In Today’s Education News

Via Twitter:

First Things has a little piece on the always interesting Camille Paglia – she’s not down with special snowflakes, and thinks kids need to learn some history:

 “‘Presentism’ is a major affliction—an over-absorption in the present or near past, which produces a distortion of perspective and a sky-is-falling Chicken Little hysteria.”


[students have not had a] “realistic introduction to the barbarities of human history . . . . Ancient history must be taught . . . . I believe in introducing young people to the disasters of history.”

This only reinforces my bad habit of asking people sympathetic to Marx and Communism if they’ve read or even heard of Gramsci or the Fabian Society. I’ve yet to find one who had even heard of them, let alone was familiar with what they did. (Not hanging out in the faculty lounge these days, I must admit. I’m not entirely sure it would matter.)

And then there’s this, where I back Dr. Paglia by noting that the abundant good times we live in perversely enough seem to get in the way of our recognizing that we live in abundant good times.

Is better education the solution? Can virtue be taught? Whatever else are we supposed to try? A good many saints seemed to have died in something of despair – of this world, not of the next. Still, we’re not allowed to give up – on people, that is. All institutions are as grass, all we think so compelling in this world today withers tomorrow.

And how do we learn this? How teach it?


Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

8 thoughts on “In Today’s Education News”

    1. Gatto’s from Pennsylvania – few lobsters, one imagines. He, like me, has only heard the stories about how lobsters try to jump out if dumped into already boiling water, but don’t even seem to notice if you start cold and gradually heat.

      Never cooked a live lobster, myself.

      1. High desert and inland Washington, here, even fewer lobsters– but I also know to use examples I know, rather than stuff like the boiled frog. (bit of a pet peeve, here– false analogies can knock folks off the route even better than a good one can pull them to it)
        Lobsters act just like crabs, or crawdads– they try to climb out of ANYTHING, be it cold or hot. You can observe this if you find a fancy (or Chinese) restaurant with live lobsters. They’re in a fish tank and are trying to get out, often by pulling on others. (ie, “crab bucket”)

  1. Definitely not sympathetic to Marxism, but my familiarity with the Fabian Society consists basically of going “huh, that sounds… a little familiar? I think it was in one of the Lord Peter Whimsy novels?”

    1. And since you’re not, there’s no reason you’d need to have heard of them. It’s like a Christian not having heard of Paul, or an American not having heard of Jefferson. Gramsci, faced with the fact that the workers of the world weren’t interested in revolting, created cultural Marxism – the idea that all cultural institutions are tools of oppression and must be destroyed; the Fabian Society, faced with the same fact, realized that lying about what they’re up to was the only way to bring about the workers paradise. Together, they ARE the culture war.

      You’d think if one were sympathetic to Communists, One might want to know what they’re up to. Stalin coined the phrase “useful idiots “to describe just such people.

      1. I studied Gramsci on my own at the university since I was- and remain interested in political philosophy. I was curious because of the fawning (that was mid-late 8os) and I read him via the English translations by Verso press (which I distrusted). I scoured to find his stuff in Italian. When I did the very little I read made me realize that he was far more dangerous than that vulgar pistolero Lenin.
        So I decided to protect myself by learning about Plato, Aristotle, St Tomas Aquinas and the Salamanca school. It’s helped but it’s really tough to argue against insanity. If culture is oppression how did Gramsci find the red pill? etc

      2. Right. Oppression is a funny thing – doesn’t seem to work very well or consistently. Freire, the education critical theorist, explains at one point that a peasant man only beats his wife because he’s oppressed, which makes one wonder: since not all peasants beat their wives, what explains the wife beater’s neighbors failure to be a wife-beater?

  2. I forget who it was — Perhaps Julian Simon?? — was getting make up for a TV appearance sometime in the early 1990s. The Earnest Young production assistant asked him: why was it that Clinton got any credit for the good state of the economy? And the interviewee asked him: How old are you, son? And the fellow answered: something in his early twenties. And the economist waiting to be interviewed shook his head and said, “You are too young to know what a good economy looks like.”

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