Monday, March 28, 2011

American Thought Police (Krugman)

Paul Krugman's piece in the times is a good one.

David Brooks was on Real Time with Bill Maher last weekend defending Conservativism from the right wing antics of the Republican Party. I often hear from my Conservative friends that I shouldn't confuse Conservatives with Republicans. It's a bit self-righteous and precious, and hides a more complex truth. The claim is an implicit refusal to do anything at all to change the popular Conservative movement and its tactics, which are managed by the Republican Party and a growing, strong far-right-wing movement. So while conservative intellectuals, like Brooks, explicitly denounce the members of the Conservative movement who behave improperly and hurt civic discourse, they nevertheless politely refuse, hesitate is to kind, to act against it.

I think the damage to discourse has been done. The Conservative movement has been working since the 80s to control educational and market institutions via legislation and local activism. Academics and researchers are already forced to be quiet for fear that local conservative groups, at the service of the national movement, will smear them and their work. Even I experienced conservative plants in my classrooms at Metropolitan State College of Denver, of all places, during the Academic Rights nonsense pushed by David Horowitz in the early 2000s.

We've been forced by centrist culture to accept conservative binarism into intellectual discourse, to acknowledge paradox-denying common sense into our pragmatism, to permit ridiculous religious dogma into our educational discourse, et al. And while we all seem to agree that the minority who insists we continue moving to the right is, in fact, bad for our culture, our nation, we continue to do nothing about it.

I don't know if there's much we can do about it except by putting our careers at stake and telling the truth in spite of the potential smear campaigns. I promise to continue to do so.