Synopses & Reviews
America-Lite (where we all live) is just like America, only turned into an amusement park or a video game or a supersized Pinkberry, where the past and future are blank and there is only a big NOW. How did we come to expect no virtue and so much cynicism from our culture, our leadersand each other?
In this refreshingly judgmental book, David Gelernter connects the historical dots to reveal a stealth revolution carried out by post-religious globalist intellectuals who, by and large, cant run their own universities or scholarly fields, but are very sure they can run you.” These imperial academics have deployed their students into the top echelon of professions once monopolized by staid and steady WASPs. In this simple way, they have installed themselves as the new designated drivers of American culture.
Imperial academics live in a world of theory; they preach disdain for mere facts and for old-fashioned fact-based judgments like true or false. Schoolchildren are routinely taught theories about history instead of actual historythey learn, for example, that all nations are equally nice except for America, which is nearly always nasty.
With academic experts to do our thinking for us, weve politely shut up and let second-raters take the wheel. In fact, we have handed the keys to the star pupil and teachers pet of the post-religious globalist intellectuals, whose election to the presidency of the United States constituted the ultimate global group hug.
How do we finally face the truth and get back into the drivers seat? America-Lite ends with a one-point plan.
"In his provocative newest, Gelernter (Judaism: A Way of Being), a professor of computer science at Yale, argues that the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s gave rise to Imperial Academia and to a liberal 'Airhead Army' that has staged a 'coup' on American education. Gelernter uses 'American Jews' and a discussion of 'mainstream culture' to help trace how the ousting of 'the WASP elite' led to the 'Great Reform' of America's colleges, swinging them inexorably toward the political Left. He proffers the term PORGIs ('post-religious, globalist intellectuals') to describe those who have taken the place of WASPs, and explains that these 'intellectuals' are responsible for the fall of conservative influence on academia, and by extension on America's politics. For Gelernter, President Obama (a leading 'PORGI Airhead: smart, educated, ignorant') is emblematic of this descent. Though the book's aim is to 'take away' from these 'liberal airheads,' the author too often relies on simplistic metaphors and propagandist catchphrases. While Gelernter's historical account of American educational reform is intriguing, his unapologetic partisanship will estrange anyone uncomfortable with the term 'Obamacrats.' (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
If a man is articulate and intelligent, charming and successful and supremely self-confident
why would you ever suspect that hes also ignorant?--that he doesnt know what hes doing? How would you ever guess?
In President Obamas case, you piece knowledge together out of the odd comment, strange choice of words, peculiar turn of phrase, puzzling decision. But the problem goes much deeper than Obama and will last much longer. The president is the first of a new breed, with a whole army of airheads behind him. They are the first wave of PORGIs settling themselves comfortably in the drivers seat of American culture. PORGIs today (Post-Religious, Globalist, Intellectuals or Intellectual-izers) are what WASPs used to be: proud bosses of Americas cultural elite. But PORGIs have been educated without ever learning history, or any basis on which to love, or even admire, or even approve of America and Americanism. Yet with every passing year, American culture is more firmly in their hands.
This book discusses Obama and the modern airhead, and investigates the origins of the PORGI in the enormous but hidden fact of Americas Cultural Revolution. In the generation following World War II, 1945-1970, Americas elite colleges were transformed from social to intellectual powerhouses. Their leading students, professors and officers used to be socially prominent WASPs; after the Revolution, they were intellectuals or aspiring intellectuals. During this same generation, the influence of American universities expanded hugely, as college populations increased and the influence of graduate and (especially) professional schools did too. Alumni of these transformed elite universities populate Americas New Establishment--its new PORGI establishment. Obama himself is unimportant. But the big change in America he represents has already transformed the country, and will do much more (and may do much worse) before it is played out.
About the Author
David Gelernter is a professor of computer science at Yale, contributing editor at the Weekly Standard, regular contributor to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and former board member of the National Endowment for the Arts. His writing has appeared in numerous publications, and his essays are widely anthologized. Among his many books are Mirror Worlds (one of the most influential books in computer science”: Technology Review), the novel 1939: The Lost World of the Fair (Original and arresting”: Washington Post Book World), the memoir Drawing Life (a New York Times notable book of the year”), and most recently Americanism (2006) and Judaism: A Way of Being (2009).
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. The Cultural Revolution and its Consequences
Chapter 2. Meet the Airheads
Obama and the Obamacrats
Airheads in Action
Chapter 3. The Airhead Army
The Obamacratic Way
The Law of Asymmetry
Chapter 4. Whos Liberal, whos conservative?
Liberals and Conservatives after the Revolution
Chapter 5. The Cultural Revolution Shapes America
When the Left seemed down and out
How did it all happen?
Indoctrination and the Airhead Army
Ignorance of the Past
How ignorant are they?
Is this generational shift real?
II Americas Cultural Revolution: 1945-1970 [21,000]
Chapter 6. The Revolution
Chapter 7. The Great Reform
The Society College
The Big Change
The Intellectuals College
Chapter 8. The Imperial University
III What do we do now? Repairing the Damage 
The Vietnam Syndrome
The Meaning of Feminism
The Biblical Republic