What was the university like before the 1960s?

The recent post at Unqualified Reservations, “The ultracalvinist hypothesis: In perspective” has been a spash at Econolog, gnxp, and here. The “ultravalcinist hypothesis” holds that contemporary American atheism is actually a variant of Mainline Protestantism. One Unqualified Reservations post, found by PurpleSlog via Econolog, argued that even the leftist political correctness that comes out of academia is merely a continuation of the same religious clap-trap that’s been going on for centuries:

You may or may not buy this story. But I hope you can agree that the Harvard faculty in 2007 by and large believes in human equality, social justice, world peace and community leadership, that the faculty of the same institution held much the same beliefs in 1957, 1907, 1857 and 1807, and that in any of these years they would have described these views as the absolute cynosure of Christianity. Perhaps I am just naturally suspicious, but it strains my credulity slightly to believe that sometime in 1969, the very same beliefs were rederived from pure reason and universal ethics, whose concurrence with the New Testament is remarkable to say the least.

All well and good. However, I previously featured the Weekly Standard‘s claims that American academia used to be liberal, as opposed to leftist:

It is plain in retrospect that the American university changed as fundamentally in the decade or so after 1965 as it did in those formative years between 1870 and 1910. The political and cultural upheavals of the period, spurred by the civil rights movement and opposition to the war in Vietnam, combined with the demographic explosion, brought about a second revolution in higher education, and created an institution (speaking generally) that was more egalitarian, more ideological, and more politicized, but less academic and less rigorous, in its preoccupations than was the case in the preceding era. It was in this period, from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s, that the left university emerged in place of the liberal university.

So which is it?

Did the 1960s see the collapse of liberal academia and the raise of leftist orthodoxy? Or did Mainline Protestantism reign throughout the period, only changing which denominations (Episcopalian? Atheist?) the professoriate claimed as their own?

The answer’s beyond my knowledge, but perhaps some historians who read this blog might answer…

We’re fighting more than just bigotry

Ralph Peter’s June 25, 2007 article, “Faith’s civil wars,” has already drawn criticism from Curtis. Let me pile on.

Peters writes:

The great religious civil war of this century afflicts not only Islam but also Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism. It’s the conflict between those in every faith who promote a punitive, disciplinary deity and those who worship a merciful, loving god. Not all confrontations will be violent, but many will be venomous.

No, it’s not.

There are few Christians are bigoted against my faith as the Jack Chick organization, for instance:

Indeed there are many Roman Catholics who, in spite of their beliefs, looks past it all and reach out by faith to the living Saviour. Oh yes, such accept Christ as their personal Saviour, are born again and leave the old life behind. Such we call “converted former Roman Catholics.”

But the question here is are there any saved Roman Catholics? That is, being a saved person and remaining in Roman Catholicism.

Just as you cannot mix fire and water, neither can one be a saved person and remain a faithful Roman Catholic.

But here’s the thing. Jack Chick is not trying to kill me. And he does not apologize for those that do.

There is a real global insurgency, essentially Arabist and Islamist. Conflating that with bigotry is a big mistake, and one Ralph Peters makes all too easily.

Credit where credit is due

I’ve criticized the goonish Group of 88, but at least one of the lynch-mob professors, Dr. Hardt, nonetheless is correct in his view of love as politically transformational. I got the video from Durham in Wonderland, a normally great blog, whose dismissal of Dr, Hardt for using jargon is off-base and unprofessional.

Love, not solidarity

To quote from Michael Hardt’s lecture on love:

“It seems to me that what love does, rather than solidarity, is that love extends beyond our standard conceptions of rationality. Beyond the rational calculus of interest… But I understand solidarity as essentially a calculation of interest in which we aid each other or unite with each other because of mutual interests.

I’ve written about love and the extending embrace as central to the Rise of Christianity.

Tom Barnett, the grand strategist, said it without the jargon:




Embarrass yourself.

A final thought: How is it that someone who knows so much about love, as Mike Hardt seems to — nonetheless acts out of hate and fear in the persecution of innocent youths?

Simple: we are rational. Speaking well does not correlate with acting well. We do what we do, we say what we say, and these activities tend not to influence each other much.