November 1, 2002
BUT WHO WILL REPRESENT THE IVY TOWERS?:Paul Wellstone's memorial and Walter Mondale's coming-out party. (Christopher Caldwell, 11/11/2002, Weekly Standard)
The tendencies Wellstone represented are a real and serious corner of our political landscape. We won't pretend to like this politics: With its obsessive focus on sexuality and race issues, its embrace of the anti-Western side in all conflicts, its combination of class privilege and class envy, its political correctness and its authoritarian speech codes, the leftism espoused almost unanimously on university faculties (and elsewhere) most often strikes us as irresponsible. And yet it can be granted that our professors are under-represented in the political system. For decades now, America has employed far more people in education than in agriculture. This is a country with more gender-studies professors than cowboys, more guidance counselors than stevedores, more admissions officers than sleeping-car porters. So who represents them in our Senate? It's true that there are a few senators in near-total sympathy with their university constituents; Hillary Clinton comes to mind. But Paul Wellstone, a Carleton College political science professor, was the only senator the academic Left could call its own. As such, he was the living symbol of the most important, most elite, most interesting--and possibly most dangerous--wing of our contemporary "progressive" politics.
It is in this context that the nationwide outrage over last week's "memorial service" for Wellstone at Williams Arena in Minneapolis is best understood. Millions of Americans--and 55 percent of Minnesota households--tuned in on television to watch a solemn commemoration and found a rally devoted to a politics that was twisted, pagan, childish, inhumane, and even totalitarian beyond their worst nightmares.
The entire service was a helpful reminder of the truth of the great Eric Hoffer's aphorism: "The intellectuals and the young, booted and spurred, feel themselves born to ride us." Posted by Orrin Judd at November 1, 2002 9:14 PM