Can Universities Survive America’s Leveling?
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Can aristocratic education inside the university co-exist with an egalitarian democracy outside the campus walls? How, if at all, should we distinguish between the principles that animate our universities and the principles that animate our country? What are the precise natures of the American university and the American polity? The Assault on American Excellence (2019), written by former dean of Yale Law School Anthony Kronman, brings these questions into stark focus. The survival of American higher education depends on how we answer them.
Kronman’s book analyzes the intolerant radicalism, enforced by propaganda and repression, which has engulfed our universities. Kronman objects to this radical campaign of “diversity” and “inclusion” (also called “political correctness,” “multiculturalism,” or “social justice”), because it will destroy his beloved ideal of “aristocratic education.” Kronman defines this aristocratic education as Socratic conversation that aims to create a natural...