To the Editor:
I happen to be a liberal reader of Academic Questions and I write to share some thoughts on Michael Rectenwald’s “`Social Justice’ and Postmodern Parentage” (Summer 2018). Understanding the Left/Right intellectual divide has become an avocation in my retirement. One of several ways I have understood this divide comes from the writing of Reinhold Niebuhr, a twentieth century theologian who argued that social systems are always faced with the need to balance out the poles of Justice and Order for the well being of the whole. Conservatives focus most heavily on the pole of “Order” while liberal thinkers focus more on the pole of “Justice.”
Though I do not know professor Rectenwald’s ideological inclinations, I believe Niebuhr’s framework can be useful for understanding his article. For Rectenwald, “progressive orthodoxy” is limiting “constructive dialogue” and “rational counterargument” on American campuses. Leftist college students, whom he dubs “postmodern,” use a number...