The Challenge to Tenure  

In his essay “Tenure Trouble” (Dissent, Winter 1998), Jon Wiener presents much too narrow a view of the rising opposition to academic tenure, its rationale, and causes. Following Wiener’s precedent, let me disclose that I was a tenured faculty member …





Commentary After Half a Century  

The year 1995 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the dropping of the atom bomb on Japan, and the creation of the United Nations. The founding of Commentary in the same year hardly ranked with …



Conscience and Culture  

James Wilson contends that there is a universally human moral sense that makes possible the existence of stable human ‘societies. He divides his moral sense into four parts: sympathy, fairness, self-control, and duty.Wilson thinks that many prevailing doctrines in and …



Remembering Rose  

In September 1945 Rose Coser and I were new graduate students in the Department of Sociology at Columbia. She was from the beginning a vivid and forceful presence who used to sit in the front of Robert K. Merton’s classes …



PR on PC  

The Fall 1993 issue of Partisan Review was entirely filled by a symposium on “The Politics of Political Correctness” to which twenty-seven people, most of them professors, contributed. Unlike several famous earlier PR symposia, this one can hardly be said …



Remembering Irving Howe  

I first met Irving in Princeton in 1949 when we were both still in our twenties. We met through the group or network that nearly twenty years later he christened the “New York Intellectuals.” He was already moving to the …



Progress as Delusion?  

Christopher Lasch’s earliest books were about radical intellectuals in late nineteenth- and twentieth-century America and the movements of the left they supported. Lasch was critical of these movements and their intellectual allies for failing to maintain a consistent and realistic …





The Purge and the Professors  

Philosophers of social science have identified description, explanation, and evaluation as three distinct ways of assessing any historical phenomenon. If this triad is applied to Ellen Schrecker’s study of McCarthyism and American higher education, she earns high if not quite …



The End of Ideology?  

Reagan’s reelection by a landslide fully conformed to the well-established precedent that incumbent presidents win new terms when relative peace abroad and prosperity at home prevail. Of 13 incumbents before him who ran for election in this century, only four …



The Fine Art of “Draperizing”  

Theodore Draper contends that his title, though apparently an oxymoron, is meant to indicate the intermediate status of his essays between journalism, which deals with immediate events, and traditional history, which waits to assess them until they have indisputably acquired …