Yesterday: WAKE UP! Tomorrow: God and Man at Yale
Books: The Bubble Boys: How Mistaken Educational Ideals and Practices are Causing a Warped Social Fabric; The Decline of the Epic?; Rules for Writing; Folksiness in HIstory and Baseballi; The Role of the Gods in the Iliad; Logic Requires Asking Questions
Good morning, fellows! Okay, so yesterday I lost my temper. I apologize. It is not an easy position to be in–I do not make very much money for all of my many talents, and I do not feel as though the information I present here is being taken seriously when what I present is clearly a win-win for everyone. The schools are mistreating your kids, and every few years around election time I hear such ludicrous arguments both in favor of and against nearly all policies and politicians on the ballot that I want to puke, and I see such routine incompetence in my daily life that getting the simplest things done is often quite a labor. Here I am telling you I will treat you well, but not as a part of this system which is so bad, without giving grades and judging intellectual ability–just giving you pure knowledge, because it is a much better feeling to be in the know than to be ill-informed, and it is much better to be competent than incompetent. And you are giving me no ears. You’d be frustrated, too.
Now for the good stuff. I started Friday with The Case Against College–today I’ll be considering, briefly, another critique of the university system. Illiberal Education by Dinesh D’Souza is an intriguing look at the manipulation of the college system by professors and students alike to in effect create a culture where those who hold views differing from the standard are bullied and cowed into submission. I myself fell victim to this many times. It is this same culture which places African civilization on a par with European civilization, which denigrates the “dead white males” who have contributed most of the theoretical framework for the world in which we live, and which has generally brought into play a devolution of intellectual standards which is paralleled only by what happened in the later Roman Empire when books were burned to prevent nobles from being accused of sorcery.
D’Souza is an Indian fellow who came to the United States as a foreign exchange student and quickly fell in love with the culture. Whatever his later faults as a writer may be–he oversells Christianity, which is not his native religion, in a way that does not make him look realistic, for instance–at this stage he was a brilliant reporter of fact who was utilizing the experience he had gained reporting for his college newspaper. (One famous nickname for him is “Distort the News-a”!) He passed himself off as a student–he looked young–and got professors and other students to place their trust in him, saying things that make them look absolutely foolish.
The biggest negative here is the manipulation of curriculum to suit the desires of people who don’t know what will best benefit them. At least that’s what D’Souza claims it is . Whatever the history of racial conflict and accommodation, tt is unclear how blacks benefit from being told that Egypt was run by blacks and that whites haven’t accomplished that much.
But in fact D’Souza notes by his title the most dangerous problem with this trend–namely that it presents a demonization of those who disagree with it by marking itself as liberal, when in fact it is itself the most anti-liberal and closed-minded line of thought possible. If you do not believe that all religions are the same, and that all races are the same, and that women are identical to men, and that a genius carries the same intellectual abilities as the dimwit–if you have even the slightest modicum of common sense–then you are told to shut up, silence yourself, or face the consequences. Even if you shut up, your grade will have been lowered by at least one letter, and the professor will make an angry show of victimization on behalf of the groups you claim need work.
As I said, I experienced this first-hand–I know D’Souza ain’t lying, that’s for sure–and I remain disgusted by the experience, several years later. It is a scar on my memory that won’t go away any time soon. And of course it behooves me to say that you all should be prepared for your kids to go through the same thing when they get to a certain age.
Beware, beware, beware.
Until tomorrow–or Tuesday–(my friend is in town from NY and I’m not sure how much time I’ll be able to devote to this)–salam!