent treatment of the American founding documents as the political culmination of that tradition — a tradition that scholars at Hillsdale say has been desecrated by a century of governmental overreach, including the New Deal and Obamacare. . . From the official catalog: “The college values the merit of each unique individual, rather than succumbing to the dehumanizing, discriminatory trend of so-called ‘social justice’ and ‘multicultural diversity.’ ”
Paul Rahe, one of Hillsdale’s faculty luminaries, adds yesterday what he told Times reporter Erik Eckholm:
“My answer to the charge that we do not promote ‘social justice’ is that we don’t and that I am proud that we don’t,” Dr. Paul Rahe, professor of history and Charles O. Lee and Louise K. Lee Chair in the Western Heritage at Hillsdale, told PJ Media in an email statement. “Justice is owed individuals, not groups. There is no such thing as ‘social justice.’ The phrase is a slogan used by those intent on looting.”
“In any case, Hillsdale is an educational institution. It is improper for such an institution to promote a partisan agenda in the classroom,” Rahe added. “When such an institution does so, it substitutes indoctrination for education. Our aim is to turn out well-informed, intelligent citizens capable of making up their own minds.”
Good for Paul!
This is just a warmup for yesterday’s long Times story about the Claremont Institute and the Claremont Review of Books, “‘Charge the Cockpit or You Die’: Behind an Incendiary Case for Trump.”
Suddenly, The Claremont Review, an erudite journal with a mere 13,000 subscribers, was being hailed as the bible of highbrow Trumpism — “crucially important,” as the journalist Damon Linker wrote, “for anyone seeking to understand the evolution of the Republican and conservative movement.”
Read the whole thing. And savor how the Times is likely getting worried that all of this might be catching on. Can paranoia be far behind? (And shhhh: No one tell Paul Krugman: I doubt his paranoia can survive an escalation.)
Meanwhile, if you have a spare hour, here’s video of last night’s lecture here in Washington: