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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


Chappies

“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison


Civil Society

“Civil Society”—a complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churches—builds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust


Hugo on Genius

“Tear down theory, poetic systems... No more rules, no more models... Genius conjures up rather than learns... ” —Victor Hugo
César Graña, Bohemian versus Bourgeois


Education

“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State


Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.”
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990


Conversion

“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh


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


Faith and Politics

As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable... [1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006


China and Christianity

At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing


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


Conservatism

Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority — the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says ‘we should...’.
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity


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


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©2007 Christopher Chantrill