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Dilemmas of Resistance

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Chapter Summary

The swift ending of Moses Finley's American career as a result of Congressional inquiries into his political past raises a set of broad questions about how the American academy polices itself and, about how institutions that announce themselves to be independent of political pressures nevertheless repeatedly lose their compass. Finley was the only American intellectual to choose a path that enabled freedom of conscience and allowed the possibility of continuing to write without fear of interrogation. Under the circumstances, an astonishing number of intellectuals who thought of themselves as moral and good ended up not only cooperating with the committees, but convincing themselves that their failure to defend their colleagues amounted to patriotic virtue. The alternatives amounted to one among several dilemmas of resistance. Faced with a choice of bowing to political pressure or choosing to defend an unpopular position, many intellectuals believed they could both cooperate and resist.

Keywords: American academy polices; Moses Finley; patriotic virtue



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