BY HANK REICHMAN
In 1998 the late philosopher Richard Rorty published Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America. While I was familiar with Rorty’s interesting brand of neo-pragmatism, with its debt to AAUP founding father John Dewey, I must have missed this book and have no recollection of its overall arguments or its reception. But yesterday someone tweeted a picture of a few paragraphs from the book — taken out of whatever context in which they appeared, to be sure — that chillingly hit home in light of our present moment. Here it is:
Has “something cracked?” And will the consequences be as Rorty predicted? No one can yet say, of course, but I think there is a lesson here, especially in Rorty’s concluding sentence. Of course, I would hasten to add that there are many, many African-American, Latino, immigrant and also poor white people without college educations who don’t share this resentment; indeed, they hungrily crave the education that some others may hold in contempt. I remain highly skeptical of the simplistic notion that Trump’s election is best explained as the victory of the uneducated “working class.” Still, food for thought.