Ordered Liberty

Bruce Thornton on Andrew Delbanco on Bruce Bawer

If you’re weary of self-aborption and failures to deal with big ideas in speeches purportedly about big ideas, treat yourself to this take-down at FPM by Bruce Thornton of Columbia University’s Andrew Delbanco. The latter is an “American Studies” professor given the ticket by the New York Times to denigrate The Victims’ Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind, a new book by the invaluable Bruce Bawer, exposing the destructive force that is “Identity Studies” programs in American universities.

Bruce Thornton is masterful when it comes to deconstructing such academic pretensions. He demonstrates the emptiness of Delbanco’s claim that Bawer’s indictment is stale; shows that identity studies is a form of political activism masquerading as scholarship; illustrates how the charade has corrupted down to the bone not only traditional academic disciplines but the life of the campus; and spotlights the hypocrisy of tenured faculty, like Delbanco, who pine about the “corporate-minded[ness]” of the university while profiting handsomely off it — at the expense of prohibitive debt mounting on students who are lured into these grievance identity programs and emerge with nothing that would make them attractive to prospective employers. I’d paste some Thornton gems here, but I’d just end up pasting the whole essay — which you should read.