Allan bloom the closing of the american mind essay

I mean rather that a life based on the Book is closer to the truth, that it provides the material for deeper research in and access to the real nature of things. For Bloom, then, the university was the most important institution of American democracy.

But that softness also has a hidden potential to break into intolerant anger see the hostile reaction to similar arguments by philosopher Rebecca Tuvelthreats of violence as occurred at the University of Missouri inor into actual violence, as recently occurred at UC Berkeley and Middlebury College.

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To protect the anonymity of contributors, we've removed their names and personal information from the essays. Who wrote this essay? He saw himself as a champion of excellence in an age of vulgarity. Kibin does not guarantee the accuracy, timeliness, or completeness of the essays in the library; essay content should not be construed as advice. In retaliation the American historian Lawrence W. It requires passion, yearning, and tenacious intellectual engagement. Learn how your comment data is processed. Liberal education as Bloom conceived it is a spiritual quest. It effectively captures the elevation of soul one experiences on visiting a great Gothic cathedral such as Chartres or Notre Dame or Cologne—the sense of sacredness, solemnity, and transcendence. What exactly is the Western classics that people speak of? After all, conceived as Bloom conceives it, liberal education is ostentatiously impractical.

How could that be, when Professor X, chairwoman of the department of anti-American studies, cross-dressing, and victimology at YaleHarvard, never published a book that sold more than copies? Bloom cites Friedrich Nietzsche 's actions of telling "modern man that he was free-falling in the abyss of nihilism", [12] and continues to espouse Nietzsche's commentary that nihilism in our contemporary democracy stems from value relativism.

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Jobs, tenure, academic institutes, and college curricula might finally be subject to open scrutiny. This is no ordinary matter we are discussing, Glaucon, but the right conduct of life. Poetry, T. The first, he says, is purely due to the "impassioned quality of Bloom's prose.

The closing of the american mind summary

Politicians, pundits, and the so-called cultural elite have assiduously absorbed that dogma, which they accept less as an argument about the way the world should be than as an affirmation of the essential virtue of their own feelings. For Bloom, this created a void in the souls of Americans, into which demagogic radicals as exemplified by s student leaders could leap. It is about undermining the priority of Western liberal values in our educational system and in society at large. It means students who graduate not having read Milton or Dante or Shakespeare—or, what is in some ways even worse, who have been taught to regard the works of such authors chiefly as hunting grounds for examples of patriarchy, homophobia, imperialism, etc. Does it matter? That argument defies the standard political narratives of the left or right, as did the author himself. The jury is still out on those questions. As a liberal, democratic society, we are committed to that constellation of virtues named by openness, tolerance, diversity, and the like. Yes, Bloom treats with disdain the sort of openness that questions nothing, the sort of openness that, by default, must regard reason as the enemy of choice, disregarding how any individual choice relates to the good. The unrestrained and thoughtless pursuit of openness, without recognizing the inherent political, social, and cultural problem of openness as the goal of nature, has rendered openness meaningless. Indignation may be a most noble passion and necessary for fighting wars and righting wrongs. Bloom is rightly concerned with a problem I see in my own classrooms: the assumption that, since all views are to be tolerated in our modern liberal democracy, all views are equally valuable; furthermore, since all ideas are equally worthy of consideration, none of them are worthy of consideration. He credits the narrowing and flattening of the American college experience to these phenomena. Anger, to sustain itself, requires an unshakable conviction that one is right.
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The Closing of the American Mind Thirty Years Later: A Symposium