Bar Ilan Overseas-For the Freedom of Israel and the West

by Geoffrey Clarfield (January 2016)


NEW YORK - "Bar-Ilan University is the only Zionist university left in Israel," proclaimed Prof. Efraim Inbar, director of Bar-Ilan's Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, at a gala dinner of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA ) held Tuesday night in New York.
--
Haaretz-Israeli Newspaper, November 22, 2011

Preface

As more and more American and Canadian campuses are being infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood and their fellow travelling cultural Marxists, more and more, Jewish students find that they are being physically threatened and often attacked on the college and university campuses of these two democratic countries.

Both the Canadian and American governments seem uninterested and unmotivated to challenge this illegal and often violent infiltration which culminates in BDS and Israel Apartheid Week across a growing number of campuses. And so, for those who realize that the academic freedom of the West and the future of Israel are being threatened in one go, we, who still believe in Western civilization must come up with new ways to defend and nurture liberal education here in North America for the coming generations.

This paper calls for the establishment of branch campuses of Bar Ilan university across North America. For those who want a quick two page summary of the argument presented here, please go to the last two pages to read the Executive Summary. For those who want to go deeper, please read on.

A) Al Jazeera and Yeshiva University

Recently, I was invited to celebrate the 70th birthday of a prominent female Jewish businesswoman in Toronto. I found myself at a party of over one hundred close relatives and friends of the honoree. Eventually, I started talking to a Toronto Jewish woman, about my age (a “baby boomer”), about our children.

When she discovered that I had recently completed a three-year contract in Manhattan, for a world famous non-profit organization, she proudly reported that her daughter had graduated from Columbia University with an MA in Journalism. She explained that her daughter felt that in New York City, she was in the center of the world.

She said that her daughter lived and worked in the most multi-cultural environment anywhere on the face of the earth. She told me that she travelled frequently and loved her job. When I asked about her daughter’s employer, she smiled proudly and said, “Al Jazeera.”[1]

However, if one thinks that the Orthodox Jewish community of North America is immune to these kind of influences, one must remember that in 2013, Yeshiva University in New York, gave an “International Peace Award” to former President Jimmy Carter, author of the notorious anti Zionist volume, ”Peace, Not Apartheid,” that was published by Simon and Schuster in 2006. Very few alumni protested.[2]

B) Tenured Radicals-the Intellectual Source of Jewish Anti-Zionism

It is now common knowledge that the Ivy League universities of Canada and the United States are dominated by what conservative thinker, Roger Kimball, has called in a book by the same name, “Tenured Radicals.” These largely middle-aged men and women, have taken over almost all of the humanities, history and social science departments in North America, including the notoriously comprised academic field of “Middle Eastern Studies.”

They preach hatred for the West, anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism. Karl Marx inspires them. They believe capitalism and the free market is evil and their graduates now dominate the mainstream media. They are often missionary atheists, who believe that both the Jewish and the Christian Bible are the source of evil and, instead they “privilege” the culture of third world peoples, within an aggressive policy of multiculturalism.

French conservative writer, Pascal Bruckner has done an excellent job explaining why this is the case in a series of essays and books, which have culminated in his most recent work, called The Tyranny of Guilt. [3]

 C) Cultural Marxism

Most, if not all, of these tenured radicals are also cultural Marxists and often radical feminists. Cultural Marxism is a European invention that during the last 50 years, has overtaken most American and Canadian academics, who have turned their backs on their own intellectual past.

The world-view of cultural Marxists is best described in an article by Linda Kimball, first published in The American Thinker in 2007. One of the most famous spokespersons for an even broader Marxism is Naomi Klein, a Jewish anti-Zionist who emerged from the Jewish community of Montreal, after she studied at McGill University. Nothing has changed since then. Instead things have gotten worse as the cultural Marxists support and are supported by the Muslim Brotherhood whose aim is to make illegal any criticism of Islam and by extension any defense of Israel in the press and on campus. [4]

Simply put, the true and former, liberal education that the Founding Fathers of the United States of America received from their colonial colleges, (and they studied Hebrew) was and remains, superior to that of any contemporary undergraduate in all but a few contemporary American universities. And funnily enough, it is four to five times cheaper than any contemporary liberal arts degree given by colleges and universities in North America, for all it needs is library books, professors and self-discipline.

This is indeed a paradox, but goes a long way towards explaining the ideology and actions of today’s President of the United States, for he is a fellow traveler of cultural Marxism. Behind closed doors, he may be an economic as well as a cultural Marxist.

