Tag Archive

elitism in intellectual history

The Critical, Conflicted, and Elitist Liberalism of Richard Hofstadter—And Why It Matters (Part 1)

Several months ago I spent some time—worthwhile, I believe—arguing with Jim Livingston on my Facebook page. Our topic? The political orientation of Richard Hofstadter. You can check out the debate at the link. There it will be clear that I started the disagreement with a none-too-subtle provocation: “Tentative thesis: When it came to his philosophy of education, Hofstadter was not just a snobby elitist, but also a nefarious, backwards authoritarian—as undemocratic as you can get.” My jab was deliberate. I expected some opposition: no historian can make such a judgment from the present without raising the hackles of colleagues. Presentism Read more