What stands in the way of scholars respecting the public enough to address it and to contribute their best thinking to the broader world? Well, scholars do. So long as institutions of higher education sustain the system that punishes those who aim their work to broader audiences and rewards intellectuals only when they speak in the private code of a subdiscipline, then what are you going to get? You get scholars who speak in code to the brotherhood, instead of public intellectuals.
I’d rather be a public intellectual. It seems more honest, more ethical, more true to the life of the mind than does adding another line to my CV for an article that will only be distributed to a few hundred places and read by even fewer.