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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Teachers Without Chests

       "Those who understand the spirit of the Tao and have been led by that spirit itself demands.  Only they can know what those directions are.  The outsider knows nothing about the matter.  His attempts at alteration, as we have seen, contradict themselves.  So far from being able to harmonize discrepancies in its letter by penetration to its spirit, he merely snatches at some one precept, on which the accidents of time and place happen to have riveted his attention, and then rides it to death--for no reason that he can give.  From within the Tao itself comes the only authority to modify the Tao.  This is what Confucius meant when he said, 'With those who follow a different Way it is useless to take counsel (Analects, XV, 39).'"  C.S. Lewis The Abolition of Man (p.59).

       Mankind has warped David Hume's fact/value distinction into the idea that only facts have value.  Those values that are retained from Christianity are done so for convenience.  Want to advocate gay rights?  Put a "Love Your Neighbor:  No Exceptions" bumper sticker on your car.  Hence, wishing others well is transformed into approving homosexual behavior.  Want the U.S. to accept thousands of potential terrorists?  Invoke (as Pope Karl did) the Beatitudes.  Thus, people who think Christianity is a pernicious myth can cling to disconnected teachings as facts turned values.
       Educators are now told to refrain from conveying a sense of morality to their students.  This is one form of moral relativism;  the student must be free to decide what modes of behavior are appropriate for him or her.
       Another form of moral relativism is multiculturalism;  the values of Western Europe are not necessarily to be preferred.  Sharia Law, including tolerance for spousal abuse, is now a feature of life in Britain and Germany.
       In the void existing within today's young person (which morality or religion might have filled one hundred years ago), the material the university supplies to fill it is politics.  A college freshman will be encouraged to argue political positions in Composition 100.  They will study ideologies, environmentalism and feminism.  Students might earn a bachelor's degree without having read Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, but they may well be required to read this or the other twentieth century political manifesto.
       Today's college campus, with its "trigger warnings" and "safe spaces" is an island of political indoctrination where traditional philosophical ideas are never debated.  Undergraduates today have no time to question the meaning of the good life or the nature of friendship.  Campus is awash in contraceptives, yet you still hear of co-eds occasionally smothering the newborn they delivered in the bathroom of their dorm.
       If you think political corruption or financial crimes will become anything other than omnipresent, when educated people will have been taught from kindergarten through college that truth is relative and morality a matter of taste, you have a gift for groundless optimism that would put Pollyanna to shame.