Sunday, June 2, 2019

The Death of the American University

One suspects that serious academic thinkers, especially those who teach Humanities and Social Sciences will greet the new movement with a gales of outrage. How dare anyone recommend that we shut down universities, or better, that we limit them to STEM subjects.

Then again, the politically correct lunatics have taken over most of the academic world and have made higher education into an indoctrination mill. Howw much will we really be losing by getting rid of universities?

The truth, as Roger Kimball explained in a recent column, is that academics have brought this eventuality down on themselves. With their boundless stupidity and their will to destroy Western civilization they have ensured that no one learns anything at universities any more any way. Given their predilection toward indoctrination, they are rendering themselves useless.

Kimball began by quoting the thoughts of eminent British philosopher, Sir Roger Scruton:

People used to talk about the ends of the university and how the academic establishment was failing its students. Today, more and more people are talking about the end of the university, the idea being that it is time to think about closing them rather than reforming them.

Last month at a conference in London, the distinguished British philosopher Sir Roger Scruton added his voice to this chorus when responding to a questioner who complained of the physical ­violence meted out to conservative students at Birkbeck University.

There were two possible responses to this situation, Sir Roger said. One was to start competing institutions, outside the academic establishment, that welcomed conservative voices.

The other possibility was “get rid of universities altogether.”

Kimball continued:

Sir Roger went on to qualify his recommendation, noting that a modern society required institutions to pursue science and engineering. But the humanities, which at most colleges and universities have devolved into cesspools of identity politics and grievance studies, should be starved of funding and ultimately shut down.

The academy is sick and, according to Allen Farrington, the disease is terminal:

In a remarkable essay in Quillette titled “After Academia,” ­Allen Farrington summed up the growing consensus. “We need to stop wringing our hands over how to save academia and ­acknowledge that its disease is terminal.”

Is he right? It is too soon to say for sure. But if so, Farrington is correct that its demise “need not be cause for solemnity.” On the contrary, the end of academia “can inspire celebration,” because it could “allow us to shift our energies away from the abject failure of modern education and to refocus on breathing new life into the classical alternative.”

Universities will die out because they have failed to educate. Where did I read that students today know less when they leave the university than when they entered.

It matters that the titans of high technology and the great minds who are running America’s corporations learned how not to think in these universities and now are applying the lessons to their companies. Let’s not forget the deep state, the government bureaucracy that is filled with the best and the brightest from America’s defective educational establishment:

The revolutionary ­intolerance that has made college campuses so inhospitable to free expression and the impulses of civilization has also deeply affected the woke mandarins of social media and Big Tech. It has made serious inroads into the HR departments of the Fortune 500 and elsewhere in the world of business. And it has insinuated itself into the values and practices of most governmental agencies, many of which have yet to meet a politically correct left-wing cause they do not embrace.

Looking into the future, Kimball explained how it is going to happen:

In the coming decade, we will see many so-called liberal-arts college close their doors. We will also see more alternatives to traditional colleges. Many of these will be on-line. Some will be local, ad hoc ventures. All will be rebelling against the poisonous hand of identity politics.

Thoughtful citizens will want to hasten this process. Their best bet is to pursue strategies to starve Academia Inc. of funds. No public monies should be feeding institutions that claim to be educating students but really are simply indoctrinating them. Parents and alumni, rightly disgusted by what these institutions have done to their children, should refuse to subsidize their perversion.

Once upon a time, universities were institutions dedicated to the pursuit of truth and the transmission of the highest values of our civilization. Today, most are dedicated to the destruction of those values. It is past time to call them to account.

Indeed, it is.


Anonymous said...

Everybody wants it their way. What else is new.

UbuMaccabee said...

You have far more freedom to discuss ideas in any local tavern than you do on any university campus, and that has been true for over 20 years. The university is an intellectual gulag.

"The faculty of Arts at the University of Sydney is a disaster-area, and not of the merely passive kind, like a bombed building, or an area that has been flooded. It is the active kind, like a badly-leaking nuclear reactor, or an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in cattle."

David Stove 1986