And, for the most part, he is dead-on. Higher education, in particular, is so steeped in this kind of "therapeutic" nonsense Hanson describes that it becomes almost impossible for the so-called "educated" classes to make the kind of common-sensical decisions they could have made before coming to college. Not so, however, in a handful of wonderful oasises like the Ashbrook Scholar Program and The Master’s Program in American History and Government at Ashland University. I’ve been visiting the Center for the past few days as high school teachers from around the country have gathered to take classes on interesting, important and permanent things. In speaking with them I am struck--first of all by my jealousy at their getting to spend 3 or 4 weeks of the summer reading great books and engaged in serious conversation--and second, by how well they understand that such opportunities are beyond precious. One woman remarked to me that coming here every summer (to take classes!) was the first among her luxury priorities! She is, of course, exactly right.
In addition to my conversations with these high school teachers, I have talked with a few of the student interns and Ashbrook Scholars. They are smart, engaged and intensly interested in the serious questions of life. Of course, this was true back in the dark ages when I was studying at AU too--but now . . . well, things have only improved. I regret that I cannot stay longer and meet more of these fine students. But as I read (and agree with) pieces like Victor Davis Hanson’s, I am comforted and confident that common sense in the joy of real learning has a path to reassert itself--at least in Ashland.