Liberal arts — not just what political ‘liberals’ want to teach

Given the controversy surrounding Gov. Pat McCrory’s recent comments about taxpayer subsidies for college students pursuing degrees in fields such as gender studies, you might appreciate this excerpt from the latest edition of Hillsdale College’s Imprimis. Nathan Harden, a 2009 Yale graduate and author of the book Sex and God at Yale, discusses liberal arts and his alma mater.

Under the dictates of moral relativism, no view is any more valid than any other view, and no book is any greater or more worth reading than any other book. Thus the old idea of a liberal education—that each student would study the greatest books, books organized into a canon based on objective criteria that identify them as valuable—has given way to a hodgepodge of new disciplines—African-American Studies, Latino Studies, Native American Studies, Women’s Studies, Gay and Lesbian Studies—based on the assumption that there is no single way to describe the world that all serious and open-minded students can comprehend.

Indeed, Yale administrators have taken their allegiance to cultural relativism so far that they invited a sworn enemy of America to be a student, admitting Sayed Rahmatulla Hashemi—a former diplomat-at-large for the Taliban—in 2005. Talk about diversity!

Sitting for my final exam in International Relations, I found myself next to Hashemi, whose comrades were fighting and killing my fellow citizens in the mountains of Afghanistan at that very moment. The fact that the Taliban publicly executes homosexuals and infidels, and denies girls and women the right to go to school, gave no pause to the same Yale administrators who pride themselves on their commitment to gay rights, feminism, and academic freedom. In an interview, Hashemi boasted to the New York Times: “I could have ended up in Guantanamo Bay. Instead, I ended up at Yale.”

It’s hard to overlook the paradox: By enrolling Hashemi in the name of diversity, Yale abandoned the principle of human rights—the very principle that allows diverse individuals, including those of different faiths, to coexist peacefully.

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