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February 23, 2006

Winter in America

Columnist Gerard Baker, writing in today's UK Times, sees broader significance in Harvard President Larry Summers having been run out of office:

TWENTY YEARS AGO the American philosopher, Allan Bloom, published a book called The Closing of the American Mind, a devastating indictment of the nation’s universities and, more broadly, of its cultural elites.

Its premise was that the spirit of openness, a willingness to consider ideas freely, the great virtue of American life and the guiding ethos of a university had been perverted into a cultural relativism. From the 1960s liberal philosophy had taken hold, defiantly asserting that truth was in the eye of the beholder, and that notions of absolute ideals or virtues were anachronistic. In this new world, liberal democracy was no better than totalitarian theocracy, Plato’s philosophy was no more valid than Marianne Faithfull’s and Mozart should be considered on the same terms as the Monkees.

The resignation of Larry Summers as President of Harvard University this week indicates that the closing of the American mind is a continuing process, remorselessly squeezing the light out of its academic enlightenment

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February 23, 2006 at 11:45 PM | Permalink

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