Sunday, May 25, 2014

Remember When Universities Were Supposed To Be Centers of Thought, Discussion, Disagreement, and Learning To Act Like An Adult?

I don't, either, but I've read that at one time that was kind of the idea!  The following two articles, though, show what too much of higher education is like today.

In light of the rush to invite and then disinvite graduation speakers, I like this one:
Members of the Class of 2014, I salute you. My warmest wishes on the occasion of your graduation from this fine institution.

And, before I go any further, I would like to express my personal thanks to all of you for not rescinding my invitation...

In my day, the college campus was a place that celebrated the diversity of ideas...

Your generation, I am pleased to say, seems to be doing away with all that. There’s no need for the ritual give and take of serious argument when, in your early 20s, you already know the answers to all questions. How marvelous it must be to realize at so tender an age that you will never, ever change your mind, because you will never, ever encounter disagreement! How I wish I’d had your confidence and fortitude. I could have spared myself many hours of patient reflection and intellectual struggle over the great issues of the day.

Ladies and gentlemen, you are graduating into a world of enormous complexity and conflict. There are corners of the globe where violence and war and abject oppression still dominate. Capitalism is concentrating wealth in fewer hands but, in the developing world, lifting tens of millions out of poverty. Traditional societies are caught in an increasingly desperate struggle between the perils of fundamentalism on the one side and the perils of modernism on the other.

Given your generation’s penchant for shutting down speakers with whom you disagree, I am assuming that you have no intention of playing any serious adult role in mediating those conflicts. And that’s fine. We should leave the task of mediation to those unsophisticated enough to be sensitive to the concerns of both sides...

The literary critic George Steiner, in a wonderful little book titled "Nostalgia for the Absolute,” long ago predicted this moment. We have an attraction, he contended, to higher truths that can sweep away complexity and nuance. We like systems that can explain everything. Intellectuals in the West are nostalgic for the tight grip religion once held on the Western imagination. They are attracted to modes of thought that are as comprehensive and authoritarian as the medieval church. You and your fellow students -- and your professors as well; one mustn’t forget their role -- are therefore to be congratulated for your involvement in the excellent work of bringing back the Middle Ages.
That's a big snip; imagine all the good stuff I left out!  Go read the whole thing.  Think about what he wrote, especially in light of my post about so-called trigger warnings.

Back when the Ivies didn't have ROTC, a throwback to the Vietnam Era, I took to this blog to lambast them.  I liked pointing out how, during WWII, the Ivies took great pride in all the officers they produced for our military services through their ROTC programs.  Patriotism was considered a good thing, and there's no reason it still shouldn't be.  You know what shouldn't be considered a good thing?  State-sponsored places for segregating people by sex, color, or orientation:
The University of South Carolina is dumping its Gender Studies center  which became notorious for holding an event titled “How to Be a Lesbian in 10 Days or Less” and is going to teach the US Constitution instead.

The horror. The humanity. The heterocisgenderpatriarchal privilege...

The Morning News, owned by Warren Buffett, editorialized that this was “A chilling act of retribution” and “Required reading programs serve several purposes. Most importantly, though, the programs are intended to prepare students for the expectations of college-level discourse and open them up for the diversity they’ll find both on campus and in the real world. We’re not sure reciting the Bill of Rights, no doubt important to know, qualifies in that regard.”

Just so you understand, the Morning News’ official editorial is insisting that knowing the Bill of Rights is irrelevant to “college level discourse” and the real world. Unlike, “How to be a Lesbian in Ten Days"...

When leftist activists get people fired for their views, that’s freedom. But when taxpayers refuse to fund “How to be a Lesbian”, it’s McCarthyism.
I used to think it was hyperbolic when Michael Savage would say that liberalism is a mental disorder.  Now I'm not so sure.


allen (in Michigan) said...

Savage is a putz. Turns out you can be a conservative and a loud-mouthed putz. The two aren't mutually exclusive even if I wish they were.

Leftiosity isn't a mental disorder for a couple of reasons.

The first is that all Savage is engaged in is good, old-fashioned name-calling. I don't like it in lefties but expect it. I despise it in conservatives who ought to know better but we humans are a wondrously flexible species and make the Red Queen, with her claim to believing six impossible things before breakfast, look like a piker.

The second is that it becomes a lot tougher to use "insane" as an epithet when you've seen the real thing. At least it has for me. Maybe Micheal Savage must never have seen a real crazy person because the difference between them and lefties is pretty obvious.

The third is that name-calling, along with being evidence of immaturity is also evidence of laziness. Savage has his scat to throw and, despite those two doctorates he can't go two minutes without mentioning, is satisfied he's uncovered the truth.

Lefties are emotionally immature. They're over-indulged rich kids who throw a temper tantrum when they don't get what they want. They have no sense of responsibility, not much compassion and are offended by the suggestion that the world doesn't revolve around them. That's pretty much all that needs to be known about lefties to understand them and is a rather better explanation then mental illness.

Darren said...

Your explanation is a supplement to mine.

maxutils said...

While I don't disagree ... Savage can tell a story. Well. Every time.