Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

To contact me about organizing, email me at rpwolff750@gmail.com




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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

PERETZ PART TWO [BUT NOT REALLY PERETZ]

Yesterday, I had my say about the Peretz mess at Harvard. Today, I would like to try, in an introspective fashion, to clarify to myself [and the entire blogosphere, of course] the rather complicated feelings aroused by my brief return to Harvard. To signal in advance my conclusion, I came to realize once again that my decision to leave the Ivy League thirty-nine years ago was wise.

Initially, the return was a good deal of an ego trip. People treated me as though I were somebody, despite the fact that I was surrounded by a number of real somebodies. E. J. Dionne said twice what an honor it was to meet me. Amy Gutman, in her big lecture, mentioned me as someone whose writings had inspired her. Outside Robbins Philosophy Library in Emerson Hall, a graduate student came up to me rather excited and said, "Aren't you Robert Paul Wolff?" When I allowed as how I was, he blurted out, "Oh, I know a great deal about you!" [referring to my Memoir.]

All of that was simply wonderful, for about half a day. Then, it began to feel burdensome. Why?, I wondered. Slowly, it began to dawn on me. Harvard is a collection of people who are Somebodies. Many of them have acquired that status legitimately, a few perhaps not. But everyone is expected to cooperate in and acknowledge everyone else's somebody-status. It is all quite casual and understated, but very definitely present in the social climate. Now, I have no hesitation at all in expressing my admiration for many of the genuine scholars there, as I do anywhere. But the feeling tone is, if I may put it this way, political, not intellectual. It is rather like the elaborate and utterly false courtesy that members of the United States Senate show to one another. "My good friend, the distinguished Senator from North Dakota." That sort of thing.

There is a reason for this faux-courtesy in politics. When Harry Reid speaks to Jeff Sessions, regardless of what each may think of the other, that is all of the people of Nevada speaking to all of the people of South Carolina, through their representatives, and it is to all of those people, not to the person who happens to represent them, that the courtesy is being shown. But nothing at all like that is true in Academia. Each of us is there on his or her own merits and footing, representing no one.

The effect is to make the interactions at Harvard elaborate, exaggeratedly courteous, but meretricious. I was flattered by E. J. Dionne's deferential greeting, but the simple fact is that in his panel presentation, after praising me, he went on to praise Peretz. Well, I don't really want to be mentioned in the same breath with that wretched man, and I don't want to have to smile while it is being done.

After a while, I found myself comparing the feeling tone of the occasion with that at the University of Massachusetts, where I spent thirty-seven years. Now, many of the people at UMass are quite as smart and intellectually accomplished as those at Harvard. I will put Sam Bowles and Herb Gintis up against anyone in the Harvard Economics Department, and I had three or four colleagues in Afro-American Studies who were clearly more than a match for Skip Gates or Tony Appiah or even the irrepressible Cornell West. But at Harvard [and elsewhere in the Ivy League] there is all that money, and all those titles [everyone sits in a name chair], and all that attention and reverence in the media. By the end of the day, it was an enormous relief to talk honestly to the Harvard Crimson reporter and say what I really thought about what was going on.

The next morning, when Susie and I were having an early breakfast at the Au Bon Pain in Harvard Square, I began to sort through my thoughts about the Social Studies program, which was, after all, the real focus of the event [Peretz being simply an unwelcome distraction.] Once again, I was able to gain some perspective by comparing it with UMass. As readers of my Memoir know, when I arrived at UMass from Columbia in 1971, I started an undergraduate interdisciplinary program called Social Thought and Political Economy [STPEC], which I conceived quite consciously as a left-wing version of Social Studies. Now, by every possible objective measure, Social Studies stands head and shoulders above STPEC [which also continues to exist to this day, now almost forty years later]. The students are academically stronger, the instructors are, on average, academically more accomplished, the demands made on the students are academically much greater, and the senior honors theses written by the Social Studies students are in a different league from those written by the STPEC students [Amy Gutman spent much of her speech reminiscing about her 197 page honors thesis, which she thought of at the time, she said with amusement, as her life's work].

