Our universities are no longer committed to educating the young. Rather, the professorate has betrayed America’s future, and there is little more than lip service paid to learning in the noble sense of the word. What now matters most is the profit motive and filling students with a strange delusion called “social justice.”
The problem is not only that there is no such thing as social justice -- all justice being context-specific, that is, determined by relations between individuals -- because the young are not taught that culture is a way of life, and a far better one than the common hedonism -- they usually are never exposed to the books and films, the music and paintings, the architecture and sculptures that raise existence up to a higher plane. On the contrary, in a Satanic fashion, students are made to believe that these magnificent human accomplishments are a kind of conspiracy by which white men have long oppressed everyone. How false and perverse!
Born into a time gone wrong -- when wealth and the pleasures of the body are the most valued pursuits -- students find that that which alone can provide a wise direction is covered in darkness. Still more, that darkness is supposed to be virtue.
So, on the whole, the professors cannot be trusted; many are, as it were, demons pretending to be angels. The ever-canting social justice warrior, very deceptive with his Harvard Ph.D., is hardly better than a street thug. Indeed, it may be said of the latter that at least he is straightforward.
There is a need, then, for students to get their culture outside the university. Although this may seem difficult, they should be heartened to know that, by working to realize a vital part of their nature, they are bringing forth what, in a certain sense, is already within them. For human beings have an instinctive need for culture and an ability to produce it, like the dolphin that is made to swim, and so long as they are diligent over time, students shall find the effort well worth it.
“The greatest university of all,” said Thomas Carlyle, “is a collection of books.” Indeed, and the good news is that never in history has there been such an abundance of cheap and of free literature. Students, go back to the old masters. Beginning with the ancients Greeks, work your way up to the present. Don’t be daunted. The process is supposed to be challenging. Besides, this is not work so much as the vocation of a lifetime.
Deep and wide reading, the richest solitude, should of course occur alongside the enjoyment of music and film, painting, architecture and sculpture. Notice that word enjoyment. The professors think that “seriousness” precludes it. But that is just their silly game, a pathetic attempt to appear profound. You need not play along. “It must give pleasure,” Wallace Stevens rightly said of poetry.
Persons of native genius should take extra care to resist our era’s many false gods -- Foucault, Lacan, Derrida, Butler, and the rest. These are mostly admired by people who lack a strong background in Philosophy -- stupid English professors and the like. Academics, in their status envy, are all obliged to do “original research.” It is, however, something that few people can do, just as there are few people who can write novels and sonnets. The result is the sham scholarship that has made academia a joke for the last fifty years. The false gods, bad for everyone, will be a particular hindrance to any unique talent. You gifted students must therefore be very careful about them.
While anybody who would not be subhuman must be literate, even more important than reading is the ability to think for yourself. To that end, it is necessary to observe the world and other people closely. If you do so, you may find that your insights agree with the many thoughtful minds who came before you, especially as you get older. Thus, you will be unlike the majority of intellectuals, people who spend their lives playing word games, while ultimately knowing little of life itself. You may also see the effects of bad ideas in people’s very lives -- but not yours, let’s hope! “Here is the ultimate price of all those terrible books,” you should be moved to think again and again, grateful to be living more wisely than others.
Most of all, you must scrutinize yourself, being honest with yourself about your motives and intentions. Then you will know what you are and, what is more, what you should become. You must, of course, hold yourself to the same exacting standard that you apply to others. If you do you should learn a lot from experience, forever the greatest teacher.
Christopher DeGroot is a contributing editor at New English Review and a columnist at Taki's Magazine. You can follow his work at @CEGrotius.