Like any hear-both-sides liberal, the reactionary Smoot-a harvard PhD in English literature, and lit instructor-turned- fbi agent-argued that an informed citizenry is a more powerful weapon than even "the army" in the defense of cultural values held dearly. But what constitutes being informed, and indeed what constitutes information? Another way of formulating the question gets at the heart of Graff's proposal: how far from one's own side must one go before one can be deemed fairly presenting the other? In a letter of 1952 addressed "Dear Americans Smoot noted, "The facts Forum News will carry a summary of pro and con arguments on current questions from the facts Forum polls." But having read the whole run of *Facts Forum i well understand, as Smoot's. If "pro" meant, for example, firing immediately and without a hearing all public school and public university teachers whose ideas happened to coincide with the communists "con" might mean firing immediately and without a hearing only those who are identified as card-carrying communists while permitting. My point is that in the earlier era of culture-warring, reactionaries and other cultural transcendentalists rarely spoke against the idea of hearing all sides of a debate on contemporary issues; some did, to be sure, but most did not, believing themselves to be advocates,. Yet it didn't take much before the same anticommunists who urged, in their own terms, the equivalent of teaching the conflicts, cried foul against ideological opposites, latter-day anti-anticommunists like graff-those who took the right's rhetoric of free debate seriously and zealously called for the same. Luella mundel, an untenured professor of Art History at fairmont State college, who was *not* a communist (before being red-baited she had been almost wholly apolitical was called a red and then dismissed from her job pretty obviously because she was an outspoken single modern. Mundel's writing attorney, horace meldahl, made the dreadful mistake of saying in a newspaper interview published just before the beginning of Mundel's trial that he hoped she would get a fair hearing, that the idea of free association and speech would be upheld, and that.
It is no accident that sokolsky's speech was so brazenly anti-intellectual The man whose instinct dubai is for learning and for truth needs no university at all and I would suggest that its occasion-the raising. Bonaventure college to the status of a university-was precisely what caused sokolsky to insist that the rhetoric of intellectual exploration of opposites is a sham. Given this history of anti-positionality (and a parallel history of anti-intellectualism Graff's proposals for pedagogical position- taking, while sound in particular aspects, can strike one as not likely to "revitalize american Education" in the sense he means. Graff suggests repeatedly that in the classroom (as elsewhere) an effort to present the pros and cons on any controversial question is itself always some measure of relief from indoctrination. (As an avid though sometimes very doubtful teacher-of-the-conflicts myself, i do feel I provide such relief, but my keenest students remind me that it's possible to be indoctrinated to differ and disagree, having been liberated from accord and agreement.) Again the raising of consensus. One of the most relentlessly reactionary magazines of that time was Dan Smoot's *Facts Forum* of Dallas, funded by the billionaire anticommunist. Smoot's magazine published nothing that did not shore up one and only one side of the communist question (which was the defining question and yet Smoot's general appeal used the rhetoric of teaching the conflicts, superficially much like graff's.
In a speech of 1950, george. Sokolsky, a reactionary columnist, described Marxism as "the principal problem that faces most men today" and asked: "Shall we be for it? Shall we oppose it? Shall we make compromise with it?" sokolsky meant of course that to compromise with it was the same as being for. For decent folks the only position remaining was opposition, and it was actually no position at all but the utter truth, the only place worth standing. In such a sense of "opposition nothing of the interplay and understanding between ideas was actually being urged (in spite of momentary deference to the rhetoric of "ainst. One side had truth (sokolsky's title was "The peace of Truth: The bulwark against Marxism and the other side lured one into evil mediation, negotiation, "compromise." The proof, he suggested, was to be found not just in the arguments of communists but also in "endorsements. So mediation was not a position.
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This seems a waste of time graff implicitly concedes what his book might have made clearer with a glance back to the origins of this dispute: the sides have been drawn by the right as descendents of the first anticommunist intellectuals, the same participants. One of the few weaknesses of anti-anticommunist Robert maynard Hutchins-but this weakness was enough to render him mostly powerless-was that he did not discern this basic strength of anticommunism. Scholars of Hutchins's fascinating career as university president, think-tank impresario, educational reformer, tend to ascribe this to a temperamental naivete, thesis but that's just my worry: the inadequacy of Hutchins's conversation about the Great Conversation, his position on position-taking, was intrinsic to his situation. At the University of Chicago and then at the fund for the republic, hutchins truly thought that by advocating advocacy he was in a position to redraw the lines (and terms) of the debate. For most anticommunists of the fifties, hutchins's ardent promotion of dialogue and "conversation"-the interanimations of a variety of positions, as in Hutchins's Great books program-meant little more or less than communism, or at the very least a submission to communism, which was in effect communism. Volunteer anticommunist operatives sent professional red-baiters reports on Great books discussion groups from across the country.
