Posted by Peter W. Schramm
USA Today reports on the latest UCLAs The American Freshman annual student survey. Political interest is up, more students call themselves conservative than ever, etc. But the most meaningful fact is this: "The percentage saying its important to develop a meaningful philosophy of life has dropped by more than half, from 86% in 1967 to 39% in 2003." Bravo!
The American Thinker has some good comments on all of this.
7:09 PM / February 2, 2004
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Being a teacher in Williamsburg, VA, I have witnessed an odd congruence of conservatism and relativism among the students at my preparatory school. Most students have adopted a conservative ideology of low taxes, antipathy towards failed social programs, a strong national defense, and a concern about declining moral and cultural values. Ironically, however, many of the same students, and a broad range of students generally, espouse a vociferous defense of moral and cultural relativism. They angrily argue that one cannot make any judgment about whether the nature of an act can be measured against any objective standard. (Of course, theyre making a judgment that relativism is an objectively good philosophy and way to live.) So, they dont "like" adultery, killing six million Jews, human sacrifice, or crashing planes into building, but take the stance, "I wouldnt personally do that, but whos to say that its wrong." Of course, Stephen Douglas made much the same argument in the Lincoln-Douglas debates about slavery. So, while their may be hope in a critical examination of the biases in the media or our elite universities, there is also much work to be done in terms of their tuning out larger events and their relativist nonsense.
As C.S. Lewis writes in the "Screwtape Letters" letter VII: "I wonder you should ask me whether it is essential to keep the patient in ignorance of your [demons, devils, evil] own existence. . . . The fact that devils are predominately comic figures in the modern imagination will help you. If any faint suspicion of your existence begins to arise in his mind, suggest to him a picture of something in red tights and persuade him that since he cannot believe in that (it is an old textbook method of confusing them) he therefore cannot believe in you [or simply evil]." Many
of my students dont believe in evil, especially in their own or humanitys hearts. Lewis refers to that greatest of sins - pride - in his letters as well.
I think that there is hope because a new generation of thirty-year olds raised in Reagans America and taught good virtues and patriotism and having children and actually teaching them right from wrong. The Baby Boomers should be scared like hell of us!