The Country Against the Empire

A prophet and a polemicist, David Gelernter displays anything but a light touch in this attack on “imperial academia” and what it has wrought.  Like most prophets, Gelernter the polemicist hopes to be proved wrong.  Perhaps, with our culture dismantled and the “Obama­crats” in charge, the contest is over—game, set, and match.  Tennis was once a WASP game in America, and America a WASP-dominated country.  The new elite comprises what Gelernter calls post-religious globalist intellectuals (PORGIs), who today are as supreme and as supremely confident as the WASPs once were.

Though his name never appears in these pages, the first PORGI was arguably a WASP of more than minor importance named Woodrow Wilson.  A product of Princeton and Johns Hopkins, Wilson was a devotee of the German administrative state and a version of cosmopolitan internationalism.  Gelernter argues that the cultural revolution we associate with the 1960’s was already well under way in the 50’s, when Wilson’s PORGI successors first manifested in elite American colleges.  Once this collegiate beachhead was established, the coming elite then trained its sights on the Democratic Party, which it captured with the nomination of George McGovern and the subsequent transformation of the party.  After fits and starts, from Jimmy Carter through John Kerry,...

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