One women from Tulsa, having infiltrated a group there, described a session on "The declaration of Independence alarmed that the group operated like a communist cell (they picked apart the text line by line, and "Only the leader could ask questions but he himself could. "Through it all she wrote, "the seed of World government was cleverly planted. It was all very confusing-purposely done, of course." What really unnerved anticommunists yearning to see red in Hutchins was his refutation of the idea that teachers know and give answers, and his promotion of lively discussion in which "sharp differences of opinion lends interest. The reactionary columnist Fulton Lewis, preparing an attack on Great books, marked (in red) the following statements in a great books pamphlet advising discussion leaders: "never Answer, never Tell, never Lecture, never Sum Up-never!" and "A good discussion is always on the edge of chaos.". Although the anticommunist rhetoric of opposition required self-conscious positioning against an alien ideology (and thus against ideology itself the anticommunist side held two-thirds of the ground.
He is right that the alternative is ignorance in the name of "the basics." If, as Graff puts it, "such conflict seems vaguely un-American" (p. 5)-a nice and apt recollection of fifties rhetoric-then a pedagogy serving as a reminder, so simple as to seem unnecessary, that democratic traditions include debate about values most dearly held seems warranted. To leave our students out of unresolved discussions of these controversies is to foster an unreality Graff properly decries, an unreality that, especially in literature courses, causes an unfortunate association between great books and wholly resolved problems. One mistake of traditional pedagogy was to conceive of schools as places where disagreements about the curriculum were already resolved before the opening class bell rang, which was the moment when disagreement ended and agreement began. "The history of higher education is a succession of stormy conflicts that have produced the curriculum but are rarely addressed in it" (p. In Graff's meta-pedagogy, teaching these disagreements themselves can disclose for students the not-so-mystical process by which culture is made, sustained, challenged, and recreated.
It is hard to know (Graff supplies only personal middle-class recollection) if Americans overall have been harmed by the traditional mode in which they are presented with the results of their teachers' conflicts rather than given a chance to participate in resolving them (p. 12 anyway, critics of this orientation to process are surely wrong to argue that it entails unproductive disrespect for cultural achievements. Teaching in the way graff recommends does not in itself encourage educational impasse. We do no honor to the literary classics "by protecting them from disrespect" (p. 48) and, similarly, we do no honor to our students by shielding them from our own contentious positions. So graff reasonably and rightly wants his students to see that everyone, even (or especially) their teachers, is of necessity a side- taker. The trouble is-and Graff is mostly aware of it as he describes the problems and possibilities of pedagogical subjectivity- one side usually delineates the sides, leaving the other side to argue its side *as well as* against the delineation of the sides. Thus, again, by virtue of his very argument about positions (against which William. Buckley might well say: "Does he mean there are *sides* to take on Shakespeare's greatness?
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As Bellow's is an exclusivist concept, it is built to defy inclusion. The "politically independent" Bellow who shrewdly summons up the essay anticommunist years when he speaks about the folly of the multiculturalists is the same urban lyricist who is disgusted by Broadway's cultural melange-is the very same pc basher who has challenged the contemporary literary-critical left. Graff is taking an inclusivist position The "politically independent" Bellow who shrewdly summons up the anticommunist years when he speaks about the folly of the multiculturalists is the same urban lyricist who is disgusted by Broadway's cultural melange-is the very same pc basher who has. against* this when he calls for curricular openness-when, for instance, he urges teachers of Joseph Conrad to put *Heart of Darkness* alongside Chinua acebe's *Things Fall Apart even though Graff would like his right-wing readers to be assured that he is standing *between* Bellow and. The inclusivist position meets its limit just where the exclusivist begins. The allusions to fifties- style culture wars here are meant to show how at such moments Graff risks falling into the trap of the cold-war liberal who in the face of McCarthyism called for dialogue but in doing so forgot to supply the substantive counterargument. It was insufficient then, and it is insufficient now, to argue only or primarily against consensus itself. To be sure, *beyond the culture wars* expends its greatest efforts making a lucid, positive case for the value of serious-minded conflict, and this is its important aspect. If American students have been socialized to agree, then a pedagogical structure based on disagreement provides a means by which they can gain a sense of what is at stake in the cultural controversies raging around them.
Fifties-style obliviousness abounds among anti-pc partisans. When John Silber recently celebrated Boston University's success in "resisting relativism" and, in its English department, having "not allowed the structuralists or the deconstructionists to take over while claiming that Western culture invented multiculturalism (thereby, evidently, freeing. From having ever to engage in it he was borrowing heavily from the nationalist, counter- imperialist rhetoric of 1950s anticommunism (despite his claims of libertarianism). Similarly, bellow's remarks for the *New Yorker* on New York's cultural decline in 1994-"walking up and down Broadway is like strolling through some foreign writer's invention of an American slum"-re-express his bitter satire of 1951 against the multiculturalist imagination in "looking for. Green a short story that originally appeared in *Commentary in which an over- qualified deliverer of welfare checks (an unemployed university professor) is duped by statements his liberalism into thinking that a chicago slum isn't as foreign and impenetrable as deepest, darkest Africa. What useful intellectual purpose could possibly be served by an academic's foolish desire to know this outlandish place as an American place? What appalling multiculturalism would then or now insist, despite the utter truth about cultural centrality, that all of us, even those who abhor this professor's craving for culture-crossing, be forced against our wills to certify as legitimate cultural expression what's now along Broadway? My point is that Graff in *beyond the culture wars* does very much want to certify it, and yet because he is so keen to stand reasonably in the middle, beckoning opposite academic sides to instructive colloquy about what constitutes culture, he tends to underemphasize.
inherit from the fifties the anti-anticommunists' assumption that the most powerful anticommunists are liberals become more truly themselves. At issue, primarily, is which group gets to claim as its rightful heritage from the cold-war era the notion that intellectual and social culture benefit from radical dissensus, disagreement, and difference. Yet in the fifties almost every anticommunist at one point or other argued *against* dissensus for the sake of the necessarily greater disagreement with soviet (or "world communism (e.g. Limits on the right of American communists to teach in the universities, for the sake of national security while, even if only for strategic reasons, the anti-anticommunists were the ones incessantly arguing for the right (indeed the usefulness) of radical dissent, including that of communists. Although Gerald Graff, as he wrote *beyond the culture wars: How teaching the conflicts Can revitalize american Education was surely aware of a cold-war context for his contention that, for instance, intellectual extreme opposites "need" each other to make their positions meaningful, it was never. Yet *beyond the culture wars* would benefit from such dependence, and since, moreover, so much has been written about Graff's book since its publication in 1992 in relation to the political correctness, canon revision and multiculturalism controversies, i intend here to concentrate on restoring what. The fifties' relevance to what Graff nicely calls "teaching the conflicts" reveals both the value of Graff's insights about the cultural resistance to intellectual many- sidedness and the limitations of a liberal pedagogical idealism that is trying too hard to avoid the old communist-anticommunist contest. Despite what I take to be implicitly his acuity about the effects of cold-war consensus on the universities, and of red-baiting on intellectual culture at large, his promotion of an argument- counterargument structure to literary education too often neglects the fact that equal-time liberalism has. Graff would say (rightly, i think) that the precondition must itself be taught, but the resulting meta-pedagogical involution, however boldly self- conscious, is not without its own politics.
He is right to imply that while so much has been said and written about political correctness in the eighties and nineties, little has been done to put the debates in the context of anticommunism. Bellow believes anti-anticommunists were largely influenced. Stalinism-here's where, unsurprisingly, he parts with the left-he does concede that what little anti-anticommunist resistance there was in the 1950s arose because some liberals didn't enjoy "being forced to line up" in the rush to consensus. To bellow those who in the late forties and fifties fashioned liberal anticommunism (those who did "line up"-bellow scornfully says many indulged in "opinion- consumerism had earlier been the not-altogether happy participants in the popular Front, new deal Democrats among them. More interesting is Bellow's notion that those who formed anti- anticommunism had been either outright communists earlier, or liberals whose liberalism became "liberal pdf fanaticism" when in the 1950s they refused to participate in McCarthyism. These anti- anticommunists, bellow suggests, are the principal forerunners of advocates of "political correctness" forty years later. Bellow sees in contemporary liberalism a radicalism of people stuck on slogans, labels and rigidified positions dallion- acard-bearing" folks and evidently he deems this group more properly the inheritors of anti-anticommunist Stalinism than of anticommunist liberalism-as if the latter ideology did not have an ideology.
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Essay on "Teaching the resume conflicts" "conflict seems vaguely un-american teaching the conflicts and the legacy of cold war 1, alan filreis, gerald Graff, beyond the culture wars: How teaching the conflicts Can. Revitalize american Education (New York:. This essay was published in, review, volume 17 (1995 155-69. Please" from the paper version. A hard and indelible fact of freedom is that a conformity of sorts is always e freeman's principal concern is that it shall be a conformity that honors the values he esteems rather than those he rejects. McCarthy and His, enemies (1954) 2, saul Bellow was surely right when in may of 1994 he noted for. New Yorker writer that the culture wars of the nineties have their rhetorical and logical origins in the fifties-in the "super-charged battles between anti-communists and anti-anti-communists." I take this cue (though little else, i'm afraid) from.