And yet: I honestly think STPEC is a better program. What can I possibly mean by that? Well, to put it as simply as I can, if by some miracle anyone were to offer STPEC $650,000 to honor someone of the ilk of Marty Peretz, I can say with absolute confidence that it would be turned down. And if the UMass Development Office tried to cram the money down STPEC's throat [as it might, since at UMass, unlike Harvard, offers of $650,000 are as rare as hen's teeth], the Director and staff of STPEC would be at the head of the group of students marching on the Administration Building to protest. At Harvard, the protestors were outside and the Directors of Social Studies were inside. At UMass, they would have been outside with the students [as I thought I should be too, to be honest.]

That is very heartwarming, to be sure, but what does it have to do with the academic quality of the program? Here is my answer, one that it has taken me a lifetime to learn. Programs like Social Studies and STPEC have it as their mission to teach students how to understand the socio-economic realities that lie beneath the often beguiling and glittering surface appearances the social world presents to us. What is more, the people who run Social Studies and STPEC [as well as the only person who was in at the founding of both of them -- namely me] hope that students will fight in their lives for justice and equality, using what they have learned to make them more effective. But we learn how to act courageously and effectively not only by mastering texts and grasping concepts -- accomplishments that are essential, I believe -- but also by coming to see how these intellectual skills are inseparably linked to traits of character -- courage, honesty, integrity.

Perhaps I could learn multivariate calculus from Marty Peretz, however unpleasant an experience that might be. But I could not learn social theory from Marty Peretz, because who he is would interfere fatally with what he was supposedly teaching me. And what is more, I could not learn social theory from someone who would make excuses for Marty Peretz as "a wonderful teacher." So, whatever generations of Social Studies students may think, and however famous Michael Walzer may be, they were not learning how to be fighters for social justice from him. Nor could I learn to be a fighter for social justice from a program that, when the money was dangled, was willing to honor the likes of Peretz.

I am not what Gramsci called an organic intellectual. My old friend Enver Motala in South Africa is an organic intellectual. He has spent his life in worker education programs in townships and unions. I am an academic through and through. But after my first thirteen years teaching at Harvard and Chicago and Columbia, I finally came to realize that I am not an Ivy League academic. I feel more comfortable in the grubby surroundings of UMass than in the elegant architectural gems at Harvard. To get into Widener Library at Harvard, I need special permission, obtainable on a temporary basis because I am a Harvard alumnus. But I can get into Davis Library here at UNC, Chapel Hill, simply because I am a resident of North Carolina. That feels right to me,.

All of which brings me to the conclusion I announced at the beginning of this blog post. Returning to Harvard after fifty years reminded me that I made the right decision when I walked away from a senior professorship at Columbia to spend the rest of my career at a land grant school.

33 comments:

Anonymous Philosophy ABD said...

""Oh, I know a great deal about you!" [referring to my Memoir.]"

Ha! Well, I do too.

It took me some time to begin commenting here because I first had to get an anonymous Gmail account, but I have been a fan of your blog since Brian Leiter first linked to your memoirs. I think I learned more from reading them about the sociology of our profession in the late 20th century than from any other single source. There is some very valuable material in them, and I hope they will be published in print some day. I know you've tried and failed to find a publisher so far, but I can't for the life of me imagine how Quine's dreary travelogue of a memoir could get published if yours can't. It's not like Quine was famous or infamous either, except within our small profession.

I suppose many people who have been supervised by old-timers (I was not) have heard stories of what it was like to be a philosopher in the 1950s and 60s, so we have some institutional memory in the form of oral tradition, but that becomes unreliable after one generation.

More philosophers need to write memoirs. Blogging them is a good start, but, like you, I like books printed on paper. Also, there are so many blogs that blogged memoirs may never be discovered by their intended audiences. I would never have heard of yours if it hadn't been linked by the most-trafficked philosophy blog on the web, which is Leiter Reports.

Anonymous Philosophy ABD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill said...

I came to this controversy completely predisposed to cheer you on. I detest Peretz and what he stands for. He is an unregenerate racist who has poisoned the American dialogue. Those who defend him ought to be ashamed – especially those who indiscriminately tar his critics as anti-Semites. Harvard should not have taken the filthy money linked to his name. I appreciated that you had the courage to stand up and say so, when others wouldn’t.

I believed and continue to believe all that.

