Dear Humanities Profs: We Are the Problem

“Academic politics are so vicious because the stakes are so small” — attributed to Henry Kissinger. Eric Bennett’s scathing assessment of activism masquerading as inquiry. “The IYI [intellectual yet idiot] pathologizes others for doing things he doesn’t understand without ever realizing it is his understanding that may be limited” — Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Skin in the Game.

The easy answer is frightening enough: We don’t really matter. The hard one chills the blood: We are, in fact, part of the problem.

Literature professors have affected America more by sleeping in its downtown hotels and eating in its fast-food restaurants than by telling one another where real prospects for freedom lay. Ten thousand political radicals, in town for the weekend, spend money no differently than ten thousand insurance agents.