When Was This Written?

Western civilization is being forced step by step into a state of civil war by the rising assaults of a revolutionary movement known as [redacted].

This movement centers in the universities and spreads outward into every institution of today’s society.  It spreads in two ways: by indoctrination of those who are open to indoctrination, and by terrorization of those who are not.

Many observers are bewildered by the fact that the violence and terror have appeared suddenly in the midst of a scenario – written by liberals – calling for a new society based on gentleness, tolerance and the humanitarian concern of everyone for everyone else’s needs.  The violence, the obscenity, the unabashed totalitarianism have burst like a storm upon the calm of an afternoon tea party.

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The year is… 1970, a full half century ago.  The redacted giveaway is: “the New Left.”  The author is George Walsh, the most intellectually impressive follower of Ayn Rand.  The article, “Herbert Marcuse, Philosopher of the New Left” (published in Rand’s official journal, The Objectivist) is sadly one of his very few publications.  And since it is packed with hyperbolic language uncharacteristic of Walsh’s wonderful lecture series, I have to think that Rand heavily rewrote it.

Even so, it’s a nice chance to reflect that left-wing fanaticism on college campuses, like religious revivals generally, has a strong cyclical component.  The idea that the world grows ever more leftist is wrong, and so is the idea that college students grow ever more leftist.  Hard as it is to believe, the current mania will not last.  As I’ve often said, ADHD shall save us.

That said, I am worried that the current mania will durably enshrine uniformity and exclusion into the fabric of higher education, so the anti-intellectuality and intolerance continue after the enthusiasm dissolves.

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Bryan Caplan

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Bryan Caplan is Professor of Economics at George Mason University and Senior Scholar at the Mercatus Center. He is the author of The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies, named “the best political book of the year” by the New York Times, and Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent Is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think. He has published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the American Economic Review, the Economic Journal, the Journal of Law and Economics, and Intelligence, and has appeared on 20/20, FoxNews, and C-SPAN.

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