April 09, 2008

The Real Dilemma

Dan wrote a response on his own blog to this Orlet post at AmSpec’s blog, and he made an interesting observation:

Part of the problem on the theoretical side is that too many of the best young minds in conservatism have followed Buckley?s example by shunning grad school and embracing journalism or the movement instead.

Meanwhile, I have recently been seeing responses to my argument that we should try to go or stay at home that go something like this, “Well, Larison hasn’t gone home, so this is worthless.”  This seems to me to be the real “paleo dilemma” and the dilemma for any traditional conservative in a highly mobile society: conservatives who don’t eschew pursuing professional and academic degrees are said to lack authenticity and credibility when they make arguments to go home, and the temperamental conservatives who don’t pursue such paths find themselves arrayed against institutions dominated entirely by people who valorize constant mobility and who embrace political and cultural values antithetical to everything the conservatives treasure.  Those who don’t shun grad school, even if they go and stay at home almost immediately after finishing, have little impact on “the theoretical side” because there seems to be an assumption that anyone who has spent that much time in academia cannot identify with or have anything to do with Middle Americans.

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