23.8.16

NOTICE OF DISCONTINUANCE.

The webmasters at National Review have to do something to justify their existence, and they're shutting Phi Beta Cons down.  The correspondents might be contributing full length articles, and they have their home bases to post from.
[Go] to the websites of Phi Beta Cons contributors, most notably the Pope Center, The College Fix, the Center for Individual Rights, and the National Association of Scholars.
Among their final posts, one suggesting that higher education ought be thought of more like the Roman Catholic Church than like a political party, let alone a business.
Instead, let’s compare the university scene to a large, highly respected, and powerful system that transcended the mundane world of the marketplace – the medieval Catholic Church. (This example, like the housing bubble, is not original with me; I’m just taking it more seriously now.) The Catholic Church was not a market-based phenomenon; it was a complex arrangement of forces—economic, social, moral, political, and, of course, religious—that had enormous control over the people of Christendom.

The Church was a universal (that is, across-Europe) institution, marked by solemn ceremonies in black robes and regalia; formal hierarchies (bishops, priests, monks, friars); promise of life in the hereafter; inquisitions to stamp out heresy; charitable hospitals; its own recondite language; and enormous wealth provided by proprietorship of vast expanses of land and by tithing by the masses.

Most of these aspects have counterparts in the university today. The robed rituals, the hierarchy of titles, the pressure against free speech, the medical facilities, the intellectual idiom, and the wealth – all are visible today in our colleges and universities. While universities don’t offer promises of the hereafter, they offer more immediate promises — material wealth in the near future. And today’s taxpayer must pay a tithe or more; in some states, 10 percent of the state budget goes to higher education, and the majority of schools are tax-exempt.

What knits these forces together into a remarkably stable system lasting hundreds of years? In my view, it was faith that gave the Catholic Church its power, and it is blind faith in the promises – from good jobs to economic growth — that gives higher education its power today.

And so far, that makes it pretty stable.
Yes, right up to the day Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the cathedral door.

It is a corrupt system, and it stinketh.

For sackcloth and ashes, substitute virtue signalling.

For new orders of mendicant monks, particularly as the parishioners started questioning authority, substitute new diversity initiatives.

For indulgences sold for the remission of sin, substitute carbon offsets, or hybrid cars for the motor pool.

For carving your name on the facade of St. Peter's Basilica, substitute naming rights at the new classroom building, or, more frequently, the new athletic facility.

It is a corrupt system, and it stinketh.

And in the same way that the ability to mass-produce Gutenberg Bibles turned Martin Luther into first an advocate for universal literacy and later for finding God in your own way, the ability to mass-produce information content to read and understand on your own, without the interference of a brainwashed social justice warrior to interpret, the reformation will come.

No comments: