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The Daily Logos IV

“Nothing is more certain that that whatever has to court public favor for its support will sooner or later be prostituted to utilitarian ends.  The educational institutions of the United States afford a striking demonstration of this truth.  Virtually without exception, liberal education, that is to say, educated centered about ideas and ideals, has fared best in those institutions which draw their income from private sources.  They have been able, despite limitations which donors have sought to lay upon them, to insist that education be not entirely a means of breadwinning.  This means that they have been relatively free to promote pure knowledge and the training of the mind; they have afforded a last stand for ‘antisocial’ studies like Latin and Greek.  In state institutions, always at the mercy of elected bodies and of the public generally, and under obligation to show practical fruits for their expenditure of money, the movement toward specialism and vocationalism has been irresistible.  They have never been able to say that they will do what they will with their own because their own is not private.  It seems fair to say that the opposite of the private is the prostitute.”
-Richard M. Weaver, “The Last Metaphysical Right,” Ideas Have Consequences

Weaver’s epochal defense of private property, of the right to ownership and thus to freely determine the operation of that which is owned, here touches upon the institution of education.  Part of the development, clarification, and teaching of ideas is an honest portrayal of their plurality – which is to say that while they are numerous that some are better than others, and some are bad enough to deserve no positive attention at all.  What is threatened by the nationalization of the educational institution is the inversion of this intellectual honesty: that the only ideas which deserve no positive attention are those which insist, much like yesterday’s “Daily Logos” from Chesterton, upon making distinctions; those which insist upon recognizing that while both a tiger and a tabby cat are felines the latter stands little chance in a fight against the former.

If the opposite of the private school is the prostitute school, then the federal government is its pimp and the special interest group its client.  To whom are so-called “Catholic” brothels colleges selling themselves?

Richard M. Weaver

Richard M. Weaver

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  1. David
    August 5, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    I submit that there is no institution of higher education which is not subject to the whims and demands of “public favor” from a certain community.

    Moreover, are not the Catholic colleges you listed private institutions, as Weaver thought was necessary for a good-old-fashioned liberal education?

    • August 5, 2009 at 7:06 pm

      They all accept federal funding. The more “diverse” their programs, the more federal funding they receive. Having a “Women and Gender’s Studies” department is a surefire way to a grant increase.

      • David
        August 7, 2009 at 12:25 pm

        And what do you think of the first point?

  2. August 5, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    I seem to be the inspiration for quite a few of your posts. :P

    • August 5, 2009 at 11:29 pm

      Honestly I just happened to pick up Weaver at random today for the logos and had that selection tagged; your college inquiries were fuel for the fire.

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