Tuesday, June 10, 2008

More Proof Astrology Isn't Real

“There was much about the best sides of 'the '60s,'...that I admired and welcomed: the assault on racial discrimination and prejudice; the recognition of women's moral and legal equality, and the critique of vulgar sexual stereotypes; the softening, despite SDS, of so many students' lives; the manifest growth of tolerance of human difference (far more, in retrospect, among the 'flower children' than among the would-be revolutionaries); the striking respect with which individuals increasingly treated each other across racial, sexual and heterosexual/homosexual divides. When I began teaching in 1968, I found my students often off-the-wall in terms of what they believed about the political (let alone astrological) worlds, but I preferred them immeasurably to the bigoted, closed, smug, self-inflated and callous students whom I had known just four to eight years before (as I had preferred my classmates from Dickinson High School to my classmates at Princeton). There must have been one moment in the mid-'70s when the pendulum had swung to as ideal a place as one might realistically have hoped for; I probably slept late that day."

"What has changed? In terms of the university
in loco parentis, which has been restored and expanded with a vengeance, the revolution has been breathtaking. For students from 'the '60s' who moved into the world apart from the academy, there were adjustments to the reality principles and values of a free, dynamic and decent society. The activists of the 1960s who stayed on campus, however—in original bodies or in spirit imparted to new bodies—expected students to take them always as political and moral gurus. Students did not do so. They had the gall first to like disco, and then to like Reagan. Such students had to be saved from the false consciousness that America somehow had given them."

"Thus, under the heirs of the academic '60s, we moved on campus after campus from their Free Speech Movement to their politically correct speech codes; from their abolition of mandatory chapel to their imposition of Orwellian mandatory sensitivity and multicultural training; from their freedom to smoke pot unmolested to their war today against the kegs and spirits—literal and metaphorical—of today's students; from their acquisition of young adult status to their infantilization of "kids" who lack their insight; from their self-proclaimed dreams of racial and sexual integration to their ever more balkanized campuses organized on principles of group characteristics and group responsibility; from their right to define themselves as individuals—a foundational right—to their official, imposed and politically orthodox notions of identity. American college students became the victims of a generational swindle of truly epic proportions. If that part of the faculty not complicit in this did not know that it was happening, it was by choice or willful blindness."

"In the academic university—the curriculum and classroom, and the hiring that underlies them—it all varies by where one looks. To understand why and to understand one of the few vulnerabilities of universities to actual accountability and reform, one must understand the hierarchy that predicts academic institutional behavior: sexuality (in their language, 'sexual preference') trumps neutrality; race properly conceived easily trumps sexuality; sex properly conceived (or, in their language, 'gender') easily trumps race; and careerism categorically trumps everything. From that perspective, the careerists who run our campuses have made a Faustian bargain (though they differ on which is the devil's portion)."


-- Alan Charles Kors, on the effects the 60's had on academia, in the Wall Street Journal