D) The American Jewish Generation Gap and Rising Disinterest in Israel

Cultural Marxism is closely linked to American Jewish assimilation and a distancing from Israel that is now growing among America’s Jewish youth. A disproportionate number of Jewish students at the best colleges and universities of Canada and the United States, have taken on the anti-Western, anti-Israeli worldview of radical multiculturalism, which is simply a primitive expression of Cultural Marxism.

Among today’s college students, Israel is thought of as the enemy of justice, or, it is becoming “unimportant” to the young generation of North American Jews. Given that 78% of secular American Jews have married out of the faith, and no longer raise their children as Jews, the following survey makes much sense:

…more than half of Jews under 35 say they would not view the destruction of Israel as a personal tragedy…which means less financial and political support for Israel, less tourism, less aliyah…recent research shows that young Jews believe a connection to the State of Israel is not among the primary factors in determining the collective Jewish identity…Bottom line: young American Jews don’t care about Israel as much as their parents or grandparents do. [5]

E) Cultural Marxism in Israel

One day, when historians scratch their heads and wonder just how Israel could have adopted the policies it did in the Oslo era of the 1990s, they will likely devote considerable attention to the role of the country’s academics. In amazement, they will look back on how a number of radicals actively legitimated the agenda of the country’s enemies, thereby doing much to demoralize their fellow nationals….In the effort to lighten the burden of those future historians’ work, we helpfully provide an early take on the scholarly excesses of the present era.
[6]Socrates, Solomon, “Israel’s Academic Extremists.” Middle East Quarterly, Fall, 2001

The state of Israel is not immune to any of these intellectual and social trends. The history, social science and humanities departments of most of Israel’s secular universities are dominated by men and women with similar ideas, sometimes even more radical, culminating in a call for the dismantling of the State of Israel or, for its merger in some sort of Jewish/Arab version of the failed state of Lebanon.  

The mainstream Israeli media is “on the left,” as is the state run TV station which is supported by all taxpaying Israelis, without consultation. So many Israeli media people are imbued with Cultural Marxism, that it has often become unconscious. And so, all of a sudden, Jews in Israel  have become “white, Western, colonialists and imperialists.” And the Arabs have become the, “indigenous peoples” of “Palestine” and “poor victims,” of an “occupation.” Ethnographically, most contemporary Israelis' ancestors came from the Islamic world!

The only institutions of higher education in Israel that are not yet imbued with cultural Marxism are, Bar Ilan University and the Shalem Institute in Jerusalem. They have something to offer the Diaspora and perhaps, even contribute to the rebirth of liberal education in the West. That is to say, a real liberal education based on the Jewish and Western intellectual tradition.

One must remember that it has been the English speaking democracies that have gained so much of their staying power, because of their re-evaluation of the political meaning of the Hebrew Bible during the 18th century. Consider for a moment that in the American Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, God is mentioned many times, but Jesus is not mentioned once. [7]

F) The Financial and Moral Cost of Higher Education in North America

The financial crisis of North American colleges and universities is related to the rise of cultural Marxism. As a morally corrupt ideology, it has introduced a new form of financial mismanagement into the university as a kind of side effect. Because multi culturalism believes that anything and everything should be studied, colleges and universities now offer hundreds of absurd sub-specialties.

All of these programs and institutes must be “managed.” And so, managers have taken over North American universities. These men and women often get paid more than tenured professors, they raise more funds and they run the universities in their own managerial interest. And so, tuition fees have skyrocketed. This is just one more example of the culmination of James Burnham’s predicted, Managerial Revolution, written about so prophetically in 1960.[8]

Because of these men and women, the "new Mandarins of higher education" the cost of higher education in North America has exploded in the last forty years. It has made a college education a very expensive thing. It often costs a middle class American parent more than 250,000 dollars to send a child to receive a four-year, liberal arts education at their state university. If you have more than one child to educate, this becomes problematic.

The “Ivy Leagues” often cost much more. And who is studied there? Edward Said, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Judith Butler, Jimmy Carter, post modern philosophy and the ideology of free sex. I refer the reader to the marvelous study carried out by the National Association of Scholars (NAS) called “What does Baudoin Teach?” in order to give readers of this document in Israel, Canada or the UK an insider’s view of what is now mainstream in US colleges. It is well worth reading.[9]

Bear in mind that this report about a typical American liberal arts college, was not written from a Jewish perspective or, from the interests of Jewish families and Jewish students. But note well, that this is what American  and Canadian Jewish students also study, when their hard working parents send them to “college.” And also, bear in mind that parents do not read the articles and text books that their children are studying, but blindly believe that their children’s teachers have their children’s best interest at heart. This study of Baudoin shows that is clearly not the case.

G) Israel Apartheid Week

Cultural Marxism, the demonization of the West, the demonization of the Bible and the rise of managers have all expressed themselves in a giant, growing orgy of anti-Semitic anti-Zionism on campus best seen during Israel Apartheid Week. As a movement, it began at the University of Toronto (where I went to Graduate School) and where it still flourishes. It has spread across Canadian and American campuses, like the moral disease that it is. [10] 

The few Jewish students who protest it are often threatened with violence or even physically attacked by student affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood, who are deeply embedded in today’s colleges and universities. The parents of these students turn a blind eye. The official Jewish community does nothing, the Rabbis are silent, the Israeli embassy and consulates do not take out full-page ads protesting Israeli Apartheid Week in the national and local newspapers and, the major Jewish donors still give millions to universities like the University of Toronto.

But the story gets worse. Anti-Semitism is growing on North American campuses and Jewish students are at physical risk. They are frightened. Even the “anti-Israel Jews” on campus are not immune from attack. And soon, their parents will also be frightened. Yet, they want their children to get a good education.[11]

Bar Ilan university is ideally suited to provide that education.

H) Israel Can Strike Back-Bar Ilan Overseas

Bar Ilan University is ideally suited to provide both Jewish and non-Jewish students with a liberal education that is better than that found in most of today’s colleges and universities in North America. The reason is, that Bar Ilan is a conservative, religious, Zionist university. That means that the “Gift of the Jews,” in the words of Thomas Cahill, permeates all faculties and staff at the university.[12]

First of all, Bar Ilan assumes that belief in God is not a fantasy to be explained by psychology and sociology. Secondly, Bar Ilan believes that the land of Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people and that everything must be done to defend it and Bar Ilan believes that the Jewish intellectual tradition is equal to, and in some ways superior to, the Western Intellectual tradition at its best.

Unlike even the best of today’s European intellectuals, Bar Ilan does not believe that the Old Testament, that is the Torah, is any less valid than the New Testament. In fact, Bar Ilan is imbued with the values and worldview first set out in Yehuda Ha Levi’s medieval masterpiece, The Kuzari, which is and remains a spirited philosophical defense of what is still thought of in many circles as a despised religion-Judaism.

The values that permeate the Jewish worldview assume that reality is real, and therefore, in the spirit of Maimonides, Jews believe that the free development of science and objective knowledge is a worthy pursuit. Bar Ilan believes in the reality and importance of history, for the ahistorical trend in today’s Western Universities is simply a portal for Holocaust denial.

Bar Ilan is non-coercive. If a non Jew wants to study in one of its schools he or she is most welcome, under the condition that they do not carry or express a pernicious hatred of Jews, Judaism and the State of Israel. Freedom of speech comes with responsibility and respect for the uniqueness of Jewish history. I can attest to this for in the mid nineties I spent a year teaching an introductory anthropology course at a Bar Ilan college to a group of Israeli Jewish, Muslim and Christian citizens. It was the most enjoyable series of lectures I have ever delivered.

And so we ask, “What would a three to four year liberal arts degree look like, from the point of view of a young North American Jew or non-Jew who wants a degree that is morally meaningful and that, at the same time, can give them the skills to compete and flourish in what we hope will remain a democratic, free market economy? [13]

I) The Curriculum and its Context

A Bar Ilan liberal arts college, (or series of colleges in North America), would have the following features:

  1. It would provide a first class liberal education for Jews and non-Jews across North America.

  2. It would do so at far less cost than contemporary colleges and universities in Canada and the United States.

  3. The lecturers would be drawn from Bar Ilan in Israel, its graduates and like minded academics in the Diaspora who support its vision, mission and mandate.

  4. It would be historically grounded and based on a proper study of world and Jewish history.

  5. Following the example of Leo Strauss, it would, be based on the exploration of the Great books of both the Western and the Jewish traditions, with explorations of non-Jewish and non-Western traditions such as that of medieval Islam, India and China.

  6. It would focus on the slow, serious reading of original texts, not excerpts but in most cases entire volumes, even if they must be in translation.

