Moving Forward: Is Legacy Higher Ed a Lost Cause?

At Minding the Campus, David Acevedo writes:

When a man contravenes his stated principles, through word or through deed, we ought to first give him the benefit of the doubt. But when he does it the tenth, or hundredth, or thousandth time, we must conclude that he holds a different set of principles entirely. In other words, one’s words and actions are the true indicators of one’s worldview. “You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” (Matthew 7:16, ESV).

This applies to institutions just as well as individuals. If the vast majority of a field talks the talk but walks in the opposite direction, then we ought to question the talk. That’s why, a couple of weeks ago, I argued that most of academia’s alleged hypocrisy, contradictions, and double standards are an illusion. For decades, our colleges and universities have blatantly disregarded their stated principles of academic freedom, intellectual diversity, educational excellence, and the like. The time has long since passed to conclude that most within higher ed have simply abandoned these principles in a raw lust for power. Constant double standards point to one’s real standard.

I also urged conservative commentators to keep their eye on the ball: first, we need to spend way more time exposing the evil of modern academia’s true standard, not simply cataloging the innumerable ways in which its walk belies its talk. As I wrote, “double standards are baked into the cake.” When we act like they’re not, we’re playing right into the Left’s hands. They continue the long march, and we’re stuck writing about the bootprints.

More importantly, we need to devote our labors to building positive solutions to the crisis. We should certainly document the precipitous decline of higher education, but we can’t stop there. Many American students desperately seek higher learning—if and when today’s institutions implode, we must have something there waiting for them. In order to avoid falling into the very problem I described, I plan to compose a series of articles assessing various ways to move forward from the academic status quo, of which this is the first. We all agree that the current state of affairs is unsustainable—but what is the best avenue for reform?

Minding the Campus is a subsidiary of the National Association of Scholars (NAS); the NAS describes its mission as follows:

The National Association of Scholars upholds the standards of a liberal arts education that fosters intellectual freedom, searches for the truth, and promotes virtuous citizenship.