90 Miles From Tyranny : Our Summer Of Cultural Suicide

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Our Summer Of Cultural Suicide







Cultural suicide used to be a popular diagnosis of why things suddenly just quit.

Historians such as Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee cited social cannibalism to explain why once-successful states, institutions and cultures simply died off.

Their common explanation was that the arrogance of success ensures lethal consequences. Once elites became pampered and arrogant, they feel exempt from their ancestors’ respect for moral and spiritual laws like thrift, moderation and transcendence.

Take professional sports. Over the last century, professional football, basketball and baseball were racially integrated and adopted a uniform code of patriotic observance. The three leagues offered fans a pleasant respite from daily barroom politics. As a result, by the 21st century, the NFL, NBA and MLB had become global multibillion-dollar enterprises.

Then hubris ensued.

The owners, coaches and players weren’t always racially diverse. But that inconvenient truth did not stop the leagues from hectoring their fans about social activism — even as they no longer honored common patriotic rituals.

All three leagues have suffered terribly during the viral lockdown, as American life mysteriously went on without them. And they have almost ensured that they won’t fully recover when the quarantine ends. Many of their often-pampered multimillionaire players refuse to honor the national anthem. In the NFL they now will broadcast their politics on their helmets. They will virtue-signal their moral superiority to increasingly turned-off fans — as if to ensure that their sources of support flee.

Lots of American universities became virtual global brands in the 21st century. Sky-high tuition, rich foreign students, guaranteed student loans and Club Med-like facilities convinced administrators and faculty that higher education was sacrosanct. The universities preached that every successful American had to have a bachelor’s degree, as if the higher-education monopoly deserved guaranteed customers.

But soon, $1.6 trillion in aggregate student-loan debt, lightweight and trendy curricula, ideological hectoring, administrative bloat, reduced teaching loads, poor placement of graduates and the suspension of the Bill of Rights on campus began turning off both students and the public.

If students can Zoom or Skype their classes from home this fall, why pay $70,000 a year for the campus “experience”?

Supposedly woke and informed rioters this summer incoherently toppled or damaged the statues of everyone from Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant to Frederick Douglass and Miguel de Cervantes. So the public might begin to wonder how the nation’s multitrillion-dollar investment in higher education actually served the country.

Soon, popular fury will beget more dangerous questions for American universities. Maybe the country should subsidize the training of more essential electricians, plumbers, contractors and masons instead of unemployable environmental and ethnic...

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