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Why conservatives hate college

If you want to understand the origins of the 21st century campaign against the liberal professoriate, you have to understand why conservatives like William Buckley were engaged in a similar campaign in their day. Some of the anger that National Review authors directed at left-leaning academics reflected the same impulses and strategic calculations that sustained McCarthyism: the sense that the nation was under threat during the Cold War; the view that the ranks of the American left were filled with communists or former communists who were either outright traitors or simply not to be trusted, especially with the impressionable minds of youth; and the awareness that even if there was a meaningful difference between communists and liberals, the distinction could be blurred to good political effect. Buckley, after all, was one of McCarthy’s most vigorous defenders, coauthoring in 1954 (with Brent Bozell, his brother-in-law) "McCarthy and His Enemies," which a reviewer for the New York Times appropriately described as “the most extraordinary book yet to come forth in the harsh bibliography ... of ‘McCarthyism,’” given its point-by-point defense of some of McCarthy’s most outlandish claims. However, most of the criticisms of academia that appeared in National Review did not allege subversion by professors per se, and this was particularly the case from the 1960s onward. What lay behind the alternative lines of critique that Buckley and his collaborators pursued?

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