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Professors of the Left: Unite!

The discussion that arose around my last post on the discourse of the Left brought to mind something said to me in passing a few years ago.

A professor of Classics at a college which is a standard-bearer for the American Left, who had been teaching there for nearly half a century, and at least seemed to have communitarian political views, said of his many decades of watching the dining faculty there (paraphrased):

“The further to the Left the professor, the greater the likelihood that they will leave their tray behind to be cleaned up by the help”

Now this professor was not one for over-statement, though he had a love for the anecdotal (he was smiling at the irony when he said it). I could not help but feel that he was reporting a valid, sedimented and anthropological fact. Nearly fifty years of the American Left had passed through the dining hall, and year after year this man had simply watched. I believe, because he himself made it an aim of personal friendships and personal acquaintance with much of the now largely Hispanic staff at the college, it probably alarmed him, or even amused him, that so many that speak on behalf of the silenced minority in strong theoretical fashion actually had very little connection to the labor that was all around them. He had come through the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s. In fact, there seemed a categorical disconnect. Their place of privilege as advocates for the exploited and abused necessarily somehow detached them from the “exploited” right beside them.

This is not to bash the Left in favor of the Right. And this is not to incrimate by association either. All have a propensity to make invisible. This is only to say given the stated theoretical views and values of the Left, “Please pick up your tray at the dining hall”, so to speak. Where do you think “revolution” begins and ends?

(Is there a conceptual connection between the brutalities exacted upon their populations by Maoist, Stalinist and Khmer Rouge party officials, and Leftist professors who tend not to clean up their plates? I don’t know. Hierarchy can be an unpredictable thing. Perhaps it can be called The Autonomy of Thought.)