“Brain Drain” by Mark Crispin Miller:
For reasons too complex for us to hazard here, the anti‑intellectuals are finally on the side of power at its most unforgiving and voracious. And so they give a pass to those professors who are at the service of such power, while jeering anyone–inside or outside the Academy–who thinks to raise a fuss about how wrong it is. For them, this isn’t something to discuss, because discussion is itself suspicious, even dangerous–the sport of jerk‑offs and Prevaricators. Thus there is no point in arguing with them–and yet no wisdom in attempting to ignore them. And such is true not only of the Bush regime’s most unrestrained supporters, but of the Bush regime itself–a fact that now requires a lot of careful thought, and something more.
And yet it’s just such thinking that has all but disappeared since 9/11–as it always disappears in time of war. In bringing down the World Trade Center (a mile from where I sit right now) and ravaging the Pentagon, the terrorists not only murdered thousands, and left tens of thousands more bereft, and devastated lower Manhattan, and sparked the wreckage of the local and the national economy. Through that spectacular atrocity, the killers also managed, at one blow, to knock the brains clean out of countless good Americans. Although those citizens had started out that day with all their wits intact, by dinner‑time they sounded way much like Fred–a terroristic consequence a lot less hideous, surely, than what happened in the air and on the ground, and yet even more destructive in the long run. For while we can and will no doubt rebuild beyond the shattered lives and property, the prospects aren’t as upbeat for our frail democracy, which cannot function if too many people think like Bill O’Reilly and his fans.