Then, I read your comments in The Crimson: “there are a lot of Jews here, and that’s not an issue that they’re ready to confront openly.” I will bet you there were plenty of Jews out there protesting Mr. Peretz, many of them far from Likudniks. But you, a scholar, have no problem making this generalization. I thought perhaps you were misquoted; then I read your blog entry here, and you note that the reporter emailed to check your quotes. Hence, I have to assume you were quoted accurately.

You further said that “I knew Marty Peretz 50 years ago, and he was an egregious little wannabe fifty years ago. And fifty years has not improved him one bit.” How this is relevant to the moral or intellectual issue in question is beyond me; if anything, it trivializes the debate and compromises what I had thought to be a position of principle.

I hadn’t been familiar with you or your work; I see you have personal history with Peretz going back to your New Left Club of Cambridge days. I suspect, for many others, your words will evoke what they evoked for me: the old Harvard that understood Jews as grasping and graceless.

Is my reaction fair? The second quote might not have rung so discordantly were it not for the first, and Peretz obviously brings out the worst in people. I don’t know you: don’t know your personal background, the battle scars you carry, don’t know your heart. I know little about you beyond your curriculum vitae, your self-described political identifications, and these blog entries. From this blog entry, I see you don’t view yourself as “of” Harvard, either old or new. Perhaps you’ve lived your whole life putting the lie to the impression I came away with. I simply don’t know.

This I do know: when you correctly excoriate Peretz’s words, you ought also to hear your own.

Bill said...

I came to this controversy completely predisposed to cheer you on. I detest Peretz and what he stands for. He is an unregenerate racist who has poisoned the American dialogue. Those who defend him ought to be ashamed – especially those who indiscriminately tar his critics as anti-Semites. Harvard should not have taken the filthy money linked to his name. I appreciated that you had the courage to stand up and say so, when others wouldn’t.

I believed and continue to believe all that.

Then, I read your comments in The Crimson: “there are a lot of Jews here, and that’s not an issue that they’re ready to confront openly.” I will bet you there were plenty of Jews out there protesting Mr. Peretz, many of them far from Likudniks. But you, a scholar, have no problem making this generalization. I thought perhaps you were misquoted; then I read your blog entry here, and you note that the reporter emailed to check your quotes. Hence, I have to assume you were quoted accurately.

You further said that “I knew Marty Peretz 50 years ago, and he was an egregious little wannabe fifty years ago. And fifty years has not improved him one bit.” How this is relevant to the moral or intellectual issue in question is beyond me; if anything, it trivializes the debate and compromises what I had thought to be a position of principle.

I hadn’t been familiar with you or your work; I see you have personal history with Peretz going back to your New Left Club of Cambridge days. I suspect, for many others, your words will evoke what they evoked for me: the old Harvard that understood Jews as grasping and graceless.

Is my reaction fair? The second quote might not have rung so discordantly were it not for the first, and Peretz obviously brings out the worst in people. I don’t know you: don’t know your personal background, the battle scars you carry, don’t know your heart. I know little about you beyond your curriculum vitae, your self-described political identifications, and these blog entries. From this blog entry, I see you don’t view yourself as “of” Harvard, either old or new. Perhaps you’ve lived your whole life putting the lie to the impression I came away with. I simply don’t know.

This I do know: when you correctly excoriate Peretz’s words, you ought also to hear your own.

Bill said...

I came to this controversy completely predisposed to cheer you on. I detest Peretz and what he stands for. He is an unregenerate racist who has poisoned American dialogue. Those who defend him ought to be ashamed. Harvard should not have taken the filthy money linked to his name. I appreciated that you had the courage to stand up and say so, when others wouldn’t.

I believed and continue to believe all that.

Then, I read your comments in The Crimson: “there are a lot of Jews here, and that’s not an issue that they’re ready to confront openly.” I will bet you there were plenty of Jews out there protesting Mr. Peretz, many of them far from Likudniks. But you, a scholar, have no problem making this generalization. I thought perhaps you were misquoted; then I read your blog entry here, and you note that the reporter emailed to check your quotes. Hence, I have to assume you were quoted accurately.

