Time to finish up this series.
LAYING DOWN THE SEQUENCE OF EVENTS
Time for review. Let me put this down logically (repeating a few points in order to make sure it’s all lined-up).
1) It is a serious mistake to underrate genius. Indeed, it is risky to make of any genius an enemy. So pick your fights carefully.
2) For all of their (many!) faults, the neocon theorists were geniuses.
Forget Karl Rove. He is a political predator, operating on fierce but primitive, feral instincts. His culture war summons the worst populist impulses from people who hate gradschool city slickers and it should not work, if the dems ever had the sense of a cryptobiotic tardigrade.
But the true neocons - once in exile - charted out an astonishingly successful plan. A plan that took a foundering conservative movement - one that could take credit for almost none of the great American accomplishments of the 20th Century - and somehow raised it from ashes to near-absolute power in just twenty years.
While managing somehow to transform the word “liberal” - responsible for most of our national success across a staggeringly successful century - into a veritable curse word. Wow.
Misguided? Sure. Manipulated by the plutocrat masters who sponsored the Straussian nerds in exile? Yup. Foolish to mind-boggling degrees? Absolutely right. But geniuses nonetheless.
3) Frat boys and aristocrats weren’t the only people who traumatized these bright nerds!
Remember the 1960s? I do. Care to guess how those leggy, straight-haired, free-lovin hippie gals treated four-eyed intellectuals who kept demurring “yes, but!” to the cool Marxist professor?
Did any... and I mean any... of those nerds “get any” of that free love?
Picture it. Wedgies don’t hurt half as much as the rebuffs they received. Or create such a lifelong grudge.
4) Moreover, the rich frat boys seemed to change their tune, for a long time! (See above.) The oldmoney/newmoney aristos seemed to see the value in guys like Wolfowitz et al. As long as they needed nerds to do their homework. Until their lock on every institution of power was complete and the Great Kleptocratic Raid was fully underway. Till then, there were back-slaps and parties and offices for the neocon geeps. And more.
5) But those hippies? From them, the oppression only got worse. If you said “yes, but!” in the wrong way, to the wrong thing... or to ANY collective (politically correct) wisdom... well... Gaia help you. No free speech, but a deafening howl of denunciations. No debate, just relentless name calling and picketing and office-trashing...
...till the beckoning call of off-campus pseudo-academe became a siren song, an allure of appreciation and peace and acceptance.
And all the nerds-of-the-right had to do was say “yes....” No buts. Yes to our new feudal lords.
MY UNCONVENTIONAL BUT DIRECT SUGGESTION
Sorry to be so repetitious. But it is an unconventional perspective, leading to an unusual suggestion.
Can you see where I’m going with all this? The left had its satisfaction, driving guys like Perle and Wolfowitz and Nitze and Adelman and their ilk off-campus. I remember their short sighted crowing. The puerile victory dances. Like the street celebrations after Goldwater’s defeat in 64, or Nixon’s resignation in 74.
Alas, the Radical Left was too stupid ever to ponder that there might be consequences. That “pushing them into the sea” might be the very last thing you want to do to somewhat neurotic nerds who have a few off-kilter ideas... but who are very, very, very much smarter than you are.
The repercussions of all this have cursed us for a generation. And it is about time that someone, somewhere, called this sad phenomenon for what it was. Imbecilic short-sightedness.
And there is really only one solution...
...invite them back.
YES... INVITE THEM BACK HOME.
We must bite the bullet. We must turn, now, and accept the sullen, half-apologies being offered by the likes of Richard Perle, for having served as lackey-rationalizers for a caste of vicious, would-be lords.
In return, campus lefties ought to contemplate that maybe... just maybe... they were the ones who started it all, giving the first slap. They need to swallow their pride and go cold turkey on the endorphin rush of indignation.
WE. the nation. need for all the radical students and profs and crypto-leftists to grit their teeth, control the allure of self-righteousness, put out their hands... and invite the neocons back on campus.
Where they can get what they always needed, the humanization that comes from collegial give-and-take. Happy argument. Sincere free speech and open disputation that allows (with a thick skin) some slack to those who fail the political correctness purity test. Free speech of a kind that the left (maxima culpa) denied them long ago.
(And did it ever occur to you that you might actually learn something, as well?)
Did I say “disputation?”
Yes! Let it start with guest lectureships that feature honest debate. Perhaps with a tone of conciliatory confession. “If you admit your sins, we’ll admit ours.” Like a Truth and Reconciliation commission. One aimed at redemption... for both sides... and ultimate healing of “culture war.”
Because let me assure you. We will all be better off - much better off - inviting these guys back into the Academy (bringing their even-brighter, next-generation acolytes with them!) than we will be leaving them out there, in exile.
Outside, where they are easy meat for the kind of predators who would turn all citizens -- and all philosophers -- into slaves.
Okay, that was a major rant... possibly forgiven (as I often am) because at least the ideas may be unusual and entertaining. (I hope) Certainly not conventional. Aggressively moderate. Militantly reasonable.
==return to Part 1 of this series