against "offensive"

Declaring a comment to be offensive means little more than that the speaker is offended by it. And offense is not an emotion that is worthy of all that much respect. Rightly or wrongly, we tend to respect the fact that someone is offended only when we believe that the reaction is justified. So if it is something else that bothers the progressive mind, let's figure out what it is and talk about that.

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the Humanities and the university

As one with a not insignificant axe to grind against the knowledge industry, I am unhealthily preoccupied with the state of the academy, and the Humanities in particular. Pragmatically speaking, this means that I will drop whatever I am doing in order to read any article crossing my path that purports to defend, or to bury, the liberal arts. There are so many of these opinion pieces, saying more-or-less the same things, that I seldom bother to write about them. But I recently encountered one that I believe might be worthy of your attention, gentle reader.

The article is called, "There Is No Case for the Humanities," and it was written by Justin Stover, a classics scholar at the University of Edinburgh. Though I just heard about the piece the other day, it appeared about a year ago in the newish journal American Affairs. (The magazine was initially founded to serve as the intellectual organ of the pro-Trump movement until its founder, Julius Krein, wrote a New York Times column breaking with the president after Charlottesville.) Stover's thesis is plain from the title, but it nonetheless requires a bit of stage-setting.

[more after the jump]

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speaking of podcasts...

Source: https://wildorchids.libsyn.com

Source: https://wildorchids.libsyn.com

I am excited to be featured on a podcast episode that dropped today. My friends Andrew Hartman and Ray Haberski were kind enough to feature me on the sixth episode of the new show Trotsky and the Wild Orchids. Andrew and Ray are both US intellectual historians, and they wanted me to offer whatever perspective I might have gained from switching from that field to public policy. You can listen to the particular episode I am on here.