You further said that “I knew Marty Peretz 50 years ago, and he was an egregious little wannabe fifty years ago. And fifty years has not improved him one bit.” How this is relevant to the moral or intellectual issue in question is beyond me; if anything, it trivializes the debate and compromises what I had thought to be a position of principle.

I hadn’t been familiar with you or your work; I see you have personal history with Peretz going back to your New Left Club of Cambridge days. I suspect, for many others, your words will evoke what they evoked for me: the old Harvard that understood Jews as grasping and graceless.

Is my reaction fair? The second quote might not have rung so discordantly were it not for the first, and Peretz obviously brings out the worst in people. I don’t know you: don’t know your personal background, the battle scars you carry, don’t know your heart. I know little about you beyond your curriculum vitae, your self-described political identifications, and these blog entries. From this blog, I see you don’t view yourself as “of” Harvard, either old or new. Perhaps you’ve lived your whole life putting the lie to my impression. I simply don’t know.

This I do know: when you correctly excoriate Peretz’s words, you ought also to hear your own.

Bill said...

I came to this controversy completely predisposed to cheer you on. I detest Peretz and what he stands for. He is an unregenerate racist who has poisoned American dialogue. Those who defend him ought to be ashamed. Harvard should not have taken the filthy money linked to his name. I appreciated that you had the courage to stand up and say so, when others wouldn’t.

I believed and continue to believe all that.

Then, I read your comments in The Crimson: “there are a lot of Jews here, and that’s not an issue that they’re ready to confront openly.” I will bet you there were plenty of Jews out there protesting Mr. Peretz, many of them far from Likudniks. But you, a scholar, have no problem making this generalization. I thought perhaps you were misquoted; then I read your blog entry here, and you note that the reporter emailed to check your quotes. Hence, I have to assume you were quoted accurately.

[continued]

Bill said...

[continued from preceding comment]:

...You further said that “I knew Marty Peretz 50 years ago, and he was an egregious little wannabe fifty years ago. And fifty years has not improved him one bit.” How this is relevant to the moral or intellectual issue in question is beyond me; if anything, it trivializes the debate and compromises what I had thought to be a position of principle.

I hadn’t been familiar with you or your work; I see you have personal history with Peretz going back to your New Left Club of Cambridge days. I suspect, for many others, your words will evoke what they evoked for me: the old Harvard that understood Jews as grasping and graceless.

Is my reaction fair? The second quote might not have rung so discordantly were it not for the first, and Peretz obviously brings out the worst in people. I don’t know you: don’t know your personal background, the battle scars you carry, don’t know your heart. I know little about you beyond your curriculum vitae, your self-described political identifications, and these blog entries. From this blog, I see you don’t view yourself as “of” Harvard, either old or new. Perhaps you’ve lived your whole life putting the lie to my impression. I simply don’t know.

This I do know: when you correctly excoriate Peretz’s words, you ought also to hear your own.

Bill said...

I apologize for the multiple postings; the blog system reported rejecting each of them as too large.

Michael said...

Bravo professor. I agree wholeheartedly; although I do have to ask whether your problem with Ivy League exclusion is that it is conservative or, well, unduly exclusionary--John Quiggin wrote an interesting blog post at crooked timber about this a little while ago that I think is worth a look ( http://crookedtimber.org/2010/09/20/the-eye-of-the-needle/ ). Perhaps you could clarify?

Anonymous Philosophy ABD said...

Bill, Professor Wolff is Jewish.

And he's right. Let's not pretend that Peretz's racist outbursts are just a random little hiccup in American political discourse. The fact is that in the United States it is acceptable to say things about Muslims that one could never say about Jews, blacks, or any other minority group. How do you think Peretz was able to function as the publisher of a mainstream journal (TNR) for so many decades? Jews are a uniquely privileged group in the US, that's no secret. Nor is it any secret that the US is uniquely supportive of Israel, routinely vetoing UNSC resolutions critical of it, etc. (I say "etc." because I assume we all know the various forms of support Israel receives, including support for building illegal settlements, which the US officially denounces). Also not a secret that the American Jewish community is by and large supportive of this policy. Do you think it is appropriate to ignore all of this when discussing Peretz's behavior? I think this is essential background.

Anonymous Philosophy ABD said...

And now you know why I choose to be anonymous!

As an academic job-seeker, you can never be too careful about what you say on the web. Search committees will google job candidates.

