“The Closing Of The American Mind” was written thirty years ago, and to those in the publishing industry’s surprise, it found its way to the top of the New York TImes best seller’s list. The author was a philosophy professor by the name of Allen Bloom, who begins his book with this sobering critique of the flow of students pouring out of the government’s education institution.
There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative. If this belief is put to the test, one can count on the students’ reaction: they will be uncomprehending. That anyone should regard the proposition as not self-evident astonishes them, as though he were calling into question 2 + 2=4 . These are things you don’t think about. The students’ backgrounds are as various as America can provide. Some are religious, some atheists; some are to the Left, some to the Right; some intend to be scientists, some humanists or professionals or businessmen; some are poor, some rich. They are unified only in their relativism and in their allegiance to equality. And the two are related in a moral intention. The relativity of truth is not a theoretical insight but a moral postulate, the condition of a free society, or so they see it. They have all been equipped with this framework early on, and it is the modern replacement for the inalienable natural rights that used to be the traditional American grounds for a free society… Relativism is necessary to openness; and this is the virtue, the only virtue, which all primary education for more than fifty years has dedicated itself to inculcating.
(excerpt from pages 25-26 you can download the bookk by copying and pasting this address as a URL http://iwcenglish1.typepad.com/Documents/14434540-The-Closing-of-the-American-Mind.pdf )
If you’ve ever wondered why the school house can judge while decrying judgmentalism, or forbid to forbid, or demand tolerance while being intolerant, one need look no further than the reality painted so eloquently by this professor. Moral relativism is not a workable morality. It relies on the absolutes left to it by its Christian heritage. But that heritage is eventually exhausted. But it is very workable if the goal is to ensure generations of morally confused masses. Such masses will be ripe for worshipping their governments as gods, and more importantly, for becoming serfs.
But more sobering than Bloom’s critique is the reality that it was a snapshot in time. Those students he spoke of are now administrators, senior teachers, school superintendents, DOE bureaucrats, congressmen, senators judges, and the president. They are also in control of the news and entertainment media which share in the task of inculcating those values.
But worse than all that, they are now the parents of parents, which means that your child will be totally immersed in a system of education that is at least two generations deep into moral confusion. Not only will your children absorb moral confusion from their friends, the schoolhouse will reinforce them once he has. If your values are different, you will simply realize one day that your child doesn’t think like you do anymore.
Of course if this vortex of moral confusion seems like the place you’d like to see your child spinning around in, then there is one thing you can take to the bank, if the school fails your child in every other way, it will not fail to make him a worshiper his government as his god.