On Wednesday night (February 1), I was searching the Internet for a particular Spanish-language comic strip I had read years ago. I didn’t find it, but I did wade through lots of other comic strips, many of them rather lowbrow, in the attempt. One of them went more or less like this: Two guys are robbing a bank when one of them notices that one of the tellers is his old girlfriend from high school. He takes a break from the robbery to, uh, renew his acquaintance with her, which delays the whole operation long enough for the police to arrive and arrest them both. In the final panel, the judge is admonishing him, “Next time, just go to a brothel. It would save a lot of time and money” (because his little tête-à-tête had caused them to “lose” the millions they would otherwise have successfully stolen).
An hour or so after reading that, I checked the Junior Ganymede blog and found a new post with the title “Whorehouses and mental wards would be much cheaper.” The post is simply a link, without comment, to the National Review article “Is Higher Education Still Possible?” by Anthony Esolen. Here is the closing paragraph of the Esolen article.
The colleges have not abandoned moral considerations utterly. Relativism is an unstable equilibrium — imagine a pyramid upside down, placed delicately upon its apex. It might make you break out into a cold sweat to stand in its shade. The question is not whether some moral vision will prevail, but which moral vision. The colleges are thus committed to a moral inversion. High and noble virtues, especially those that require moral courage, are mocked: gallantry in wartime, sexual purity, scrupulous honesty and plain dealing, piety, and the willingness to subject your thoughts, experiences, and most treasured beliefs to the searching scrutiny of reason. What is valued then? Debauchery, perversion, contempt for your supposedly benighted ancestors, lazy agnosticism, easy and costless pacifism, political maneuvering, and an enforcement of a new orthodoxy that in denying rational analysis seeks to render itself immune to criticism. You sink yourself in debt to discover that your sons and daughters have been severed from their faith, their morals, and their reason. Whorehouses and mental wards would be much cheaper. They might well be healthier, too.
Incidentally, the article as it appears on the National Review website has a typo in the subtitle — presumably unintentional, but appropriate, in an “Is our children learning?” sort of way, given the subject matter. Here’s a screenshot, since I’m sure they’ll eventually find and correct it.