A real university does not oscillate in response to all the political, social, and educational trends and fashions of a particular time. Six decades ago, thought there were a few notable exceptions, German universities failed as providers of perspective. They were too concerned with becoming “politically correct.” Just after World War II, one commentator wrote of Hitler’s rise and of the decline of Germany’s universities, bemoaning that
Nothing occurred in 1933 in the way of spiritual upheaval, and examples of weakness and corruption were abundant. . . . The invention of “German” mathematics and other forms of intellectual prostitution, as well as the numerous “somersaults” of scholars and writers, one can only recall with shame. It is also undoubtedly true that many trends in German academic life had paved the way for an excessive nationalism and an “anarchy of values” upon which the brutality of Nazi dictatorship . . . could thrive. [Hans Rothfels, The German Opposition to Hitler (Hinsdale, Illinois: Henry Regnery Company, 1948), pp. 34-35]
In our period of human history, traditional values are being challenged, and some are even being inverted.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Today's Maxwell Quote
From this talk: