EDITORnThomas FlemingnMANAGING EDITORnKatherine DaltonnSENIOR EDITOR, BOOKSnChilton Williamson, Jr.nASSISTANT EDITORnTheodore PappasnART DIRECTORnAnna Mycek-WodeckinCONTRIBUTING EDITORSn]ohn W. Aldridge, Harold O.].nBrown, Samuel Francis, GeorgenGarrett, Russell Kirk, E. ChristiannKopff, Clyde WilsonnCORRESPONDING EDITORSnJanet Scott Barlow, Odie Faulk,nJane Greer, John Shelton ReednEDITORIAL SECRETARYnLeann DobhsnPUBLISHERnAllan C. CarlsonnASSOCIATE PUBLISHERnMichael WardernPUBLICATION DIRECTORnGuy C. ReffettnCOMPOSITION MANAGERnAnita FedoranCIRCULATION MANAGERnRochelle FranknA publication of The Rockford Institute.nEditorial and Advertising Offices: 934 NorthnMain Street, Rockford, IL 61103.nEditorial Phone: (815) 964-5054.nAdvertising Phone: (815) 964-5811.nSubscription Department: P.O. Box 800, MountnMorris, IL 61054. Call 1-800-435-0715.nFor information on advertising in Chronicles,nplease call Cathy Corson at (815) 964-5811.nU.S.A. Newsstand Distribution by Eastern NewsnDistributors, Inc., 1130 Cleveland Road,nSandusky, OH 44870.nCopyright © 1991 by The Rockford Institute.nAll rights reserved.nChronicles (ISSN 0887-5731) is publishednmonthly for $24 per year by The RockfordnInstitute, 934 North Main Street, Rockford, ILn61103-7061. Second-class postage paid atnRockford, IL and additional mailing ofRces.nPOSTMASTER: Send address changes tonChronicles, P.O. Box 800, Mount Morris, ILn61054.nThe views expressed in Chronicles are thenauthors’ alone and do not necessarily reflect thenviews of The Rockford Institute or of itsndirectors. Unsolicited manuscripts cannot benreturned unless accompanied by a self-addressednstamped envelope.nChroniclesnk MAGitZINE OF AMERICAN CULTUREn4/CHRONICLESnVol. 15, No. 8 August 1991nPOLEMICS & EXCHANGESnOn Tolitical Correctness’nWhile I recognize that Paul Gottfriednand I cleariy have philosophical differencesnon the nature and goals of education,nI feel compelled to address onenpoint in his review of my book in yournMay issue. Professor Gottfried correctlynnotes that I hold up the figure of MarknVan Doren of Golumbia University as anpersonification of the humanistic scholarshipnand inspired teaching that is nownfound so rarely in the American academy.nGottfried animadverts that I fail tonnote that Van Doren “was a notoriousnapologist for Stalin.”nSince the rise of “political correctness”nto the forefront of the public’snconsciousness I have often noted thatntwo groups tend to misunderstand eithernits nature or what is at stake in thenstruggle against its hegemony in thenuniversity: liberals and conservatives.nThe tragedy of higher education,nwhich I discuss at length in The HollownMen and which Gottfried chooses notnto mention, is less the ideology of thenfaculty than the loss of a tradition ofnacademic ethics and integrity; the substitutionnof propaganda for the Socraticnmethod, and dogma for the search forntruth. Gonsider this description ofnMark Van Doren in the 1930’s by nonless a critic than Thomas Merton, whonfirst took a class in English from VannDoren in 1935: “It was a class innEnglish literature, and it had no specialnbias of any kind. It was simply aboutnwhat it was supposed to be about: thenEnglish literature of the eighteenthncentury … It was because of this virtualnscholasticism of Mark’s that henwould never permit himself to fall intonthe naive errors of those who try tonread some favorite private doctrine intonevery poet they like of every nation andnage.”nIf anything at all comes throughnMerton’s account it is that “politicalncorrectness” is not new in the Americannuniversity—and that Mark VannDoren was its living antithesis. Evennthen. Van Doren was a rarity. Today henwould be unlikely to win tenure in anynmajor department of English.nnnIt is true that Van Doren occasionallynindulged in ludicrous politics, includingnwhat Jeffrey Hart (a studentnand admirer of Van Doren) calls hisn”popular front phase.” It was a phasenthat eventually passed and one thatnVan Doren later regretted. But thenmost important point to be made is thatnwhatever Van Doren’s politics maynhave been, they never entered thenclassroom, nor did they affect the qualitynof the intellectual atmosphere hencreated through his teaching.nThe enemies of the university arenthose who subordinate their academicnmission to ideology and prostitute theirnintegrity to advancing a dogmatic politicalnline. Although we can take issuenwith some of his political utterings.nVan Doren never did this. Gottfried’snsmearing dismissal of Van Doren asnideologically unsound ignores this, andnin doing so creates a standard thatnsounds depressingly like a political correctnessnof the right.nGottfried does, however, make onenthing quite clear. Although our campusesnare imperiled by a New McCarthyismnof the left, the old McGarthyismnis alive and well, at least in thenimagination of Paul Gottfried.n— Charles J. SykesnMilwaukee, WInMr. Gottfried Replies:nWere it not for Gharles Sykes’ extendedntribute to the greatness of Mark VannDoren, as illustrated by the willingnessnto have students read critics of liberalncapitalism, I would never have notednVan Doren’s infatuation with Stalin. Innfact this quirk matters less for me than itnshould for Mr. Sykes, who speaks in hisnbook repeatedly of instilling “democraticnvalues.” Not being of the samencrusading mind-set, I favor educationalndiversity based on truly private institutionsnof higher learning. There MarknVan Doren, Allan Bloom, and MichaelnLevin might all find their places.nIn my comments on Sykes’ book, Inunderlined the magnitude of our educationalnproblems by pointing to thosen