Friday, April 11, 2008

When higher education isn’t
The degeneration from real universities to trade schools (nothing against trade schools mind; I’m only saying they’re not universities) as Fr George Rutler and others have pointed out.
Aristotle gave good reasons for thinking that only the wealthy can be wise. It’s an arresting and challenging thought for Americans. Our combination of Christian and modern sensibilities rebel against the idea. But the arguments are out there, and not just in Aristotle. The entire plot of Henry James’ late novel The Wings of the Dove turns on the need young talent has for wealth. At a more mundane level, even our officially egalitarian political culture is sometimes romanced by the idea of patrician virtue. So it’s not always and altogether clear that privilege and inequality are harmful to the common good.
That’s why trying to enforce equality of outcome hurts not helps the common good/flourishing. Classical liberalism unlike older ways gives equality of opportunity so social class for example doesn’t become a prison.
Goofy political correctness amounts to a protective belt of extremism around fairly conventional liberal pieties about equality and inclusive social justice. It’s not that Princeton or Yale or Harvard wants students to become post-colonial theorists. What the institutions really want is to protect the students from thoughts that might challenge the liberal status quo. The PC fringe provides the pit-bull patrol.

Thus the current situation, which Kronman describes with accuracy: “Today’s diversity is so limited that one might with justification call it a sham diversity, whose real goal is the promotion of moral and spiritual uniformity instead.”
You think?

Or modern liberals love minorities and foreigners when 1) they can treat them like children or 2) they’re just like the ruling class. Anybody who doesn’t fit either is just a savage. Plus ça change...

How really is this lockstep different to the Protestant right?

BTW pre-conciliar traditional Catholicism is not conformist this way: in essentials unity but many rites, many cultures, many spiritualities.

From First Things.

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