Editor’s Page

Telos Editor Russell Berman argues that the modern university is currently threatened by a set of transformations and pressures inimical to liberal intellectual culture. While this slide into repression has multiple causes, prominent among them is one legacy of the Sixties. ‘Sixties radicalism – or at least part of it – was always already reactionary,’ says Berman. ‘The revolution was repressive from its start, congenitally flawed with a programmatic illiberalism and anti-intellectualism.’ His analysis takes him ‘From ‘Left-Fascism’ to Campus anti-Semitism,’ i.e. from the 1967 storm about ‘left-wing Fascism’ between Jürgen Habermas and SDS leader Rudi Dutschke to the 2002-3 controversy over campus anti-Semitism between Harvard president Lawrence Summers and the social theorist Judith Butler. Berman traces the baleful impact of an ‘ongoing revolt against theory, the excitement of perfunctory performance and the seductions of thoughtlessness.’

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