Higher education is severely broken and dysfunctional.
Providence College English Professor Anthony Esolen, a conservative and staunch defender of free speech and academic inquiry in the face of leftist totalitarianism, points out in his new book, “Out of the Ashes,” that there are certain values prioritized on campuses nowadays — and they stand against all rational and moral reason:
Debauchery, perversion, contempt for your supposedly benighted ancestors, lazy agnosticism, easy and costless pacifism, political maneuvering, and an enforcement of a new orthodoxy that in denying rational analysis seeks to render itself immune to criticism. You sink yourself in debt to discover that your sons and daughters have been severed from their faith, their morals, and their reason. Whorehouses and mental wards would be much cheaper. They might well be healthier, too.
Those are some fighting words, and Esolen is a fighter. (SEE: Embattled conservative professor refuses to be silenced: ‘They did not kill the lion’)
One major problem is that right-of-center academics have been scared into silence. Esolen points out:
Here the reader may supply plenty of anecdotes about professors, insufficiently “liberal,” who have been driven from their jobs or burdened with legal troubles because they violated the new iron etiquette that governs the public sphere. My favorite, if such it may be called, involved an instructor of composition at the University of Winnipeg who remarked, near the end of a semester, that the most important work that most women do will be to raise their children well. For that remark — which would have struck sensible people alive three cultural minutes ago, both men and women, as a bland truism — the instructor was relieved of his duties forthwith, barred from his office, and forbidden even to administer his final exam.
People who say that such events are rare and therefore not to be taken too seriously are either fools or liars. A thousand public lynchings are expensive and tiresome. Two or three will intimidate your enemies very nicely and save you the sweat and the struggle against your conscience. That is especially true if the victim is powerful and visible, as was Lawrence Summers, the president of Harvard who opined that the difference between the numbers of men and women pursuing the natural sciences at the highest level might be due rather to predilection and intellectual inclination than to sexism. Again we are dealing with a bland truism; but the long knives came out, and Summers was dispatched.
Esolen understands this all too well. After Esolen called out his Catholic university for promoting a humanistic view of the world above a Godly one, he was the target of rancorous protests and public floggings by administrators, students and peers.
But he is fighting back, in part with his latest book: “Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture.”
Its online description states “there are two things wrong with our schools—everything our children don’t learn in them, and everything they do learn. Public schools are beyond reform; we have to start over.”
“Our universities are as bad as our schools,” it adds. “A few can be saved, but for the most part, we must build new ones. In fact, this is already being done. We have to support these efforts as if our children’s souls depended on it.”
Education is one aspect among many tackled in the book. The sexual revolution is another. National Review has posted a longer excerpt of the new book here.