Friday, December 01, 2006

The abolition of man continues apace...

Fantastic article in yesterday's Boston Globe by Elizabeth Kantor on the way that too many College and University students are learning contempt for western civilization as opposed to patriotism and traditional morality.
But too many of today's politically correct college professors aren't interested in persuading young Americans to adopt any such traditional attitudes as patriotism, civic responsibility, or traditional morality. In fact, many American colleges seem to be teaching students to spurn the very things that students used to learn to love and delight in.


To a lot of professors, Western culture is something students need to be liberated from. It is not something to pass on and preserve.

What a pity. Especially now, when we're under attack from enemies who want to replace our civilization with a very different kind of culture.

Western culture isn't in our genes. It's learned. And despite what the typical 21st-century college professor may believe, Western civilization has conferred enormous benefits on the human race: extraordinary freedom and respect for women, workable self-government, freedom of speech and the press.

In 1943, C.S. Lewis published a book entitled "The Abolition of Man," which contained 3 lectures that he'd given on the way that society and the educational system were turning away from the traditional, away from what he considered the inherent and fundamental virtues that all civilizations had recognized, and were moving towards a world in which there was no recognition of objective reality, a world which would be run by "planners." He foresaw a quest for utopia which led directly towards dystopia. And he was very concerned that we were raising a generation in such a way as to make them unfit for the very challenges we'd require them to meet.
The operation of The Green Book and its kind is to produce what may be called Men without Chests. It is an outrage that they should be commonly spoken of as Intellectuals. This gives them the chance to say that he who attacks them attacks Intelligence. It is not so. They are not distinguished from other men by any unusual skill in finding truth nor any virginal ardour to pursue her. Indeed it would be strange if they were: a persevering devotion to truth, a nice sense of intellectual honour, cannot be long maintained without the aid of a sentiment which Gaius and Titius could debunk as easily as any other. It is not excess of thought but defect of fertile and generous emotion that marks them out. Their heads are no bigger than the ordinary: it is the atrophy of the chest beneath that makes them seem so.

And all the time—such is the tragi-comedy of our situation—we continue to clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more 'drive', or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or 'creativity'. In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.

Kantor is seeing it, today, in the colleges and universities. Lewis saw it, in 1943, in a grammar-school textbook.

I agree with them both, and recommend both Kantor's article, and Lewis' The Abolition Of Man...



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