Monday, July 07, 2008

The "Sixties Campus": Good Riddance at Last?

Guest commentary by Postmodern Conservative.

Here's an interesting commentary from The New York Times (July 3, 2008):

Baby boomers, hired in large numbers during a huge expansion in higher education that continued into the ’70s, are being replaced by younger professors who many of the nearly 50 academics interviewed by The New York Times believe are different from their predecessors — less ideologically polarized and more politically moderate.

Whether this will reveal itself to be a positive trend remains to be seen. I never trust liberal analysis of what's "good" or "moderate," etc. But it is true that philosophical attitudes follow definite cycles. For example, after the French Revolution and Napoleon there was a conservative reaction in Europe. This happened again in the wake of the First World War and the Bolshevik Revolution, though it was cut short by the "success" of F.D.R.'s New Deal (in fact, it was the progressives riding on the coattails of American victory in World War II). In that sense, the leftist dominance of American campuses pre-dates the hippies.

Certainly a conservative resurgance—which we see elsewhere, in politics and religion—is welcome, though it's no cause for complacency. So much damage has been done it will take a lot of work just to clear up the debris left by the old regime.