Israeli Counter-Intellectuals Take Aim at Academic Freedom

Here is one more thing in which Israel is imitating America: neocon tactics. American neocons think that American universities are overwhelmingly liberal, and so they have created alternatives in the form of think tanks designed to foster conservative thought. This, in itself, is not a bad thing. The Left often tends not only to preach to the converted, but also to argue only with the converted, and when one keeps only agreeable company, arguments tend to atrophy and criticism degenerates into self-righteousness. It has never been good for thought to go unchallenged.

But often such think tanks go so far in putting politics before inquiry that the thought they produce is crude, shrill, and smacks of dishonesty. Mark Lilla called such right-wing thinkers counter-intellectuals. A less-than-flattering term. When you put the cart before the horse, you may discover horses are not as good at pushing carts as they are at pulling them. Thought, too, is better at seeking political conclusions than it is at pushing a preconceived agenda. (Read the full article on the Dissent website…)

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