  7. It would make sure that graduates are able to write logically, speak in public and carry out reasoned and thought provoking interpretation of great books.

  8. It would insure that all students have basic computer literacy, understanding of the pros and cons of the Internet and, mastery of the equivalent of Microsoft Office.

  9. It would insure that all students attain and maintain a basic numeracy.

  10. It would insist that all students would at least, gain a rudimentary understanding of Biblical and Modern Hebrew.

  11. In addition to English and Hebrew, students would have to study one other language of their choice.

  12. It would use the resources of the wider community to enhance and enrich the core curriculum, but it would not supplant it.

  13. It would not flood undergraduates with second-rate papers by contemporary scholars. These would be kept to a minimum, carefully selected, few, and far between.

  14. It would insure that there would be access to and facilitation of the world of art, architecture, film, dance and music although these would not constitute courses of undergraduate study.

  15. The faculty would engage the public, as public intellectuals and defenders of the Jewish intellectual tradition, and in defense of the State of Israel , in the communities and in the media within which each college or branch is embedded.

  16. Bar Ilan staff and its students would be able to engage with all and every institution within the Jewish communities of North America in a constructive, if at times critical way.

  17. Students would have the option of spending their fourth year at a Bar Ilan campus in Israel.

  18. Bar Ilan can and will provide a safe haven for non-Jewish students who desire a real liberal education without endorsing Marxist, Cultural Marxist or the holders of Christian and Muslim, supercessionist ideologies.

  19. By doing all of the above, Bar Ilan will provide a secure place for Jewish and non-Jewish students, to gain the skills and understanding of who they are as Jews and westerners, and who will soon hold the mantle and shape the future of Western nations.

  20. Its existence will create a powerful, intellectual alternative to a corrupted system of liberal education that now dominates North America.

  21. It will be a center of Jewish learning and a public advocate of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. It will be a Zionist institution.

J) Conclusion

As more and more colleges and universities in the West call for the boycott of Israeli academics and Israeli institutions, it is time to become “pro-active” and not “reactive.” Bar Ilan University must enter the competitive fray of institutions of higher learning in North America. It must set up shop overseas.  

It must provide Jewish and non-Jewish students with a haven for personal and intellectual growth, which can only come from an institution based in the land of Israel. Such a liberal arts college will compete with what were once the best of North America’s schools. It will cover its costs while providing a real liberal arts education to its students.

In today’s North America there is a hunger for truth. Bar Ilan can feed this hunger. It can do so because it offers something better than the fake “liberal” education that now goes by that name. It can offer the real thing. [14]

This is Bar Ilan’s challenge; to bring its people and its wisdom to Canada and the United States, to provide a solid liberal education for Jewish and non-Jewish youth, to be a light unto Israel and, unto the Nations.

The hour is late and it is time to begin.

Executive Summary

When I have a difficult subject before me — when I find the road narrow, and can see no other way of teaching a well established truth except by pleasing one intelligent man and displeasing ten thousand fools — I prefer to address myself to the one man, and to take no notice whatever of the condemnation of the multitude; I prefer to extricate that intelligent man from his embarrassment and show him the cause of his perplexity, so that he may attain perfection and be at peace.
- Moses Maimonides

This concept paper calls on Bar Ilan University to establish an overseas liberal arts program for undergraduates in Canada and the United States. This is because Jewish, and non-Jewish students, who are interested in and support the State of Israel on North American campuses are shunned, intimidated and often violently assaulted in a growing number of institutions of higher learning. But that is only the surface effect of a much deeper phenomenon; the death of liberal education due to the indoctrination of North American Jewish and non-Jewish, college and university students, with Cultural Marxism and related ideologies.

Both economic and cultural Marxism teach that Western civilization is a sham, that private property is “theft,” that religion is the “opiate of the masses,” and that the market economy is a dehumanizing force. Cultural Marxists attack “bourgeois morality.” Their enemy is monogamy, the family, the inheritance of wealth across the generations, equality of opportunity (instead, they advocate equality of results) and religion, except for radical Islam, which is rationalized as justifiable “anti- colonialism.” Cultural Marxists and cultural relativists celebrate all cultures equally, except those of the Jews and Western civilization, which they hold accountable for most of the suffering of contemporary humanity.

Cultural Marxism is the handmaiden of radical feminism. It has consistently demonstrated its anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist credentials. These two related ideologies drive Jewish assimilation, intermarriage and the growing disinterest in Israel among North American youth, especially among those who go to college.

