In fact, the right-wing attack on intellectual elites—and on the campuses the place they reside and the expertise they generate—began in earnest during the Eighties. By the late 1960s, the Vietnam War corroded religion within the elite totally. Not only was the warfare a navy and moral failure, but Americans had been repeatedly lied to about it—and regularly by members of the power elite. Gone, however, was the equation of “elite” with wealth and privilege. For McCarthy, a Princeton or Columbia training was way more threatening to the health of the Republic than inherited fortunes or control over big firms. In the now-infamous speech in Wheeling, West Virginia that launched his profession, McCarthy announced that the nation was infested with communists and blamed “the shiny young men” with “the finest faculty education” for the disease.
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