Thursday, August 02, 2012

Captive Minds: Conformity and Campus Intellectuals

Why many North American intellectuals seem unable to think for themselves.
by Janice Fiamengo
August 2, 2012

I have said that Leftist thought and political correctness are not the sole issues here, that conformist pressures would operate regardless of the reigning orthodoxy simply because of the conditions of academic work and our inveterate human tendencies. But Leftism is far from irrelevant to the current situation and has magnified and exacerbated it. What proclaimed itself in the beginning a movement for full equality and a refusal of cultural arrogance has become, and likely always was, an aggressive ideology that prohibits skepticism or demurral. The question of how such an ideology came to take over the universities cannot be adequately addressed here except to acknowledge that most conservative commentators see the 1960s as the decisive decade when the professoriate acceded to the demands of radical students, unable to withstand the denunciations poured upon those who resisted. For Allan Bloom and others, the 1960s was the time when the intellectual class as a whole lost confidence in the worth of academic subjects, finding, as Bloom wrote in The Closing of the American Mind, that the rallying cry of ending racism and elitism “possessed a moral truth superior to any the university could provide.” In other words, the imperative to promote a social cause was overwhelming in the absence of any other value believed worthy of defense, and meant the end of the university as an institution dedicated to the objective pursuit of truth. the rest-Excellent!  image by Elstad Ranch


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