Not only are Western universities now hotbeds of anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel but (and the two are connected), they have also lost their connection to the Great Books of both the Jewish and the Western tradition. Instead, students choose to spend their four years studying poorly written and often second rate texts and articles, by their teachers, who tell them that the Great Books are evil, that the Bible is a lie, and that together, they comprise the “privileged” expressions of “dead white males,” who they claim were chauvinists, racists and imperialists.

Israel is not immune to these trends, and many of the departments of anthropology, sociology and political science in Israel’s secular universities have become anti-Zionist. A growing number of Israeli academics accuse the state of Israel of imaginary historical and contemporary crimes, and use much of the traditional vocabulary of anti Semitism in the language that they use. They often falsely accuse the State and patriotic Israelis of behaving “like Nazis.”

This paper calls on Bar Ilan to establish overseas, North American branches of its colleges, to provide both Jews and non-Jews with a liberal education based on the Great Books of Western and Jewish civilization, without lapsing into second hand supercessionism. Bar Ilan has the professors and the graduates to do this. It could easily find qualified and like-minded intellectuals and academics based in North America, to teach in its overseas branches.

North American Jewish and non Jewish institutions of higher learning have failed to give young North Americans what was once called a liberal education, like that of the Founding Fathers of the United States (and many of the founders of the State of Israel), men who preached deism, studied Hebrew and looked to ancient Israel as a model for its new experiment in democracy.

Given the rising financial and moral costs of sending impressionable young men and women to institutions that preach Jew-hatred, this paper argues that Bar Ilan has the wherewithal to provide a better education for North American  Jewish youth and for any non Jew who wants the benefits of this kind of education. This kind of institution can act as a light unto both the Jews and non-Jews of the English speaking Diaspora, who are interested in maintaining the superior values of Western civilization, and, which comprise the foundations of liberty. There are a growing number of Jewish (and non-Jewish) students of all ages, and from all walks of life, who would grasp this kind of opportunity, if only it were offered.

This concept paper provides the rationale for such a program. The enemy is at our gates. It is time to make haste.

 

[1] Clearly Al Jazeera shows itself as a consistent enemy of Israel and the Jewish people. Its coverage in English is quite different from  its coverage in Arabic and no doubt, this is intentional. Diaspora Jews who do not understand Arabic, are clearly one of the demographics that they would like to “turn” away from support for Israel and the Jewish people.

[2] See, Kessler, Oren, “The Two Faces of Al Jazeera,” Middle East Quarterly, Winter, 2012.

[3] Pascal Bruckner is one of France’s “New Philosophers,” one of  a group of now middle-aged intellectuals who broke with the Marxist world-view of the French left that dominated, and in many ways still dominates intellectual life in contemporary France. In his many articles and books Bruckner argues that Post WWII intellectual values in France have been inverted. Now all that is Western and European is “bad.” All that is “good” emerges from the peoples of the third world. This is just the latest version of French fascination with the “noble savage,” first brought to public attention by Jean Jacques Rousseau in his Second Discourse on Inequality in 1754. Clearly, these ideas have by now permeated North American academia, as well many numbers of Israel's social scientists. See, Bruckner, Pascal, The Tears of the White Man, Compassion as Contempt, The Free Press, October, 1986. Or, read his most recent book on a similar theme; Bruckner, Pascal, The Tyranny of Guilt; An Essay on Western Masochism, Princeton University Press, 2010.

[4] It is easy to be confused by the alliance between radical feminism, support for radical Islam, hatred of the West and Israel, thinking that they are not directly related. However, an understanding that they all fall within the loose framework of Cultural Marxism, makes sense of a range of Western social and cultural phenomena, including the rejection of the Post WWII, Great Books tradition and what was once called Liberal Education. To better understand Cultural Marxism and its effect on contemporary America see, Kimball, Lynda, “Cultural Marxism,” The American Thinker, February 15, 2007

[5]  Lipman, Steven, “The Gap Generation,” The Jewish Week, May 12, 2010

[7]  It goes even further. There are writers and intellectuals who argue that the US is based on the Old Testament. Here is  one article that reiterates what is a centuries old debate: Wilson, Bruce, “Gingrich Appears in Video Which Claims Constitution Based on Old Testament.” This article can be accessed at the following web site called ‘Talk to Action:’ http://www.talk2action.org/story/2011/11/24/105429/41

[8] James Burnham’s work explains much about what is wrong with contemporary governments and public institutions in the West. He had better insight than most. This is because for many, many years he was a radical Marxist. Then, he lost his faith in Marxism and began to see the value of Western civilization, individual rights and property rights. He knew what the future would hold.

