Phi Beta Cons

Six degrees of academic separation

The Valve features Mark Bauerlein’s New Criterion review of What’s Liberal About the Liberal Arts as well as a rather lively debate. Surely worth reading:

The liberal outlook, especially regarding race and gender, has seeped into and saturated the curriculum so much that questioning it looks not like a new venture into the marketplace of ideas but like a violation of civility. This makes it almost impossible for conservative reformers in higher education to question, much less alter, the curriculum. It’s a frustrating impasse. Liberal approaches to the curriculum are so embedded that conservative attacks look suspect on procedural grounds. Say that multiculturalism as commonly practiced is incompatible with the training of erudite students and you offend the other parties. Describe “diversity” as a coercive and illusory term that will be remembered as nothing but a curious example of the mores of the early twenty-first century and you become an unprofessional crank. The substance of your criticism is waylaid by its impropriety.

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