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Roger Kimball

Literary critic, Managing Editor of The New Criterion, author of the best-selling study of academic foibles Tenured Radicals: How Politics has Corrupted our Higher Education (Harper, 1990) and others


We don't go to college to have the prejudices of the sort of dominant culture around us reinforced. We should go to college to learn about things that are different.

Aug. 12, 1990 - from an interview on Booknotes, a program on C-SPAN television
The unthinking animus against Western culture in our colleges and universities is something that is comic in a way, because these are beneficiaries of the Western tradition who, in ... most other traditions, wouldn't be allowed to voice criticism of their dominant culture. ... But it's also deeply and disturbingly ironic because they don't seem to realize that the achievements of our culture are ... fragile and can be disrupted and undermined in ways which they would not like at all if what they advocated really came about.

Aug. 12, 1990 - from an interview on Booknotes, a program on C-SPAN television
The real battle today is not between liberals and conservatives, but between radicals masquerading as liberals and the only people left who still uphold the central ideals of classical liberalism those men and women who are routinely disparaged by the left as conservatives because they dare to challenge the reigning intellectual and moral pieties.

Who has the guarantee of lifetime employment? Why do professors really need that? Is our culture so monolithic and has free speech been limited to such an extent that we have to worry about having tenure to protect free speech? ... That's the reason for tenure, and ... by some insidious process [it] has turned into an institution that has really required conformity -- intellectual conformity. It has not fostered diversity.

Aug. 12, 1990 - from an interview on Booknotes, a program on C-SPAN television
[Radical university professors] ... these champions of freedom and pluralism are only interested in supporting those values insofar as you agree with them about what freedom and pluralism mean. If you show any signs of dissent, then they very quickly retreat to calling you all sorts of names, like a reactionary fascist, conservative, that sort of thing.

Aug. 12, 1990 - from an interview on Booknotes, a program on C-SPAN television
I think that [in] many colleges and universities we have a situation where politics has insinuated itself in the most fundamental way into the teaching of the humanities, and it's a situation that not only college students, but their parents, alumnus, trustees and common citizens must take very seriously if they care about the future of education and our culture.

Aug. 12, 1990 - from an interview on Booknotes, a program on C-SPAN television
... many of our so-called humanists, professors of English or philosophy and so forth today, are anything but humanists. They tell us about the end of man, the end of the human. ... they think they've gotten to the truth when they've uncovered as much untruth as possible. The place of radical skepticism and nihilism about human relations, about the achievements of our culture is business as usual in the academy today, and I think it's something that anyone with an interest in culture and an interest in the future of our civilization has to take very seriously and be alarmed about.

Aug. 12, 1990 - from an interview on Booknotes, a program on C-SPAN television