Against Princeton | R. R. Reno | First Things

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Against Princeton | R. R. Reno | First Things

R. R. Reno writes:

"Not only have Princeton, Harvard, Yale, and other elite universities become decadent, they have failed in their self-appointed task. The leaders they proffer our society are increasingly incapable of leading. Our academic leaders oversee a campus culture often riven by conflict. These schools have become hotbeds for identity politics, and administrators kowtow to student extremists. Meanwhile, graduates too often condescend to ordinary citizens, thinking them ignorant bigots or 'takers.'...

"The culture of our time is not overseen by old-fashioned Methodist matrons in the Midwest, nor do today's opinion-leaders emerge from ag schools. Charles Blow is the only regular columnist for the New York Times under sixty years old who did not go to an elite university. For the last half-century, graduates from places like Princeton have been in charge. They are making a wreck of things--not for themselves, of course, but for the rest of society.


"Over the same period of time, these institutions have become fully owned subsidiaries of the Democratic Party. This hyper-partisanship has contributed to the polarization of our politics. Instead of engaging the range of political and moral thinking that has shaped and continues to shape public life, our talented future leaders are fed a party line. Young people are not trained at these schools to be judicious, generous partisans in our political battles. The ideological homogeneity makes liberal students smug and insular--and conservative students radical and combative. There's no denying a simple fact: Elite universities, subsidized by gigantic endowments, have failed as civic institutions."

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