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How Comfort Conquered College

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How Comfort Conquered College Empty How Comfort Conquered College

Post by Guest on Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:13 pm

The far right has already abandoned its respect for science. But the left has shown that it values dogma more than knowledge.

The liberal Enlightenment is being threatened all over the globe, mostly from the right. In American elite colleges, however, the threat is coming from the left — as the “consumer’s college” gives way to the “comfort college.”

The aim of the consumer’s college was to train a broad range of students for different forms of success. The primary goal of the comfort college? Diversity and inclusion.

While these, and the accompanying call for social justice, are noble aspirations, what happens when they eclipse critical inquiry and the pursuit of knowledge? What happens when they outweigh everything else?

If one adopts social justice as the primary goal of a college, there emerges a paradox that resembles what philosophers call the hedonistic paradox. It goes something like this: Many hold happiness as the goal or purpose of life. However, the surest way to make sure you never attain happiness is to always hold it as the goal and to ask yourself constantly, Is this making me happy?

As John Stuart Mill notes in his autobiography: “Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so. The only chance is to treat, not happiness, but some end external to it, as the purpose of life.” If you want to be happy, then immerse yourself in ballet or baseball or breaking the chains — if happiness is to come, it will follow from that. It turns out that sometimes the best way to pursue something is not to do it directly. For a college interested in training its students to fight for social justice, the paradox holds.

By raising the pursuit of justice over the pursuit of knowledge, the comfort college discards the very tools needed to achieve true justice.

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