A significant body of opinion has developed in institutions of higher learning which openly rejects the democratic ethic. Radicalization leads to a continuous endorsement of the advocacy style in social science, and, by lending legitimacy to extreme postures, gradually shifts the spectrum of respectable opinion further and further to the political left. This also confers some scholarly respectability on the use of vituperative and emotional language, as well as formulations originating in political propaganda. The process is designed to discomfort those who disagree, as constant reiteration works symbolically to redefine membership in the social science community along ideological rather than professional lines, threatening dissenters with the status of moral pariahs.
Armed with a variety of totalistic visions and millennial expectations, the radicalized academy has little sympathy either with open discourse or with analytic procedures that fail to guarantee desired conclusions. The organizing principle of radical scholarship inheres in its purpose rather than in its methods or theories. And its purpose is unremitting attack on existing cultural traditions and political and economic institutions. Its most ominous feature is the use of the classroom for the cultivation, of ethnic and class resentments, particularly among minority students entering into higher education for the first time.