An Upbeat Conference and Two Snarky Attacks

This past weekend the National Association of Scholars celebrated its 25th anniversary with a conference in New York attended by more than 250 guests. The concluding dinner on Saturday night featured Tom Wolfe as the keynote speaker.                                   

The Chronicle of Higher Education marked the occasion with two articles attacking the NAS.  In a front-page story, the Chronicle dismissed NAS as irrelevant.  Reporter Peter Schmidt wrote that NAS is “a thing of the past,” and that “it lacks influence.” He quoted former AAUP president Cary Nelson saying “the NAS is composed of old men playing a broken record,” and Princeton’s Stanley Katz saying “they haven’t been real players in years.” In his follow-on article , Schmidt mocked our detailed examination of liberal education at Bowdoin College, due for release next month, as the work of NAS grudge-bearing assassins for hire.  The real story of this project is here.

Both articles are full of progressive snark.  NAS opposes racial preferences, therefore we must support “white privilege,” i.e. NAS is racist.  NAS criticizes anything-goes college curricula, therefore we must be lost in “nostalgia” for the good old days.  NAS is skeptical about the apocalyptic view of the environment that is all the rage on campus, therefore we must be “right-wing” zealots.

We are flattered that the Chronicle sees the National Association of Scholars as a force so dangerous and so formidable as to warrant the suspension of journalistic standards in favor of front-page vituperation.   

If you are not yet a member, please join us and support the work of NAS for higher education reform. We are focused on the long term-on the shape of our culture and the future of our civilization.  Repairing higher education is the essential first step towards those larger  aims.

Peter Wood

Peter Wood is president of the National Association of Scholars and author of “1620: A Critical Response to the 1619 Project.”

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