Thursday, September 08, 2005

# Posted 10:17 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

REOPENING "THE CLOSING OF THE AMERICAN MIND": Jim Sleeper, a lecturer at Yale, revisits Allan Bloom's classic treatise on the failure of higher education in America. Although roughly sympathetic to some of Bloom's arguments, Sleeper uses the book to argue counterintuitively against those conservatives such as David Horowitz who want to disrupt the left-liberal hegemony on American campuses.

Sleeper rightly points out that there is a marked degree of tension between Bloom's intellectual elitism and the relatively populist approach of Horowitz and others, who think that Fox News and talk radio are very good things. But I have to wonder if Sleeper's criticism is too clever by half. Who else but conservatives have the potential to reclaim the universities from the pathologies identified by Bloom?

It's not as if there is an untapped legion of Bloomian intellectuals ready to reclaim America's campuses in the name of the "Greek pedagogical tradition". I guess my question for Sleeper would be what alternative he might suggest to those who want to liberate the academy from its current masters.
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