We will not get back to our founding principles until the whole education system is reexamined. That seems obvious to conservatives who have come to realize that liberals took over our education system and have indoctrinated the young in their way of thinking that is not in tune with the ideals of America.
Those of us who experienced the rise of radicals in the 60s felt that some of it had passed or gone underground in the 70s and 80s. Radical students and organizations like the SDS seemed to lose sway on college campuses. At the university I attended students had burned down the ROTC building in the late 60s, but now it is clear that such ideas didn’t go away, they just took a temporary detour.
A Jesuit at Georgetown, Father James Schall, put his finger on some of the problems in his last lecture there:
…In a world where relativism is king, truth finds itself the martyr. Where truth cannot be spoken, no one can reform his life.
How is this issue understood? Our courts and university faculties are no longer courageous enough to ask whether what they were deciding and teaching is true. In order to avoid responding to this basic question – “Is it true?’ – with an answer not merely an opinion, they have preferred to go on and on making distinctions and equivocations that would allow them to continue to undermine our moral and intellectual stature so that they could justify certain ways of acting and living…
Universities are not in the “virtue” business today. They cannot be, as it is now mostly illegal, let alone old-fashioned. We have a widespread assumption that universities are centers of what is new. Science is what will improve us.
But a second assumption tells us that students need outside “hands-on experience.” They will not help the poor unless they join some program and volunteer, a kind of temporary vocation. This help industry has become big business with various “corps” designed to facilitate the projects, here and all over the world. The purpose of education is not knowledge or leisure but justice, the virtue with the most ideological confusions whirling about it.
How will the education system get back to the truth and values? A hard right turn would help.