A Hundred Years’ War Against the Facts
Thu, 02/23/2023 – 11:49
As a scarred-but-stalwart believer in the criticality of the liberal arts for the health of a society, I nonetheless find myself questioning whether the post-WWII expansion of higher education—so powerfully positive for the sciences, practical skills, and the economy—wasn’t a disaster for our intellectual culture. Certainly, this vast employment and welfare system created millions of campus jobs for the perennially unsatisfied and practically incapable, but how shall we defend an educational environment that sees its primary mission as protecting young minds from competitive ideas? What should we make of a repressive cult of mediocrity that dismisses Shakespeare in favor of the fashionably aggrieved, then blames Jane Austen for imperialism?
Nowhere is this self-righteous levelling so dangerous as in history faculties. The daily rape of Clio, muse of history, by those who elevate opinions-paraded-as-theory over facts leaves our “educated” middle class unequipped to understand our country or the greater world. History matters. Facts matter. The quest for knowledge, rather than the search for justifications, is essential to our democracy; yet we have largely abandoned it to the tyranny of the cunning footnote.
One of the great lies now presented …read more
Source:: Hoover Institution