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Competing Views of College

August 24, 2014

I just read two articles in the last hour that make me wonder what the conversation would be like if the  two writers had an improbable meeting.

Anthony Grafton’s review of “Excellent Sheep”, a recently published book by Yale professor William Deresiewicz, describes our countries elite universities as factories that take well-behaved, high achieving and affluent entrants and turn out soulless graduates who learn “…that they are superior to all others, and that even if they break rules or fail, they will never suffer.”  In effect, Deresiewicz asserts that professors have little or no influence on the students who entered the hallowed halls of elite colleges. He writes: “The system churns out an endless procession of more or less uniform human specimens” and, as noted above, suggests the specimens are not forced to question their own worth.

In contrast, Houston Baptist College professor Collin Garbarino writes in an essay in Canon and Culture that our universities are churning out moral relativists who are being brainwashed by progressive professors… that is the professors HAVE more agency than Deresiewicz is observing and they are using that agency to turn students away from “their parents worldview”.

So… putting these two conclusions together one can only assume that the Ivies are doing a great job in Garbarino’s view: the students entering school leave with the same world view they brought to the institution! As for Garbarino’s perspective on moral relativism, all I can say is followers of ISIS are not moral relativists… and the world would be a lot more peaceful if we had fewer ISIS followers and more secular humanists!

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