In a new post at See Thru Edu, Robert Paquette examines college campuses, the issue of intolerance, elites and the new right.

How Our Universities Breed Intolerance

More than thirty years ago, a sociologist named Donald Warren focused attention on a disaffected segment of American society whose loudest voices he labeled Middle American Radicals (MARs), radical in the sense of trying to get at the root of a problem. A variety of political pundits rediscovered them in the 1990s in slightly altered form and repackaged them as the “New Right.” In their current incarnation, the Tea Party, they have elicited a torrent of denunciation on elite college campuses and have spurred restless nights for the barons of both the Republican and Democratic parties.

MARs have an independent, populist, and anti-elitist bent. No matter who is manning the presidential helm, they have concluded, the country they love remains tossing and turning in waters ever more dangerous to them and to their traditional values, which they once thought were mainstream. They see themselves being squeezed in a vise in which the turning device, attached to the upper clamp, manufactures the energy for the lower clamp to screw from below. In their search for a moral social order, they feel increasingly betrayed by many of the country’s most important institutions: government, churches, unions, and schools.

In the 1970s, MARs complained that political elites were seriously neglecting them and their issues; in the 1990s, they registered that not only political elites, but academic elites actively loathed them; in the current state of the state, MARs recognize that a forced march to a Brave New World is underway, where supplemental nutrition assistance, they are told, awaits for the purchase of milk and honey. Before they get there, however, they must first signal their delight with what is ahead to those booting and spurring them onward by twisting their head behind and spitting on the graves of their ancestors.