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Monday, April 19, 2021

New academic sector: activism against liberal professors, both the here and now

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It’s going to be an exciting time for party chairs if you’re in the trade — because there is so much corporate money now flowing into the Democratic Party, you could be a winner pretty much anyplace you stand.

On the other hand, if you’re in the lab, you’re going to want to stay on the top of the heap. You’ll have to teach for a while and get your name out there. Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard should look out. Paul Krugman of the New York Times should look over his shoulder.

The purpose of the Club for Growth Action is to mobilize a right-wing army to lobby members of Congress to vote against Democrats. Politicians who raise the Club’s ire have a tough time, even if they are against the Club’s original bill that could help themselves financially with a reelection in less friendly territory.

That’s why an attack on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is dumb. Of course, you can build a grassroots movement opposing Kavanaugh. But it would be a waste. Nobody signs up to become a liberal while he or she is still a youthful drinker. Americans already know a lot about the nominee, and about his policies on conservative issues.

Many Americans don’t know anything about the beliefs and experiences of any of the Democratic candidates. There is a long Democratic history that voters could fill in on, of course. Maybe progressive businesspeople could get involved in hard-hitting advertising.

Your next-door neighbor has a policy towards soda pop, but you have no idea. A cousin supports deregulation, but she doesn’t know what financial deregulation is. Does that mean you’re biased against the other side? Do I blame you, professor? You’re just passing judgment on someone’s identity. The only real test for you is to get in the way of a contested race for the House or Senate. With down-ballot candidates, you’re out of luck.

Instead, get out and make money, say, by speaking to political meetings, and spinning the news. That’s what Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh do — and they raise all kinds of money. It would be a lot easier to raise money to do what people say they want you to do — help out with your college fund — from famous conservatives. The problem for academics trying to liberalize political discourse is that they won’t have the same social cachet as certain conservatives. You need to get up there and jump right in.

If you are not a public intellectual, however, you may want to pursue another career. This might involve something like anthropology, with your work serving as a sideline for important careers in finance and media, when you’re old enough. And you won’t have to pay college tuition.

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