As the token conservative at CU Boulder, Dr. Birzer says they do. But it's uniform Left Wing mush, an enforced conformity that has resulted in Group Think and a stifling of critical thinking, preventing a real exchange of ideas, which of course is what the University is supposed to be. There is no imagination, no social capital.
Dr. Birzer mentioned Russell Kirk, the father of modern conservatism, who resigned a tenured professorship at Michigan State in 1955. This made the national headlines at the time, since it was a violation of the tacit agreement between faculty and University: "we give you tenure, and you don't criticize us!"
Dr. Kirk was appalled by the "Mega-University" where class lectures of hundreds of students listened to the professor who told them what to think and what to believe with absolutely no exchange or discussion of ideas. Dr. Kirk objected to Universities becoming indoctrination centers.
Dr. Birzer reminded us of what it used to be: to get into a University, you had to demonstrate your proficiency in Greek and Latin at age 14. Your entrance exam was a week translating the first three books of The Aeneid. Learning hinged on discussion, debate and studying the classics.
The foundational books of our civilization are; the Bible, the Aeneid, and Cicero. Roman writings and Roman thought has hugely influenced our Founding Fathers and the Church. St Augustin quoted Roman authors. The Church's 7 virtues had their roots in Roman tradition. And it's no accident that many State Capital buildings are basically Roman!
But the whole point is to seek Truth, absolute Truth, and to challenge the God - King. To question, always question. Contrast this to the current trend of "we can't allow Fascists to speak" (Fascists being defined as anyone who disagrees with the dominant).
The most influential people in Dr. Birzer's estimation were:
- Socrates: "no one has the right to harm another". All we know of Socrates was the notes on him by two of his students. Yet we're still talking about him 2500 years later. Contrast that with Islam and their Quran Sura 9:5 where non-believers must convert or die. Islam has killed 270 million people in Jihad!
- Cicero: Where are allegiance must be to humanity, not the soil.
- St. Perpetua, who as a 19 year old girl was martyred for her beliefs. Some things are worth dying for! I am reminded of a woman who was in charge of Harper Collins Publishing.When threatened for contemplating publishing a book the Muslims didn't like, she immediately caved, stating her "primary concern was for the safety of her employees". Excuse me, but thousands have died to preserve freedom of the press! And she surrendered it without a second thought! Appalling!
- The Bible
- The Aeneid. And prior to 1850, every school child was familiar with the Aeneid. In Book 8 there is a passage where Aeneas is given a suit of armor by a Goddess, with the flowing description and glorious imagery. And how close to Ephesians 6 it is!
- Cicero on Friendship.
Universities need to be looking at the bigger scheme of things. For example, in the 20th Century, 50 million died in warfare. But the States executed 205 million of their own citizens! So our principles of no harm, and allegiance to humanity and an acceptance of mystery are paramount. Unlike the collectivist totalitarians who demand purity, conformity and certainty.
The Oak Tree was the symbol of Thor, the god of thunder. English King Alfred sat under the oaks and started to bring forth our common law: things like trial by jury, due process. He was the first one to come up with the idea that Kings do not make law, that they only enforce the law that has its roots in community and tradition. Something President Obama has forgotten.