David said...

@Anonymous Philosophy ABD: You said "Also not a secret that the American Jewish community is by and large supportive of [Israel's settlement] policy." I totally disagree. I think you are confusing right-wing groups like the American Jewish Committee and the ADL with the people they claim to represent. In fact, those groups only represent their own donors, and that's a small and unrepresentative group of people. I think Bill was correct to note that there were likely a lot of Jewish students out there protesting Peretz's award, and based on what I've seen, they would be much more the rule than the exception among Jewish Americans.

Anonymous Philosophy ABD said...

David, sorry, my comment was maybe not as clear as it should have been. I didn't mean to say that most American Jews are supportive of "supportive of [Israel's settlement] policy" (that's your insertion). I mean to say that they are by and large -- in fact overwhelmingly is my guess, though I don't have any polls in front of me -- supportive of the United States' policy of supporting Israel with military and other aid, vetoing UNSC resolutions, and so on. That's Barack Obama's policy (as well as his predecessors'). It has nothing to do with the ADL or other right-wing Jewish groups in the US.

David said...

@Anonymous Philosophy ABD: I, too, lack hard data on the issue. I think my post might just have been expressing my own frustration with un-elected right-wing groups that claim to speak for American Jews, but which I think are not very representative. I wish that the more dovish people (like me) were better-organized. You're right that I inserted the text in brackets, and I apologize if I misconstrued you.

Anonymous Philosophy ABD said...

And to clarify further, I know that most American Jews are liberal and vote Democratic. I certainly assume that most -- certainly all the Jewish people I know -- would be appalled by Peretz's remarks. Surely many of them were protesting outside the event.

But I don't think we should just say that Peretz said something racist, and it's bad to say racist things, punkt, as if this were no different from someone saying something nasty about Jews or blacks or whomever. I think you miss something of the significance of Peretz's remarks if you don't consider the fact that the person speaking was Jewish, a big fan of Israel, that the targets were Muslims, and taking into account the position of Jews in American society and the role of the US in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, etc. This is not irrelevant stuff. That, I take it, was Professor Wolff's point, on which I assume he will expand after reading these comments.

David Sucher said...

A statement like "Jews are a uniquely privileged group in the US, that's no secret" sounds to me like silly BS and really requires documentation before you expect the statement to be taken seriously.

Now I am not saying that the author is stupid -- he might be very nice, mow his lawn, support the ACLU etc etc. But his statement is just dumb dumb dumb.

alexhickox@mac.com said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous Philosophy ABD said...

David Sucher:

What percentage of American citizens are Jewish?

What percentage of (let's say) tenured American philosophy professors at top-20-Leiter-ranked institutions are Jewish?

What percentage of American citizens are black?

What percentage of American philosophy professors with tenure at top-20 Leiter institutions are black?

Or take any other minority ethnic group -- especially Muslim -- and you'll find that I am right. Relative to their share of the population, American Jews are probably the most privileged ethnic group in the US. I can't even imagine a close competitor. Can you? If so, let's hear it.

Amato said...

Professor Wolff thanks for the illuminating picture of Ivy league academia. I am a senior at Howard university and am apply to PhD programs in philosophy at many of these places. I have always felt that Howard had a special academic atmosphere. It is certainly not a wealth ivy league, but it brings a brand of professor that impassioned by their respective subject and their students. To be sure, many professors accept a lower wage--less than any other institutions of higher learner I can think of--in order to teach African American students; as Howard is an HBCU. It is in this atmosphere that my academic passions have fostered. I would not suggest that I will actually get accepted to any of the "top" PhD programs for philosophy, but it's good to have some idea of what I might be getting into. Thanks.

David Sucher said...

Dear brave Anonymous Philosophy ABD.

I think you should look back to the meaning of "privileged."

My "New Oxford American Dictionary" (and affirmed by common usage among most educated people) states:

"Privilege (n): a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people"

Do you think that American Jews have such "special right, advantage, or immunity granted...."? If so, please prove it. If not, withdraw.

In the case of American Jews you confuse "privilege" with "hard work" or "cultural characteristic" etc etc.

peter said...

Anonymous Philosophy PhD:

What percentage of American citizens are Protestant males?

