Last year, the University of Michigan funded a one-semester Inclusive Language Campaign to “raise awareness” about the offensiveness of certain words and phrases. It kicked off with a sort of big tent revival where 400 students and staff “signed a pledge to avoid using harmful language and to strive for inclusive dialogue.”
Permanence may be the illusion of every age, but predictions are hard, and so history is littered with Paul Ehrlichs and Harold Campings whose premonitions of apocalypse fail to come true. Yet one does also see the occasional Cassandra, whose warnings go unheeded until too late. It thus seems understandable that James Piereson, president of the William E. Simon Foundation and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, hedges his bets in Shattered Consensus: The Rise and Decline of America’s Postwar Political Order, his new book about the imminent collapse of the political order that has dominated America since World War II.