Education: Knowledge v. Pet Ideas

London's arch-Tory Recorder carried the story under a six-column headline:

WILD MEN LOSE CONTROL OF LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS! What the Recorder and other London papers went on to tell their readers: the stormy London School of Economics had just appointed a new man to the chair of political science, last occupied by the late leftist, owlishly intellectual Harold Laski. And by any standard Laski's successor was no wild man.

He was mild-mannered, string-haired Michael Oakeshott, 48, longtime (1923-49) Cambridge history don, a conservative with a passion for horse races.* To many a...