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After the Left University, What Then? Ballroom Dancing? At College?

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The University: Sickness Unto Death

by Christopher Chantrill
September 28, 2005 at 11:44 am

IT’S UNIVERSITY week as various opinion media trot out their annual state of the academy pieces. In James Piereson’s The Left University we saw a picture of the university drawn using the German historical method, penciling out the progress of the academy from teacher of absolutes to liberal research institution to the current left university that amounts to an establishment of secular religion.

On the other hand, Victor Davis Hanson shows the university as a corrupt institution approaching terminal sickness, or as we Kierkegaardians say, sickness unto death. You can tell there is something wrong by comparing the antics of today’s college presidents with the giants of the university’s golden age: men like “Woodrow Wilson (at Princeton), Robert Hutchens (at Chicago) or James Bryant Conant (at Harvard).” Today’s presidents are pigmies by comparison.

There’s the infamous trashing of Harvard President Summers by the Harvard faculty for daring to suggest informally that there might be innate differences between men and women.

There’s “Denice Denton, the newly appointed chancellor of the University of California, Santa Cruz, heralded Mr. Summers’s public humiliation as a `teachable moment.’” Maybe there is a teachable moment also in discussing the shenanigans surrounding her appointment. Her partner got herself a six-figure job at the university and a move-in allowance in the deal. What’s all that about?

And what about University of Colorado President Elizabeth Hoffman?

She recently resigned, ostensibly following athletic scandals, but more likely as a result of the uproar over Ward Churchill. We remember him now as the strange professor who compared the 3,000 murdered in the Twin Towers and Pentagon to "Little Eichmanns," supposed cogs in the military-industrial wheel who deserved their fate.

It turned out that everything about Churchill was a lie: his Native American ancestry and his academic achievements.

But none of these worthies hold a candle to new Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau of the University of California at Berkeley. On taking up his office

the chancellor complained that Berkeley has fewer Native American, Hispanic, and African-American students enrolled than it should--the campus was only 3% black, 9.5% Hispanic, and 0.4% Native American, in contrast with about 45% Asian-American and about 33% white.

The chancellor blames the underrepresentation of traditionally marginalized minorities on Proposition 209 that banned racial quotas in state government.

"I personally don’t believe that most of the people who voted for 209 intended this consequence."

Oh really. But it really doesn’t matter what the people intended, chancellor. As a famous United States Attorney General often used to say: “It’s the law.” Your job, as a government functionary, is to obey the law. For changing the law we have legislatures and elections, initiatives from the people, and all that stuff.

You wanna change the law? Run for election.

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Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.  His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.


 TAGS


What Liberals Think About Conservatives

[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. “Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists,” she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican


US Life in 1842

Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


Taking Responsibility

[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050


Society and State

For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008


Socialism equals Animism

Imagining that all order is the result of design, socialists conclude that order must be improvable by better design of some superior mind.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


Sacrifice

[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values


Responsible Self

[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.


Religion, Property, and Family

But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family. Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


Racial Discrimination

[T]he way “to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,” Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District


Postmodernism

A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ’merely relative’, is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy


Physics, Religion, and Psychology

Paul Dirac: “When I was talking with Lemaître about [the expanding universe] and feeling stimulated by the grandeur of the picture that he has given us, I told him that I thought cosmology was the branch of science that lies closest to religion. However [Georges] Lemaître [Catholic priest, physicist, and inventor of the Big Bang Theory] did not agree with me. After thinking it over he suggested psychology as lying closest to religion.”
John Farrell, “The Creation Myth”


Pentecostalism

Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization


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