When American universities taught common sense


When American universities taught common sense

By Robert Curry

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…We have heard the words We hold these Truths to be self-evident …” all our lives.  To approach the Founders’ understanding of self-evident truth is to approach the heart of the American founding.  Jefferson and the other Founders held that “all men are created equal” is self-evidently true.  According to Lincoln, it is “an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times.”  For more than a hundred years, American colleges dedicated themselves to teaching the philosophy the Founders and Lincoln were relying on in making that declaration.

Things have changed at Harvard, Princeton, and the other ones, too.  As in the early days of the Republic, these days, they share a philosophical orientation.  That orientation goes far beyond simply rejecting the Founders’ idea of self-evident truth.  Each and every variety of postmodernism rejects truth and common sense, which means that the possibility of self-evident truth is utterly excluded.  You might say Hemingway spoke for the postmodernists when he wrote of the dying writer in his story “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” that it “was not so much that he lied as that there was no truth to tell.”  Since they are not interested in the truth and have no truth to tell, America’s tenured radicals offer instead various grievance “studies” — feminist studies, black studies, latino studies, queer studies, and so on.  The focus of those grievances is America.

American higher education was once dedicated to teaching young Americans to think like an American.  Today, students are taught anti-Americanism.  That is the explanation for all those fabulously privileged Americans, many of whom are graduates of America’s most prestigious universities, demonstrating their violent rejection of the American way of life by rioting in the streets and attacking statues of Jefferson and Washington.  They could not possibly make their anti-Americanism any clearer — and, for the most part, they were taught their anti-Americanism in American schools and universities.

The entire original article can be seen here

Robert Curry serves on the Board of Directors of the Claremont Institute.  He is the author of Reclaiming Common Sense: Finding Truth in a Post-Truth World and Common Sense Nation: Unlocking the Forgotten Power of the American Idea.  Both are published by Encounter Books.   

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