And what is the percentage of Protestant males in the top 10 percent income group?

David was quite correct in pointing out that your claim is "dumb, dumb, dumb". Since when is being a philosophy professor the ultimate measure of social privilege? And how are the relevant "groups" individuated between whose privilege you start making comparisons?

Anonymous Philosophy ABD said...

Peter: "Since when is being a philosophy professor the ultimate measure of social privilege?"

It's not the ultimate measure of it. We can use other measures and see who comes out on top (I'd be surprised if the result were any different then). However, this measure would be the one that would be relevant to Prof Wolff's post. Unless I completely misunderstood, he was talking about the views (or more accurately non-views, choosing to ignore the Israel connection) of the people who teach at this country's elite institutions.

Anonymous Philosophy ABD said...

Maybe you wouldn't notice the taboo status of Israel in the US if you hadn't spent much time outside the US. I am sure most American academics have no awareness of it. But as soon as you spend some time in Europe and talk politics with other academics and read newspapers, you'll notice how uniquely American political discourse is shaped by the need to dance around Israel. You'll also notice how uniquely American foreign policy, Democratic or Republican, is supportive of Israel. You'll have the same experience in Latin America, or so my friends in Mexico and Argentina tell me. Other countries UNSC and UNGA voting records bear this out.

Anonymous Philosophy ABD said...

David Sucher: you're suggesting that I confuse "hard work" with privilege. You think American Jews acquired their protected status through hard work. Other groups didn't work as hard. OK, it's a nice belief to have if you think American Jews should have this protected status. If you want to learn about the real basis of this protected status, I would recommend you start by reading Norman Finkelstein's book The Holocaust Industry.

David Pilavin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Pilavin said...

To Anonymous:

The only way to correct the "terrible injustice" of disproportionate representation of Jews in the academia and elsewere would be to reintroduce the good ol' racial quotas -- and I guess that this is what you are implying..

Jim Demintia said...

Dear David Sucher,

I see. So the reason that African-Americans, for example, are underrepresented at our nation's elite schools is explained by concepts like "hard work" and "cultural characteristics." Well in that case, I guess Marty Peretz has been right all along, as have people like Gobineau.

Thanks for clearing that up!

Anonymous Philosophy ABD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous Philosophy ABD said...

David Pilavin,

Sweet Jesus. I am not implying that we should have quotas for Jews in academia or anywhere else. I gather that Harvard once did. That was a terrible injustice.

Btw, when I was referring to the "protected status" of Jews in the US, I was referring to the way the way the intelligentsia and the mainstream media are unusually sensitive to charges of anti-Jewish racism ("antisemitism"; why we need a separate word for this I don't know), especially when it comes to Israel. It wasn't always that way. Again, you could start with Finkelstein's book if you want to understand the history.

Anonymous Philosophy ABD said...

Also, David Pilavin, since we're playing this game: surely you realize that you implied that the underrepresentation of blacks in academia is due to their lack of "hard work" and their cultural deficiencies (to paraphrase Jim Demintia).

Truth be told, I don't know whether you meant to imply that or not -- maybe you have some other explanation for why blacks are underrepresented and Jews are overrepresented. But if we are to go by your comments, a much stronger argument can be made that you think that blacks are lazy and culturally deficient, than that I think we should reintroduce Jewish quotas.

Anonymous Philosophy ABD said...

I must apologize. I got the two Davids mixed up. David Sucher is the one who seems to have implied that blacks are culturally deficient and not hard-working.

My apologies to David Pilavin for suggesting that he said anything like that.

David Sucher said...

Anonymous Whatever.

I will assume that you have simply mis-read and misunderstood my words rather than intentionally miscasting them.

If not, then don't be a fool; your comments concerning my remarks are an intentional gross fabrication. At least.

Anonymous Philosophy ABD said...

David Sucher,

"In the case of American Jews you confuse "privilege" with "hard work" or "cultural characteristic" etc etc."

No fabrication. Maybe I misunderstood. If so, please provide a paraphrase of your remarks that cannot be interpreted the way I initially interpreted them. I thought you were saying that "hard work" and "cultural characteristic[s]" are what explain the overrepresentation of Jews in American academia. If that was not what you meant, please tell us what you meant.