Archives For August 2019

The top universities can’t keep out of national news. Just in the past few months, there have been several high-profile stories about Yale and Harvard. Harvard is being sued for discrimination against Asians. Yale is being sued for not admitting women into its fraternities.

These scandals have been framed as a consequence of the culture wars. Left versus right. Political correctness versus free speech. Empathy and inclusion versus economic realities. Students fighting for social and racial justice against morally bankrupt faculty and administrators. But after attending Yale for some of the larger scandals in recent years, these dichotomies ring hollow.

Over the past decade, elite colleges have been staging grounds for what Matthew Yglesias has termed the Great Awokening. Dozens of scandals have illustrated a stifling new ideological orthodoxy that is trickling down into the rest of society through HR departments, corporations, churches, foundations, and activist organizations. The nation is becoming polarized and its parts disconnected. The right is evil, and the left is stupid. Or is it the other way around?

The Real Problem At Yale Is Not Free Speech

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WHEN [DIGORY] HAD COME CLOSE UP to [the gates] he saw words written on the gold with silver letters; something like this:
Come in by the gold gates or not at all,
Take of my fruit for others or forbear,
For those who steal or those who climb my wall
Shall find their heart’s desire and find despair.

“Take of my fruit for others,” said Digory to himself. “Well, that’s what I’m going to do. It means I mustn’t eat any myself, I suppose. . . .
He knew which was the right tree at once, partly because it stood in the very center and partly because the great silver apples with which it was loaded shone so and cast a light of their own down on the shadowy places where the sunlight did not reach. He walked straight across to it, picked an apple, and put it in the breast pocket of his Norfolk jacket. But he couldn’t help looking at it and smelling it before he put it away.
It would have been better if he had not. A terrible thirst and hunger came over him and a longing to taste that fruit. He put it hastily into his pocket; but there were plenty of others. Could it be wrong to taste one? After all, he thought, the notice on the gate might not have been exactly an order; it might have been only a piece of advice—and who cares about advice? Or even if it were an order, would he be disobeying it by eating an apple? He had already obeyed the part about taking one “for others.”
—The Magician’s Nephew

Grant to us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

When Edward Gibbon embarked on his great history of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, he began his narrative with the accession of Commodus. Marcus Aurelius, the father of the new emperor, was a man who, in the noblest traditions of the Roman people, had combined the attributes of a warrior, a statesman, and a philosopher; Commodus was none of these.

America Is Not Rome. It Just Thinks It Is

In the last several years, however, the neuroscientist, political commentator, and podcaster Sam Harris has repeatedly argued that Hume was wrong. He suggests that you can, in fact, infer an “ought” from an “is.”

Harris promises the possibility of being able to conclude from facts about the world that there is indeed a right and wrong, a good and bad. Ultimately, though, it’s a promise he can’t keep.

 

https://arcdigital.media/the-problem-with-sam-harris-moral-theory-ed20c833e039