To a British academic visiting America, it is striking how, alongside the very many hardworking scholars, there is also a culture of aggrieved entitlement on the part of many of their more vociferous colleagues, and ironically so because they wield the power to condemn subjects and approaches of which they disapprove.

Why do the complainers feel this way? Objectively, it cannot be because they are overworked or over-regulated. Indeed, on a world scale, it is very striking how favorably the United States treats its academics, including the many who work hard. In part, this is a matter of the very freedoms that some among the number appear to despise or, at least, to deny. For a relative lack of regulation is apparent. Protection by tenure is key to the answer, but so also is the absence of the incessant external scrutiny, of both teaching and research, seen in many countries, not least Britain, where the universities are being greatly...

Introduce yourself to The New Criterion for the lowest price ever—and a receive an extra issue as thanks.
Popular Right Now