Thursday, June 26, 2014

Up the Academy

From John Derbyshire, a grand unified theory of the American higher education system. How does one reconcile institutions founded for the purpose of higher learning and rational inquiry with behavior such as banning speakers they disagree with, campus speech codes, rigid uniformity of faculty political beliefs, and general unremitting advocacy of liberlism?  Here's how:

Our universities, after a few aberrant decades of experimenting with open inquiry and the advance of knowledge, have reverted to their medieval purpose (the purpose that Chinese high education always had): to train an intellectual elite for the propagation and defense of the state ideology.  Then it was Christianity (in China, Confucianism); now it is utopian egalitarianism - "political correctness," the Narrative.  The advance of knowledge can go hang.

Not only is this a sorry state of affairs, it's nothing new.  They're just behaving in tired, old, brutish, conformist, pre-Enlightenment ways.

Those of us bemusedly observing this from the outside, and left to suffer the consequences, are perhaps given only this solace, as articulated in the movie Good Will Hunting:

Clark: Yeah, but I will have a degree. And you'll be servin' my kids fries at a drive-thru on our way to a skiing trip.

Will: That may be, but at least I won't be unoriginal.