American historian Victor Davis Hanson and Canadian professor Jordan Peterson recently commented on the decline of American universities. Though they did not specifically mention poetry, the mainstream poetry establishment, or po-biz, today is very much intertwined with American universities, making their commentaries below tantamount to an urgent critique on the poetry establishment.

Victor Davis Hanson writes:

As long as universities produced highly educated and open-minded graduates at a reasonable cost and kept politics out of the lecture hall, Americans didn’t care much about peculiarities such as tenure, legacy admissions, untaxed endowments, rebellious students and quirky faculty.

But once they began to charge exorbitantly, educate poorly, politick continuously, indebt millions of people and act hypocritically, universities turned off Americans.

Just as sermonizing Hollywood grates when it no longer can make good movies, a once-hallowed but now self-righteous university seems hollow when it charges so much for so little.

Read the full piece here.

Watch an interview between Mr. Peterson and North Korean escapee Yeonmi Park, who attended Columbia University:



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4 Responses

  1. Cheryl Corey

    Yes, universities are in decline. Witness the recent decision by Princeton to eliminate the requirement for classics majors to take Greek and Latin. How does that make any sense? A college degree used to mean something, but nowadays it seems that they’re getting away from the SAT, and the requirements for admission have been diluted (or politicized) to the point where anyone and everyone’s admitted, and bachelor degrees are a dime a dozen. High schools aren’t doing their job — colleges shouldn’t be offering remedial English and math. If the student needs that, they don’t belong in college. Not to mention all the bogus degrees for gender studies, social justice, etc.

  2. Joseph S. Salemi

    I heard about the Princeton decision from a colleague, and I thought it baffling and incoherent. Being a Classics major means knowing Greek and Latin. Saying that students in that field can be ignorant of these languages is like saying that a Math major need not know calculus or algebra.

    Put down Princeton on the list of colleges that used to be real, but are now nothing but places for posturing and fakery.

  3. C.B. Anderson

    I’ve already weighed in on this topic, here:

    See, especially, “Lazy”.

    The contempt contemporary academics have for Western civilization is laughable, because Western civilization is the only reason these persons have a job, and this includes those academics working in mathematics and the sciences. I exclude the social sciences from this criticism because those fields are, for the most part, pseudo-science, and are not worth a second thought.

    • Joseph S. Salemi

      Kip, I always call the social sciences the “Soft Sciences” because they are largely based on theory, opinion, supposition, and trendy blather. The “Hard Sciences” (such as chemistry, geology, biology, botany, or genetics) are rooted in ascertainable empirical fact.


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