tachment to civil rights, his desire tonend, as he put it, “this God-damnndiscrimination against Negroes” —nwhere are the signs and symptoms of itnprior to November 22, 1963? How tonaccount for Johnson’s anti-civil rightsnrecord in Texas politics, as detailed bynRobert Caro? Where, in his senatorialncareer, are the hints that between thosenoutsized ears lay the mind and consciencenof a sensitive reformer?nCalifano takes at face value Johnson’snassertions of commitment — an unsafenthing, I’d think, in dealing with a politiciannthe author himself describes as anmaster manipulator,nCalifano tells us, mostly in passing,nthat Johnson craved affection, that henwas genuinely grieved not to receivencredit from the Kennedys and theirnadmirers for carrying out, and thennsome, John Kennedy’s goals (includingnresistance to communism in Vietnam).nSo late as 1966, Califano writes, Johnsonn”still ached over the lack of appreciationnfrom the people for his achievementsnand longed to find a way to gainntheir recognition.”nUnable to discern a philosophicalnthread in Lyndon Johnson’s checkerednpolitical career, one gets to wondering:nwas the Great Society a buck-naked bidnfor adulation and a place in the historynbooks? Or a shimmering vision, thenproduct of mature reflection? Or a bitnof both? And, if both, in what curiousnmixture?nOne has a hunch that Caro will benmore interested in such questions thannis Califano, whose service to the GreatnSociety was the defining event of hisnlife—but who, to be fair, has written angood and useful memoir. Just how donyou capture a man like LBJ in one booknanyway? We will never be done withnhim — or he with us.nWilliam B. Murchison is a columnistnfor the Dallas Morning News.nFor Immediate ServicenCHRONICLESnNEW SUBSCRIBERSnTOLL FREE NUMBERn38/CHRONICLESn1-800-877-5459nCulturalnCommoditiesnby Gregory McNameenAcademic Capitalism andnLiterary Valuenby Harold FrommnAthens: The University of GeorgianPress; 281 pp., $35.00nThe “free and open exchange ofnideas” lies at the very heart of whatnwas once called, in more innocentntimes, liberal education. These days, thenAmerican university is the last place tonlook for that unhindered flow ofnthought. Instead, as books like JohnnEllis’s Against Deconstruction, DineshnD’Souza’s overstated Illiberal Education,nRoger Kimball’s Tenured Radicals,nand Richard Jacoby’s leftist critiquenThe Last Intellectuals havenpointed out, our academics have convertednfree inquiry into a quite cosdyncommodity, measured by the coinagenof political correctness and unavailablento the heterodox.nTo these justly inflammatory booksnone must now add Harold Fromm’snAcademic Capitalism and LiterarynValue, a harrowing look at the orthodoxnmachine that now defines whatntakes place within humanities classesnacross the land. By his style, one wouldnguess Professor Fromm to be a wellintenhoned,nbespectacled, somewhatnmusty political liberal of the kind oncenfamiliar to every college student. He isnalso fearlessly honest, unlike so manynof his peers, and in these pages he firesnon a wide field of deserving targets,nranging from so-called feminists tonso-called Marxists to so-called deconstructionists,nthe last practiHoners of antextual-critical doctrine I have elsewherencalled “a nontheory compoundednof topsy-turvy illogic, linguistic legerdemain,nreductivist incantation,nnihilistic obfuscation, blind francocentrism,nand totalitarian impulse.”nThese ever-fashionable men andnwomen, writes Fromm, “operate innaccordance with their own aggressive,nsometimes covert, agendas.” The governingnplank of the program, he rightiynsuggests — for which he will makencounfless enemies throughout the academicnestablishment — is the ancientnprinciple of riest-feathering. For whatnnnthe Marxists (Western universities, ancurrent joke now has it, are the onlynplaces you’ll find Marxists who’ll livenup to the name) and feminists andndeconstructionists and minority-studiesnadvocates want is not a rainbow-coalitionnliterary canon, the dismanfling ofnthe dead-white-male tradition, or thenequation of ancient Benin with PericleannAthens. No, what they want isntenure, advancement, such fame as it isnpossible for professors to acquire, and,nabove all, six-figure salaries.nSad to say, they’re getting all thesenperquisites by biting ever so fiercely thenhands that feed them; the august pagesnof the New York Review of Books andnPMLA, flagship journals of the revolution-in-progress,nresound with theirnhowls. Fromm, for one, is sickened atnthe sight. “I do not see anything wrongnwith enjoying computers or jet planesnor advancing in the academy,” henwrites, “but I do see much to lament innthe use of stylized moral jeremiads asncoin to obtain yet a bigger share of thenvery spoils that are being denounced.”nHe then proceeds to puncture a rangenof current pieties, illustrating along thenway how those academics who havenmade the loudest noises against thenstudy of, say, Shakespeare or Dantenhave been quickly co-opted by theirnhome institutions, offered deanshipsnand department chairs in the wannhope, one supposes, that they’ll therebynretreat from the op-ed page and getnback to the lectern.nIn neat terminology, the favoritenparior game of academia, Fromm furthernsuggests that because “selfinterest,nsuccess, and profit” are theirnfinal and overarching goals, ourntenured radicals must be considerednpractitioners of academic capitalism,nwhence part of the title of his book. Hisnbook — a series of essays that hangsntogether to the bitter end — is jammednwith cases in point, and he namesnnames: Stanley Fish, Henry LouisnGates, Elaine Showalter, and othernnewly wealthy superstars of the BignTen come under his increasingly witheringngaze.nFromm is angry. And well he shouldnbe, for the humanistic vision of thenuniversity, one that the good professornhas devoted himself to, is more andnmore under the spell of intellectualindustrialnproduction, a regime innwhich “literary study becomes just an-n