James Oppenheim had some very interesting ideas in the ‘Twilight Idols’ chapter of Untimely Papers. Some of these ideas, I would say, are beyond the comprehension of the public today. A main point he focused on was the War and the country’s and its politician’s views on it. This ‘poison’ that Oppenheim talks about spreads through the public like a virus. It seems as though the whole country gets obsessed with the idea of the war, and not the actual action of fixing what caused the war. Oppenheim focus’s on James Dewey, a professor who seems to have focused on the high amount of pacifists in America. He doesn’t understand this concept, for the wastefulness of war. Though, Dewey seems to be gathering a large following.
The large argument that is caused here is the ignorance of intellectuals in the thought of war. Oppenheim is obsessed with the idea that the education system and intellectuals, including the current politicians are not able to actually end the war. I found this argument to be very one sided, which may have created the confusion while reading this article.
‘… and then let war, not education, be chosen, at the almost unanimous behest of our intellectual class… But nations, of course, are not rational entities”.
I think this statement is good at summing up Openheim’s views, as there is almost this sense of brainwashing within the academic field in his era. I would disagree with this statement. You do have a form of cookie cutter education forming in the time he wrote this piece. Though politicians are still coming from various areas, and I do not think that this form of identical politicians would need to be created through identical universities. With Oppenheim’s organization and wording, there is a chance that I missed the main point of this piece. Though with what I extracted, I would disagree with its severity.