a brief response to responses

I’ve received a good many emails — emails! — about my recent piece in the Wall Street Journal, and they are coming in three varieties:

1) People thanking me for the essay;

2) People telling me that my essay is a pathetic exercise in false equivalency, because it’s obvious that academics are far more hostile to evangelicals than vice versa;

3) People telling me that my essay is a pathetic exercise in false equivalency, because it’s obvious that evangelicals are far more hostile to academics than vice versa.

I have some thoughts. First of all, I can’t imagine any possible way to assess which of the latter two groups (if either) is correct. But second, why does it matter? What is it that changes — in our current situation or what we need to do in response to it — depending on the preponderance of fault? It seems to me that the task remains the same: to seek out the people with whom we can meaningfully converse and debate, and ignore those who seek to rend the social fabric.

And finally, we might do well to remember Les Murray’s little poem “Politics and Art”:

Brutal policy,
like inferior art, knows
whose fault it all is.

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