[9]  See the fascinating study of the now extremely costly and trivial nature of  contemporary “liberal education,” at what was once one of America’s most prestigious private, liberal arts colleges: Wood, Peter and Toscano, Michael, “What Does Bowdoin Teach-How Contemporary Liberal Arts College Shapes Students?,” National Association of Scholars. The full report can be accessed here: http://www.nas.org/images/documents/What_Does_Bowdoin_Teach.pdf

[10] For the Canadian origins of Israel Apartheid Week, see Chatterley, Catherine, “A History of Israel Apartheid Week,” The National Post, March, 3, 2011. I strongly suspect that with appropriate research, it can be shown that the Muslim Brotherhood in North America is financing this yearly outrage. For more information of the penetration of the Muslim Brotherhood in Canada see Tom Quiggin’s marvelous report available at the following site:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B6tM70447biiTmotZUF0MWV0Nnc/edit

[11]  See the recent article by Harvard Professor Ruth Wisse in the May, 2015 issue of Mosaic Magazine, called, “Anti-Semitism Goes to School.”  Here is a telling quotation:

In February, a Jewish college student was hospitalized after being punched in the face at a pro-Palestinian demonstration on a campus in upstate New York. His family has insisted on maintaining the boy’s privacy, but other such incidents, some caught on camera, include a male student punched in the face at Temple University, a female student at Ohio University harassed for defending Israel, and a male student at Cornell threatened physically for protesting anti-Israel propaganda. On three successive days last summer, the Boston police had to protect a student rally for Israel from pro-Palestinian mobs shouting “Jews back to Birkenau!” At the University of California-Irvine, this year’s Israel Independence Day festivities were blocked and shouted down by anti-Israel demonstrators. Every year, some 200 campuses now host a multiday hate-the-Jews fest, its malignancy encapsulated in its title: “Israel Apartheid Week.”

[12]  I have written about the core theses of this book and how Jewish values can and should underlie the world of International Development, in “The Bible and International Development,” New English Review, November, 2013

http://www.newenglishreview.org/Geoffrey_Clarfield/The_Bible_and_International_Development/

[13]  This is clearly implied in the logo of Bar Ilan. I quote the Bar Ilan web site:

The Bar-Ilan University logo reflects the dual core aims of our institution: the pursuit of academic excellence along with Jewish heritage study. Fused together, the letters form Bar-Ilan's Hebrew initials – Bet and Aleph – which are also the first two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. In elaborating upon our raison d'etre, Bar Ilan University President, Prof. Moshe Kaveh, quotes the Midrash Rabbah which relates that Aleph was distraught that the Bible commenced with Bet (Breishit) until the Almighty declared that the Ten Commandments would begin with Aleph. Explaining that the Bet alludes to creation and the scientific realm, while Aleph signifies the search for divine wisdom, Prof. Kaveh stresses that it is the union of science and religious values, along with respect and tolerance, which makes our institution so unique.

[14]  In 1959, the German Jewish refugee in the USA, Professor Leo Strauss wrote an essay on the nature of liberal education. Like many others at the time, he believed that it was those who were inspired by the values imbibed from a liberal education, namely the British, the Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and finally the Americans, who won the war against the Nazis. He was convinced that  the study of the Bible and the Great Books of Western civilization, was the key to the defense of democracy and freedom, in both the West and in the new state of Israel, which he once explained to William F. Buckley, founder of the National Review, that Israel  was a conservative state deserving of support by like-minded American and British conservatives. Strauss is remembered for many things, but most notably his essay, “Athens and Jerusalem.” Strauss delivered this speech as an address at the Tenth Annual Graduation Exercises of the Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults, at the University of Chicago on June 6, 1959.  It is worth reading.

The full text of his speech is available here: http://www.ditext.com/strauss/liberal.html

A majority of colleges and universities in Canada and the United States have stopped teaching the Great Books that Strauss praised and lived by, because they are now mis-labeled as the writings of “dead, white males” who preached racism, imperialism and colonialism. Clearly the world has been turned upside down.

 

___________________________

 
Geoffrey Clarfield is an anthropologist at large.

 

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