PROFESSORS, PROFESSIONALS AND HONOR

by michael on January 4, 2011

Two days ago I was reading Dennis Prager’s blog, http://www.dennisprager.com/ and saw a reference to a recent interview Prager had with Anthony Esolen, professor of classics and English at Providence University. http://www.providence.edu/. The interview was about Professor Esolen’s new book, TEN WAYS TO DESTROY THE IMAGINATION OF YOUR CHILD,
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_23?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=anthony+esolen+ten+ways&sprefix=anthony+esolen+ten+ways

I was intrigued. The topic harmonized with many themes of my book. I wanted to learn more. I got contact information on the professor from the Internet, made a few phone calls, and, remarkably, spoke with Professor Esolen a few moments ago. He is a gracious passionate man who takes pride in his work. I enjoyed our brief conversation. I invited him to guest blog about his book. I expect he will do so within the next few weeks.

For only a few moments we talked about the ideological rigidity on college campuses, generally, that contrary to all promotion and theory, all ideas, arguments or political perspectives, no matter how credible and well crafted and supported by evidence, are not welcomed and often are viciously derided and deligitimized.

I shared with Professor Esolen that my experience as a student at Williams College in the late 1960’s was, perhaps, the Golden Age of college education. For example, we were in the middle of the Viet Nam War. Professors held differing views about the war, of course, and their views were passionate and intense, but they kept them to themselves. They understood that their views on the war were irrelevant to their duties as teachers.

No professor, for example, had one of those moronic posters hanging from the door or from the wall with the word ‘war’ or with a president’s name in the middle of a circle which had a left to right downward slash through the word. Professors did not politicize their work. They did not inject their opinions into the classroom like some virulent bacteria. They kept their mouths shut about personal matters and political beliefs.

Teachers, particularly of young children, who inflict personal political opinions on their students commit child abuse.

I commented to Professor Esolen that in those days, the professors were professional. Professor Esolen replied, making an astute observation. He said those professors were more than professional. They were honorable. Honorable is different from professional. One can be professional and not be honorable.

Professor Esolen is correct. Regrettably, honor is not so common these days.
More later.

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