… is from page 337 of Joseph Epstein’s 2011 essay “English As It’s Taught,” as this essay is reprinted in Epstein’s 2014 collection, A Literary Education and Other Essays:
Along with American Studies programs, which are often their subsidiaries, English departments have tended to become intellectual nursing homes where old ideas go to die. If one is still looking for that living relic, the fully subscribed Marxist, one is today less likely to find him in an Economics or History Department than in an English Department, where he will be taken seriously. He finds a home there because English departments are less concerned with the consideration of literature per se than with what novels, poems, plays and essays – after being properly X-rayed, frisked, padded down like so many suspicious-looking air travelers – might yield on the subjects of race, class and gender.
DBx: Intellectuals today, as always, are especially prone to claim to know better than others how the details of complex reality should be arranged. And they are, as ever, happy to offer blueprints for social engineers to follow in order to carryout the necessary rearrangement. Increasingly, though, intellectuals claim also to have keys to unlock the secrets of individuals’ souls and psyches. And when the souls and psyches of ‘non-minority’ heterosexual males are unlocked by intellectuals, always are revealed the same corruptions: bigotry, misogyny, greed, homophobia, transphobia, and abiding hostility to “diversity and inclusion.”
Why, it’s almost as if intellectuals know what they’ll find upon their unlocking of souls and psyches before they actually unlock them! Good thing we have intellectuals on the job to protect society from prejudice.