Books December 2012
The fundamental question
A review of The Victims' Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind by Bruce Bawer.
Camille Paglia famously described Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind as the “first shot in the culture wars.” But Bloom’s masterwork was more likely a dying gasp. Twenty-five years after Closing’s publication, the American university is still hopelessly mired in moral relativism. Indeed, as Bruce Bawer argues at the beginning of The Victims’ Revolution, the faculty and students who supplanted the older order “took on the higher education establishment of their day . . . and won.” Bawer’s book is devoted to chronicling the bitter fruits of their success.
His analysis centers on the transformation of the liberal arts into the study of victimhood. In his account, the humanities are now dedicated to exploring the grievances of their cherished groups—namely, women, blacks, gays, and Latinos. Its practitioners, moreover, view their disciplines as...
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