I have two items for your attention, today, one you may have already seen, but another, from a small magazine, that you likely cannot discover anyplace else. The first is "The Post-Liberal Moment," in The American Mind, a short essay and riposte to a dreadful article about "Reocons" that was published a couple weeks back. Readers have written to say how timely and helpful it is; as I read it, even with the last-minute addition of references to the coronavirus, it seems already somewhat dated. I do hope it will prove useful to many, in any case. Click the TAM logo at the bottom of this posting to read.
The second item is an interview I gave to a small magazine called The Scholastic. Next week marks the one-year anniversary of my colleague Colleen Sheehan and my editorial in the Wall Street Journal confronting head-on the inane new policies Villanova University has put in place as its cute, personal contribution to the triumph of identity politics and the despoliation of the higher learning.
Our editorial was met with widespread protest by our colleagues, many of whom had opposed the policy until they learned that we opposed it as well. At that time, they felt obliged to sign a petition giving a full-throated endorsement to the erosion of their and our academic freedoms. I found their whole display comical, or shall I say it was sad but in the sense of inducing laughter rather than weeping?
Despite these protests, Colleen and I were partially successful in so far as we got the University to almost entirely limit the use and distribution of the new "diversity" questions that were inserted into the course evaluations students are asked to complete at the end of every semester. The University's highest officials claimed the questions were "never" intended for use in faculty evaluation. This was untrue or, in laymen's terms, a lie. But to make good on that lie, they did at least part of what we were asking for. We continue to press for the complete elimination of such questions, though, along with everyone else, we have other things to worry about just now.
The Scholastic asked me to talk about the controversy and to discuss the nature of liberal education in light of my work as a poet. It is my hope that what I say in the interview will be of substantial value even when -- as it surely must -- the shameful occasion of it will have long been forgotten. I notice, alas, a number of typos in the interview; consider them signs of small-magazine authenticity. Click the picture of St. Thomas, our greatest scholastic, to read.
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