The Real Thought Leaders

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

When you cover ersatz intellectuals day in and day out as we do here at Accuracy in Academia, it is refreshing to meet genuine scholars.

About the only opportunity we get to do so is at meetings of the Philadelphia Society, a group of conservative intellectuals formed in 1964 in the wake of the defeat of presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. The ladies and gentlemen who belong to the society gathered in Atlanta in October for a regional meeting.

Among the many insights shared by the august line-up of speakers who addressed the gathering, here are a few highlights:

  • “Whenever I see the word science attached to something, I’ve come to think it means, ‘not’[scientific],” U Penn historian Allan Charles Kors said Kors is co-founder of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.  Think “social science” and “environmental science.”
  • “In 1968, the Berkeley placards read, ‘Question Authority.’ They should have read ‘Abolish consequences,’” David Lyle Jeffrey of Baylor said. Jeffrey, a Distinguished Professor of Literature and the Humanities, also noted that among elites we are “a society whose highest commandment is ‘Thou shalt not criticize thy neighbor.’”  He also noted that “D. H. Lawrence said Christians had high ideals but  low expectations. Marx [Karl]  had low ideals and high expectations.”   As well, he averred, “Divine justice is now treated as an anachronism,” and “competent political power trumps uncertain moral authority.”  Thus, Jeffrey says, “’We are the change we’ve been waiting for,” and “We’re here, we’re queer: Get used to it,” get no answer and win numerous victories.
  • “If you have to have history today, you have to put it on power point,” E. Christian Kopf of the University of Colorado at Boulder asserted. “’Spare us the history,’ is the answer you get. Our founders did not want to be spared the history.”  Kopff is an Associate Professor of Classics. “Americans are impressed with churches from the last century,” he observed. “ The British and Europeans can show you churches from the last millennium.”
  • “There is a natural tension between those who believe in justice as order in the soul and those who believe in social justice,” Ralph Hancock of Brigham Young University argued.  The former believe in the limitations of man, according to Hancock, while the latter believe in the goodness of man or the perfectability of man. Among those who argued for  limits are Whitaker Chambers, Flannery O’Connor and Russell Kirk. Hancock is a political science professor at BYU.


Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.

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