The pros and cons of intellectual decay

Richard Posner has this to say, among other things, about the Lawrence Summers controversy at Harvard:

Today in the United States, most of the leading research universities are dominated by persons well to the left of Larry Summers, and they don’t take kindly to having their ideology challenged, as Summers has now learned to his grief. There is nothing to be done about this, and thoughtful conservatives should actually be pleased. As John Stuart Mill pointed out in On Liberty, when one’s ideas are not challenged, one’s ability to defend them weakens. Not being pressed to come up with arguments or evidence to support them, one forgets the arguments and fails to obtain the evidence. One’s position becomes increasingly flaccid, producing the paradox of thought that is at once rigid and flabby. And thus the academic left today.

Very true. But it doesn’t make campus intellectual life any less gruesome for our kids, nor does it ease the pain that conservative parents feel when they pay $40,000 a year to these intellectually “flaccid” institutions.
UPDATE by BIG TRUNK: For more, see Roger Kimball’s “Ward Churchill is not the problem” at Armavirumque.


Books to read from Power Line